The history of ceramics in Italy is closely linked to a particular material: clay, of which our territory is rich.
Poor material by definition, able to transform itself, thanks to the skilled hands of the artisans, into a work of art.
Crockery, tiles, ornaments, wall coverings, artistic and decorative masterpieces but also stoves and fireplaces: all this has been, and still is, the ancient art of Italian ceramists.
An art that is born, literally, from a handful of clay … and from the imagination and manual skills of man.
The ceramic tradition in Italy has been at the same time industry, art and craftsmanship, covering an immense quantity of styles and techniques of workmanship and making our country a renowned excellence in the world.
Ceramics: an art that unites Italy, from the North to the South
From the north (famous the ceramics of Mondovì and Castellamonte) to the south (one name above all: Capodimonte), from Piedmont to Calabria, from Veneto to Sicily, Italian ceramic art has used the most disparate techniques, with techniques, styles and decorations different depending on the territory and cultural influences.
If in Mondovì one hears mainly the English influence (Wedgwood) and the statues representing the most disparate animals are produced in quantity, as ornaments, in Liguria, in Albissola, it ranges from the 17th century Chinese inspiration to the Art Deco up to Futurism.
In Naples in the 18th century, Charles III of Bourbon installed a porcelain factory near his Royal Palace. The town is called Capodimonte and is destined to history for the refinement of its ceramic works, marked by the blue lily of the Bourbons or, later, by a crowned “N”, to remember the Royal Palace of Naples.
Going further south, it is impossible not to mention Laterza and Grottaglia in Puglia, whose most typical product is the “ciarla”, a jar-shaped jar, Squillace in Calabria, whose master potters are inspired by Byzantine art and of Magna Graecia, Caltagirone in Sicily, with typical enamelled colors where Arab influences are strong, and the city of Santo Stefano di Samastra, where ceramics is still the dominant architectural choice, alternating with harmony the ancient and the modern.
Moving from island to island, Sardinia also has an ancient tradition, from Oristano to Assemini, with the use of special techniques such as “stangiu” and an inspiration that starts from the seventeenth century to find its own personal definition.
We have, voluntarily and a bit proudly left Tuscany for last, for us of course the “icing on the cake”, where the art of ceramics is intertwined with the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, linking its name to historic factories like Montelupo, without forgetting a name that is almost synonymous with “Ceramics” and arrives on the tables of the royal courts of all Europe with its works of enormous refinement: the famous Ginori of Sesto Fiorentino.