The most popular region in Italy for its wide green areas, the hospitality of its inhabitants and the uniqueness of its churches is Umbria, which is also the land of precious handicraft in Italy.
Just in Umbria, in fact, the wood, textiles and ceramics craftsmen pass down their craft from one generation to another, keeping alive passion, creativity and care for the high quality of products.
Would you like to learn more and visit the towns of master craftsmen? Follow our itinerary, you’ll have an additional reason to go on vacation in Umbria.
The ceramic art in Deruta
Deruta is a village in the province of Perugia where there are workshops, factories and shops specialized in ceramic objects; here are produced art objects since XIII century and in the XVI century Deruta became a landmark in Italy due to the high quality level achieved in majolica pottery making.
Once arrived in town you can visit the Regional Museum of Ceramics in the historic center, which is the first exhibition space in the world dedicated to ceramics, opened in 1898 with collection of 6,000 artworks.
At the end of your visit we suggest a shopping tour at the workshops, we mention only as an example Maioliche Artistiche Goretti, but every shop has its own peculiarities, as you can guess from the pictures we chose.
You can learn some of the trade secrets asking to a craftsman to be shop assistant for a day, with the help of a master craftsman who will explain you the various stages of production and teach you how to create a ceramic souvenir with your own hands.
If you go to Deruta on November 25th you can enjoy the Festa dei Ceramisti (Potters Festival), a traditional event that includes exhibitions, concerts, theatrical performances and the award ceremony of the older potters of the town.
The charm of wooden furniture in Città di Castello
When we think of wooden crafts we are mostly used to refer to the furniture restoration, but in fact there are many master woodworkers who create new products in the old style.
Città di Castello has been for centuries the most active center in the woodworking art whose works have spread elsewhere: the choir of the church of San Pietro in Perugia, the choir of the Cathedral of Todi, the stalls and the pulpit of the Collegio del Cambio in Perugia, the studio of the duke of Montefeltro, dated back to the XV century, once located in Gubbio, now housed at the Metropolitan Museum in New York.
The peculiarity of Città di Castello is to be the place where in the mid XIX century the art of carving flourished because of the growing interest in the so-called “minor arts”, so the craftsmen specialized in the creation of “mobili in stile”, in other words they used old furniture to build new pieces in an old style.
At the same time the master woodworkers know how to build wood furniture with aged effect, to fulfill the demands of people who have house furnishings from different periods.
If you intend to buy one of the creations of Città di Castello craftsmen, rely on the brand name “Vero Mobile in Stile Altotiberino” that certifies the quality and origin of the product.
Refined fabrics in Panicale
The Umbrian textile activities have a long tradition: between XIV and XV centuries was very widespread “Perugia tablecloth”, fabrics with geometric and figurative decorations of animals such as griffins and eagles.
In Città di Castello you can visit the “Workshop of Umbrian cloth” at Palazzo Tommasini, a museum dedicated to precious craft fabrics.
The last stopover of our journey is a small village in the province of Perugia but at only 15 kilometers from Tuscany called Panicale, a symbol of the hand embroidery on tulle.
In addition to being ranked among the most beautiful hamlets in Italy, Panicale is the seat of Museo del Tulle, proving that the art of lace and embroidery is a long tradition that has never gone out of fashion.
This kind of craftsmanship has played an important role not only for style but also because gave employment to many women and families in the WW2 postwar.
The Museo del Tulle is located in the Church of S. Agostino and the promotion of what is called “ars Panicalensis” it is up to Paola Matteucci, engaged for years in the development and recovery of hand embroidery on tulle through courses and events also in other Italian cities.
In Umbria, the craftsmanship is not only a great story of the past but is an opportunity for those who want to create value with their talent today.