We started our day with a nice swim and some exercise and of course a cup of coffee. It was a beautiful day – not a cloud in the sky. We rallied the troops and all headed to the local little coffee shop / bar and filled up on little pastries, sandwiches, and of course caffe’! With something in our stomachs it was up and over the hill and over to Deruta.
Deruta is the ceramics capital of Italy. The Tiber River flows nearby and with its rich clays the art of ceramics was developed over the centuries. We were introduced to the Niccacci family and their wonderful collection of artisans who made up the studio of CAMA. For years we would visit their studio and showroom and they would give us a very detailed tour of how their beautiful dishes, plates, cups and bowls were made. Just last year, the Mother and Father who started and operated the business have decided to retire and none of the children want to carry the business on. So this year we would have a different experience.
The daughter of the family, Roberta, stayed in contact with me and she agreed to give us a tour of Deruta and another showroom and studio. The reason I like the Deruta day on my trip is that it shows the passion of these people and their love for their culture and their crafts. If that passion is not apparent throughout this trip, this day helps drive that point home. Everything done in Italy is done with beauty in mind and the ceramic work in Deruta is fantastic. The studio Roberta took us to was quite good and their work very beautiful but it wasn't the same for me anyway having gone to CAMA for so many years....So I guess things do change here in Italy but definitely much slower.
We watched the potter on the wheel shaping and molding the clay into a beautiful vase, the painters delicately creating each scroll, leaf, or dragon with brushpoint precision. It is truly an art and to see each step of what goes into making a single cup, vase, or plate, you can appreciate the price and artistic value of each piece.
We spent some time making our purchases in the showroom and then Roberta took us on a quick walking tour of the little hilltown of Deruta. Deruta the town is nothing in comparison to the pottery it produces and does not have the charm or flair of the other hilltowns we had seen or were going to see – yet it has its own story and a lovely little church.
With the tour complete it was off to Il Calderone for a nice country lunch in the country. This little chef is quite the character and he makes some amazing pasta. We enjoyed another 3 hour lunch and we were supposed to then head to Assisi but I could tell everyone was a bit worn down to se decided to go back to the country houses to rest and relax.
Instead of going over the hill north of Tuoro we came in the back way up the Tiber River valley to Umbertide and then approach our Niccone Valley from the north. This was a lot nicer and not having to go over the hill was a lot easier on the tummys.
We got home and I think nearly everyone went down for a nap of for relaxing by the pool. After a 4 hour nap it was 8:30 pm and we were all a bit hungry. By the time we all awoke and communicated as to what whas wanted it was nearly 9:30 and we still had a 15-20 minute drive to town. I took some pizza and salad orders and we took our chances that someone might still be open in Lusciano Niccone – a town of probably 500-1000 people of lucky.
Of course the town was buzzing! 10:00 at night and people were still arriving for dinner on a Monday night at the Locandieta Ristorante, Bar and Pizzeria. We ordered some salads and some homemade pizzas and enjoyed a glass of wine from the bar while we waited and watched what had to be at least half the town show up for dinner.