There is a small town in Italy that is a Must for ceramic lovers. The city of Faenza has been Italy’s most famous ceramic center — so much so that “faience” earthenware is synonymous with painted, low fire ceramics around the world. On the eastern side of the Italian boot, it is only a three hour train ride away from Florence.
Now I am not sure if I should call this ride adventurous, comfortable, easy or breathtaking! Probably a bit of all. Certainly it’s off the beaten tracks.
The roadways have been built at the end of the 18th century crossing the back spine of Italy, the Apennine mountains, quite a monumental realization, with bridges and tunnels in carved stone . Today most travelers use the fast train via Bologna, but this small, two coach train trails off slowly on winding ways and does offer gorgeous views of little known, wilder mountain landscape.
Upon arrival in Faenza two fabulous museums and many ceramic studios are there to explore:
MIC – International Museum of Ceramics in Faenza – www.micfaenza.org
The Museum was founded in 1908, as a reference point for ancient, modern and contemporary ceramics in Italy and throughout the world. Here the opinion of Marta Matray:
“..they have an unbelievable collection of pre-Columbian
pots, roman and Greek pots, Asian pots, renaissance,
majolica, modern (Picasso, Matisse, Chagall, etc)
the best of European ceramics collection, winners of
their yearly international competitions since 1935!”
Museo Carlo Zauli – www.museozauli.it
For centuries Maiolica (majolica in English), was the sole medium of expression for local artisans. Until Carlo Zauli came along, an innovator with explosive influence. The museum offers an anthological itinerary of the ceramicist’s live and work of innovation and experimentation one of the most important ceramic sculptors of the twentieth-century, from the early 50’s to the 90’s.