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Deruta (Perugia province)

A town of central Umbria: 42°56.9N, 12°25E. Altitude: 218 m. Population in 2003: 8200.

[image ALT: the very ogival tympanum of a small door, made of porcelain tiles depicting a small town including the crocketed Gothic belfry of a church. It is a view of Deruta, Umbria (central Italy), in a majolica detail of a building there.]

A view of the town, in majolica of course, over one of its doors.

Deruta, 19 km south of Perugia (its nearer neighbors are Torgiano and Marsciano) is famous for one thing: its pottery. Now those of you who are familiar with the rest of my site probably realize that I'm one of those awful people who feel that if (other) tourists like it, it can't be worth looking at, especially such things as pottery and trinkets. The ceramics of Deruta, however, found thruout Umbria, prove me wrong: a real and honest tradition is still very much alive, encouraged by a government-sponsored ceramics laboratory and training school, and most of its products are very attractive; so that, although you'll see my disclaimer below about particular merchants, I can warmly recommend the production as a whole.

Since ceramics is not a field I know anything about, the best I can do is to suggest the Deruta page of CeramicsOnLine, which includes a historical survey as well as information about present-day manufacturers, and a very good photo gallery of typical examples. Even more interesting for those who'd like to get a good idea of what the town and its pottery ateliers are really like, including a step-by‑step photo sequence of a potter at work is Deruta, Italy: A Place to Shop — despite its name, it's the site of a fellow tourist who just loves Deruta.

Finally, if you are interested in Umbrian ceramics, the three other important centers — none as important as Deruta, however — are Gubbio, Orvieto, and Gualdo Tadino.

Now that we've got that out of the way, the town, especially its upper part, is attractively medieval, with bits of ancient walls and the 14c church of S. Francesco, whose bell was cast and first rung in 1228 to celebrate the canonization of St. Francis: it also has a good rose window and a nice ensemble of frescoes of the Umbrian and Sienese schools.

But in Deruta you can't stray too far from the potter's art. The major cultural attraction here remains the world-famous Museo della Ceramica: some of the pieces go back to the late Middle Ages. 2 km away, the 17c church of the Madonna del Bagno, the interior walls of which are covered with hundreds of majolica votive offerings spanning several centuries.

When I finally went to Deruta, I was pleasantly surprised. I've now visited twice, if briefly each time, and walked a fair amount of the surrounding area. A proper website will eventually appear here then; for now, just:


[image ALT: The upper part of a square brick belfry seen against the sky. It belongs to the convent of S. Francesco in Deruta, Umbria (central Italy), and serves as my icon for a little site on the churches of Deruta.]

[ 7/21/11: 3 churches, 2 pages, 3 photos ]

A sampling of the churches of Deruta: not much more than bare photographs for now. Stay tuned, however — or in a pinch, e‑mail me of course.

A proper website will therefore eventually appear here; but in the meanwhile, you might find it useful to read the brief paragraph in the July 28, 2000 entry of my diary, with two more photos, and the entry for March 4, 2004, for a different perspective; for further, much more ample information see the websites linked in the navigation bar at the bottom of the page.

Frazioni

Like most of the comuni in Italy, Deruta includes in its territory some smaller towns and hamlets, of a few hundred inhabitants if that, with a certain administrative identity of their own: as elsewhere in Italy, these are referred to as the frazioni of the comune (singular: frazione, literally a "fraction"): a complete list of them follows. I've only been to Pontenuovo, and just walking thru the place very briefly: any other links will be offsite.

Castelleone • Casalina • Ripabianca • Pontenuovo • S. Nicolò di Celle • Sant' Angelo di Celle


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Page updated: 24 Aug 12