Montelupo Fiorentino is a nice village, located just on the outskirts of Florence. It has been the most important center for handmade Tuscan ceramics since Medieval times because the soil was very rich in great quality clay.
During the Renaissance Florentine merchants sailed to Montelupo to load their vessels with Tuscan pottery and traded it throughout Europe, thus building the reputation of the handmade in Tuscany pottery.
We visited many artisans and small factories in the region that still is a key ceramic manufacturing area in Italy. We selected for you the handmade pottery that met three requirements: superior form, quality and our Italian taste. All the items we carry are made to last and inspire your decoration instict.
The area where Montelupo was founded was a strategic access to the valley of Florence. Before becoming one of the most important centers for Tuscan pottery, Montelupo was just a military fortress, built to support the larger fortified hamlet of Capraia, which stands opposite it on the other bank of the Arno river.
The production of archaic majolica began in medieval times, thanks to the natural abundance of clay in the surrounding area, primarily due to frequent flooding of the Arno river.
During the Renaissance the growth in quality and quantity of Tuscan ceramics from Montelupo was stimulated by the requests of rich and noble families from Florence.
Fausto Berti, the director of the Museum of Ceramics in Montelupo, writes: “the political, cultural and economic history of one of the most important European cities in its Golden Age is painted in the pottery from Montelupo”. He refers to Florence, of course, to its noble families, merchants, cardinals, popes, monasteries, hospitals and pharmacies, love stories, important weddings, the raise and decline of the Florentine State. Tuscan pottery from Montelupo was so famous at the time that it was exported all over Europe.
After a long period of regression, the ceramic tradition was revived in the early 1900 and it’s now the most important economic activity in the region. More than 120 companies and small laboratories create any sort of terracotta and majolica artworks, from Tuscan dinnerware to unique decoration pieces, with traditional or contemporary technique and design.
Attracted by Montelupo prestigious history and fame, we spent quite a long time there. The hand made ceramics production in the area is really huge and mostly bound for export. This type of products often suffer from standardization and represent the average “Made in Italy” pottery.
We had to visit quite a large number of companies before finding what we really liked: creative, qualitative, one of a kind Tuscan majolica.
We had a good time in Montelupo Fiorentino: it’s the typical Tuscan village, surrounded by beautiful hills where great oil and delicious wine can make your day.
A visit at the local Museum of Ceramics is very helpful to understand the importance of the Tuscan ceramics from Montelupo in the history of Italian and European pottery. And if you happen to be in Tuscany in June, don’t miss the International Ceramics Festival, a very enjoyable event.