Castelli’s beautiful and famous ceramics
In his 1865 book about the history of the local Grue family – which between the 17th and 19th centuries included many fine maiolica painters – expert Gabriello Cherubini wrote about the famous ceramics traditionally produced in Castelli, a beautiful medieval town in the province of Teramo:
“It is a small town in the area of Teramo in Abruzzo, founded in the middle ages over the ruins and remnants of some other town in the famous Sicilian Valley, where pottery was taken up because there were no better crafts to make a living out of. At first outcomes were rough, with nothing but coarse kitchen vases, plates, amphorae and similar items.”
It was not until the 17th century that the small factories in this town at the foot of Mount Camicia – a water-rich area scattered with clay badlands, naturally leaning on this type of crafts since antiquity – became famous. However, according to Cherubini, for a long time “tableware from Castelli had been widespread in Italy, as recorded in ancient books kept in the City Hall archives.”
On top of the Grues celebrated in the book, many other families – including the Cappellettis, Gentilis and Fuinas – contributed to spreading the fame of this Abruzzo town’s ceramics. Today, object created in Castelli are showcased at the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum, the British Museum, the Hermitage Museum, the Bargello, Palazzo Venezia, Villa Floridiana and many other of the world’s most important museums.