Orvieto’s Maiolica Museum: medieval and renaissance excellence
The Medieval and Renaissance Maiolica Museum in Orvieto is located inside an old factory where ceramic objects used to be mass-produced. There is a 1400s’ perfectly intact kiln – the only one left in Italy from that time – and the traces of a wine cellar.
Orvieto was unquestionably one of the major production centers of the so-called “archaic maiolica”, of which we have first examples from the center-north regions of Italy dating back to the 1200s.
Some experts say that in the two following centuries other cities – such as Faenza and Deruta – became the leaders in the field, leaving Orvieto in some sort of decline.
The curator of this wonderful museum carved out of tuff stone, however, disagrees. He is convinced that the finds on display here – mostly castoffs from two kilns in the area, from a period spanning from the 14th to the 16th century – are clear proof of local craftsmen’s unswerving skills.
It makes for an interesting debate. But most importantly, for an enjoyable visit among beautiful things – with no need to discuss anything at all.