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Deruta countryside
from DGolds photos

Deruta - street
from DGolds photos

Deruta street

Deruta - Potters shop
from DGolds photos

Deruta Centro
WP Thayer

Welcome to Deruta
From Jesse's Journeys in Italy

Official site: Deruta
Wikipedia: Deruta
Map: Deruta

Other websites:

Deruta, which sits in the Tiber Valley, just south of Perugia and north of Todi, is known the world over for its ceramiche maiolica (Majolica pottery),an industry that has been central to the economy of the town from its earliest days in pre-Roman times.

The wonderfully bright, colorful and luminous pottery that is made here may be the principal attraction, but the old part of the town offers a good stroll, and a number of interesting, sometimes compelling buildings, churches, galleries and museums.

Sitting on a hill beside the Tiber River, flowing south toward Rome, and less than 20 kilometers south of Perugia, the town has a medieval heart, but also an unremarkable stretch of "new" town that runs parallel to the north-south corridor of the E45.

The town boasts an important state school of ceramics, and over 200 ceramiche workshops, most of which retail their own goods, and, if that were not enough, a number of other retail shops which display and sell pottery products.  The town also serves as a center for local farming and various agricultural industries.

There are remnants of an old Roman wall and three gates around the old part of town.  It is through one of these gates, the Porta di San Michele Arcangelo, that one usually accesses the historical center of Deruta. 

There are a number of ruins of very old ceramic furnaces scattered throughout.  A fountain with a polygonal base, added in 1848, sits in  front of the Chiesa di Sant' Arcangelo, done in the Roman Gothis style, in the small Piazza Borda Michelotti.  The campanile - bell tower - with mullioned windows, beside the church dates to the 14th century.

A visit to Deruta is not complete without a stop at the municipal hall, the Palazzetto Municipale, which dates from about 1300 AD, sitting on the largish Piazza dei Consoli.

In addition to housing the usual governmental offices, the municipal hall houses a stunning Museum of Ceramics, an art gallery (the Pinacoteca), and a capacious atrium in which one can view a variety of archaeological finds that date back to neolithic times.

The art gallery's holdings consist of a frescoe by Perugino (San Romano and San Rocco) dating to 1476, and important work collected by a local patron, Lione Pascoli.  Artists represented include Alunno, Giovan Battista Gaulli, Sebastiano Conca, Francesco Trevisani, Antonio Amorosi, Francesco Graziani and Pieter Van Bloemen.  The gallery also boasts works received from various Deruta churches including San Francesco, Sant' Antonio, the Defunti di Ripabianca and the Ospidale San Giacomo.

The Chiesa San Francesco, largely of gothic design, together with an adjacent convent and cloister, also sit comfortably on the Piazza dei Consoli.

The Chiesa Santo Antonio, with frescoes by Bartolomeo and Caporali,  rises at the end of a narrow street, the Mastro Giorgio.  Another church worth seeing, is the Madonna del Divino Amore on Piazza Cavour.

Along the Tiberina road, at the foot of the old town, yet another church - the Madonna delle Piagge - is clad in a colorful array of ceramic tiles, which give one a sense of the entire history of Deruta ceramiche.

Deruta has a long, difficult complicated history, not unlike that of many other Umbrian towns.  It's fate has been mostly entwined with that of Perugia to the north and it is not surprising, given its proximity to Rome, and its situation in the Tiber River Valley, that it has often been caught in the crossfire between various warring factions, not knowing quite which to align itself with at any given time.  Neutrality is not a luxury that  Italian villages, towns and cities may arrogate to themselves, no matter the era.

But all is calm now...and Deruta quietly goes about its business, doing what it does best as a leading producer of fine majolica.

Region of Umbria



From Rome it is a 1.5 hour bus or train ride from the main terminals.  If you travel by car take the A1 toward Florence then head east at Orte on the E45 twoard Terni, or go further north and take the SS448 east toward Todi (recommended)then north on E45. From Florence, travel south on the A1 and then go east on the SS448.  From Perugia, go south on the SS3bis, 19 km.

Fratelli Mari
Deruta Ceramics

Deruta: Gate

Deruta: Campanile

Church in Deruta
from DGolds photos