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Ceramics Shops in Florence and Tuscany

Amy from MA

I adore good local artwork and crafts, so finding some good sources was an important part of my trip. Here's a few of the places where I enjoyed browsing and spending.

Florence

Galleria Ponte Vecchio, Via Guiciardini, 104r, tel:055 2398400
Small shop, with really lovely handpainted ceramics from all over Tuscany, especially Montelupo. Prices a bit high, but the quality is much finer than in many other ceramic places which primarily stock pieces that are more assembly line. I bought one plate in a great dark blue with bright lemons (I think it was about $30), and still regret not going back for more! The shop is on the street which runs from the Ponte Vecchio to the Pitti. The shop is in a little arcade, just to the right of another ceramic shop selling lower-quality things. You pass through the arcade with windows full of ceramics, and the shop is on the left. Pieces all over the floor - leave your children or clumsy husband outside!

Arte Crete, Via del Proconsolo 63r, tel:055 284341
Elizabet Di Constanzo paints lovely ceramics, in a style very much her own. Stylized flowers, animals, impressionistic Tuscan landscapes decorate pitchers, plates, oil jars, and tiles. Very expensive, but oh so wonderful. Cute little salt and pepper dishes with tiny birds a good value. I bought a tiny oil bottle painted with a field of grasses and irises, with olive trees in the background. The shop is around the corner from the back of the Duomo. Elizabet speaks a bit of English, but her assistant is British. They were very kind to my 10 year old son who also likes ceramics.

D and A Ceramics (I think!), Via Ghibellina, just down from the Bargello
Oh bother, I don't have a card from this shop. Another single artisan, with lovely pieces.

La Botteghina Del Ceramista, Via Guelfa 5r
More wonderful pieces. Prices fair for such high quality.

Siena

Bianco e Nero, Via Dei Fusari 21, tel:0577 28.00.26
Walter and his daughter paint primarily in a blue and soft green. They also produce an orange and black line and some rather ugly Contrada plates. Their blue/green line is lovely, and very reasonably priced. I bought a small wine pitcher for $18. Very nice people, too. I complemented him on his beautiful children, and got royal treatment. Shop is around the corner from the Duomo. I'm seriously considering ordering a set of dinnerware if my MasterCard ever recovers from this trip...

Montelupo Fiorentino

I went to Montelupo for one morning, since I know it to be a town where ceramics are produced. There are many factories outside town (don't seem to do much direct sale), and several shops within town selling pottery of varying quality. All price ranges.

Ceramica ND Dolfi, via Tosco Rom, 39 0571 51264-910116
The Dolfi shop was recommended in the Carla Capalbo book. It took me a while to find it. Very nice pieces, some of which are made by other artisans and sold in the Dolfi shop. Wide range of styles. Very expensive, but I bought a medium-size water jug with nice geometric decoration because it was just so beautiful. They also have a "seconds" table that is worth a look for bargains. From the Autostrada from Florence heading toward Pisa, take the Montelupo exit. Turn right before Montelupo onto SS 67 toward Artimino. Dolfi will be on your left after 2-3 kilometers.

Ceramica, Via XX Settembre
One of the streets in Montelupo which goes up the hill alongside the river has a ceramic shop on the right worth visiting. (Osteria Del Sole is on this street- good local place for lunch). The potter does a lot of traditional work, as well as some very contemporary designs. Quite a character, too. I'm hoping my sister has his card, since she bought a piece here.

Greve

Mainly tourist shops in the piazza, but one stood out for me. Grazia Giachi Ricami makes hand embroidered linens. Gorgeous bed sheets, tablecloths, baby dresses, etc. Prices high for the delicate handwork, lower for machine appliqu and machine embroidery. Good value were 10 dollar cotton handkerchiefs hand-embroidered with a lovely flowered single initial. I splurged for a small linen table runner hand embroidered in white. They also have a shop at their workshop in Mercatale (055 8218073).

Judy from Italy has a favorite ceramics store in Greve: The small wine and ceramic store, not in the main Piazza, but on the small road as you are driving out of Greve. The really big plates for the wall are about $200-$300 instead of $500-$700. Also really nice large vases, they ship for you with Mailboxes Etc.

Monte San Savino

Ceramiche Lapucci, Corso Sangallo 8, tel:0575 844928
Another small ceramic shop recommended by Carla Capalbo. Several different styles. They make the white or multicolored openwork pieces; also floral painted pieces in soft colors. Prices very low- a large piece would be a very good value. I bought a very pretty covered casserole dish for $35. They don't speak English, but my limited Italian and some amusing pantomine got me a piece out of the back room in a size and style I wanted.

Certaldo Alto

Artesimia
Certaldo is a rather dreary town, but taking the little tram up to Certaldo Alto was wonderful. Tiny old brick fortified hill village with simple old church, a few shops and restaurants. Artesimia has some very nice pieces, and reasonable prices. All hand painted in the studio. There is also an artist doing lovely prints in the studio across the way.


Amy is a preschool teacher in the Boston area, and a Moderator on the SlowTrav.com message board.

© Amy Gilman, 2001

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