Deruta, the town of ceramics, owes its origins as a centre for ceramic production to the easy availability of 'argil' or clay from the surrounding hills and the alluvial deposits of River Tiber.
The first documents mentioning the 'land of earthenware close to territory of Torgiano' date from 1296, but it seems brick, tile and terracotta production stretches back to ancient times.
What initially helped the industry grow was the closeness of the river favouring commerce and barter, as well as the exchange of artistic and technical expertise.
This monoeconomy dominated the town in the XV and XVI centuries was also helped by forty years of fiscal exemptions following the plague epidemic of 1456.
New techniques and decorations attracted the most important representatives of painting in Umbria and merchants from Perugia soon negotiated large commercial contracts.
One of the finest examples of the second half of XVI century are the more than six hundred votive tiles kept in the church of “Madonna dei Bagni” in Casalina of Deruta.
Nevertheless, ceramic production was all but abandoned by the beginning of 1800's.
It was only in 1872 and an exhibition by the City of Deruta that historical research was reiginited and collectors interest grew. Today, visit the Deruta museum in the medieval centre of the town.
text by L'Antico Forziere Risorante Country House Deruta