I’ve already written a blog post about majolica in Deruta, Umbria. But this time I visited the most famous and historical majolica factory in Deruta: Ditta G. Grazie & C.
The current owner of the Grazia factory is Ubaldo. He is the grandson of “nonno” Grazia who built the factory still in use today in 1920.
The history of majolica production
The majolica tradition dates back to 1200. At the beginning of the 16th century the Grazia family started producing majolica in Deruta. At that time many Italian families moved to Deruta because of its majolica production. It was big business and meant work for many. The Grazia family originally came from Bologna.
At the time majolica was very popular in Italy. Noble families, churches and convents bought majolica and pilgrims who passed by on their way to Assisi to visit the tomb of St. Francis were eager to buy some majolica from Deruta. Around 1900 Grazia’s majolica became famous in America. Some shops like Tiffany, Neiman Marcus and William Sonoma still sell their handmade ceramic art and pottery.
A tour at the Grazia factory
We had a guided tour from Ubaldo Grazia in the factory, starting in the lab with a demonstration of a potter’s wheel where a small vase of clay was made.
The object just made of clay will be put into a closed room for 20 days to dry. After that it will be fired out the first time at a temperature of about 1020 degrees.
After the first firing the object is called bisque. The bisque will be immersed into a bath of metal oxides to cover the porous terracotta. After that the pottery is ready to be painted followed by a last firing process.
Everything is hand crafted by local artisans and every artisan uses their own traditional techniques. Grazia is one of the most interesting and historical majolica factories of Umbria, Italy.
The picture below shows an antique oven. This oven had to be lit at least 48 hours non stop before the firing process. Not such a problem in winter, but imagine during a hot summer!
Ubaldo Grazia has a wonderful office full of antique majolica. Next to his office is the lab where artisans paint and decorate the objects. Nowadays they produce contemporary and classical majolica.
Visiting the Grazia Majolica factory
Would you like to visit the Deruta factory? You’re more than welcome! Entrance and guided tours are free. Reservation is not necessary, unless you come with a group. One can also participate in majolica courses, after reservation and payment. For questions or more information you can contact Ubaldo Grazia and Emanuela (they also speak English).
Tel: +39 075 971 0201
Beautiful artistry. I love the designs and vibrant colors of this pottery.
Thank you! I also love the designs and colors of the Grazia pottery.
Thanks for the lovely write up. We love Deruta and always make a point of visiting and supporting the local craftsmen. We bought several pieces at Grazia last year that are just wonderful. They gave us a factory tour and were very patient as we made our decisions. They were expectedly and promptly shipped to us via Fed Ex. We’ll cherish those pieces forever.
Hi Kate, thank you for your reply. Ubaldo Grazia is such a nice person, this factory has a huge history, they make wonderful majolica. We’ll organize a visit in July and August for our guests. If you’re in Deruta, just give us a sign 🙂