Blog | Umbria day trip | Visit the Grazia majolica factory in Deruta
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 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 pelgrims 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.
We got a guided tour from Ubaldo Grazia in the factory. We started 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. Then it will be ready to 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 one finds different types of majolica, contemporary and classical.
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 us or Ubaldo Grazia and Emanuela (they also speak English).
Tel: +39 075 971 0201
Villa in Umbria
At only 15 minutes driving from Deruta is the well kept Agriturismo Umbria where Dario and his family welcome their guests in a familiar atmosfere.