Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Buying hand-painted ceramics from Deruta in Umbria

Buying hand-painted ceramics from Deruta in Umbria makes a pleasant one day excursion from Borgo di Vagli. The picturesque little town of Deruta was a major centre of majolica production during the 15th and 16th centuries. In fact, production of painted pottery began there during the Middle Ages and developed in a rather particular way, partly because of a lack of fuel suitable for high temperature firing of the pots. Metallic lustre glazes in golds and ruby red became popular in Deruta because they don't require high temperatures. However, more importantly, as the decorative designs created by Raphael became known outside of Rome through the distribution of inexpensive engravings, for some reason these were taken up enthusiastically by the potters of Deruta and remain a characteristic part of the modern Deruta style.
Antique majolica plate from Deruta, Umbria, Italy
A 16th century piece of Deruta majolica

Deruta is definitely worth a visit by anyone interested in ceramic art or interior decorating and is an excellent place to buy hand-painted ceramics directly from the source. After a period of decline during the 18th and 19th centuries, Deruta revived it ceramic workshops and these flourish to the present day. There are now some 200 workshops producing painted pottery in Deruta. Some of the modern majolica is incredibly skilled and even among the more routine production there are many fine decorative pieces. And not just decorative - you can build up a dinner service of these beautiful pieces. I sourced several of the pieces used in the apartments at Borgo di Vagli from Deruta and a number of our apartment owners have taken Derutaware back with them to their homes in other countries.

An example of modern Derutaware
An example of modern Derutaware

It's about a one hour drive to Deruta from Borgo di Vagli. A recommendable procedure for a majolica buying expedition is to spend some hours looking at what's available and educating your eye, if that's necessary, as well as getting a clear idea of prices, and then to make your purchases. The town itself is very pleasant and there's quite a good museum of majolica there. Deruta is a hill town which means its a good destination for an excursion on a hot day! However, don't neglect the large outlets down on the plain outside of town.

More about Deruta ceramics.

More about Italian majolica.

More about Borgo di Vagli mediaeval vacation village in Tuscany.

Fulvio Di Rosa

All content copyright © Fulvio Di Rosa 2013. All rights reserved.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Is there an economical way to own a vacation home in Tuscany?

A great many visitors to our region are justifiably smitten by the beauty and culture of Tuscany and ask themselves is there an economical way to own a vacation home in Tuscany. One good answer to this question is fractional ownership. This is a form of economical shared ownership that bears a distant resemblance to the timeshare system but with real differences. Fractional ownership means that you own a true share of your physical holiday home, not just some time. This means that you can pass it on to your family, sell it etc. and as the value goes up over time so does the value of your share. It also provides flexibility in when you spend time at your place in Tuscany because one of the tasks of the property manager is to organise the calendar so that availability is transparent and flexible.

Accommodation in the mediaeval village of Borgo di Vagli, which I restored some years ago, is sold using exactly this fractional ownership principle.

How to own your own place in Tuscany
The restored mediaeval village of Borgo di Vagli, near Cortona, Tuscany
Borgo di Vagli was an abandoned ruin in the wilds of Tuscany near Pierle Castle when I started restoration in 2000. The aim was to restore the village to its original appearance using, as far as possible, the techniques of the original builders, while providing all the comforts that we require in modern life. I also paid huge attention to the authenticity of the furnishings and the interior decoration. The result is that we now have a happy community of owners who, for a reasonable expenditure, own their own place in Tuscany.

From time to time, I will be posting stories about Borgo di Vagli here along with posts about events and life in this part of Tuscany.

More about Borgo di Vagli fractional ownership village in Tuscany.

Fulvio Di Rosa

All content copyright © Fulvio Di Rosa 2013. All rights reserved.