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Thanks to the quality of the local clay and the artistic genius of the Faliscan population pottery making was an important resource in their region of Civita Castellana by the 8th century B.C.
Lucky us, it is still so. Over time there have been moments of sheer glory, such as the Renaissance and the 18th century when even Napoleon praised the beauty of the works made by Volpato from Civita Castellana. Nowadays most of the local production is related to industrial ceramics, with one outstanding exception: we found in Civita beautiful handmade ceramic tiles, made by Surrena, a small company that still molds and paints earthenware in the most traditional way.
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Know more about Civita Castellana
Civita Castellana is a small town in Central Italy, only a few dozen miles north of Rome. It was founded by the Falisci during the Iron Age and soon became the capital of their territory, thanks to its proximity to Mount Soratte. This odd mountain, a narrow, isolated limestone ridge, is the only peak in the southern part of the Tiber Valley. It was believed to be the home of deities and both Falisci and Etruscans worshipped it.
Etruscan and Greek ceramic art influenced the Faliscans, whose tableware and storage pieces slowly gave way to refined ceramics with distinctive patterns. Their most common patterns were fish, birds, and geometric designs.
Around the 6th century B.C. the high demand of Faliscan pottery contributed enormously to the wealth and power of Civita Castellana. Many industrially-organized companies traded their production with the neighboring villages their most highly regarded works being their wonderful vases with red figures on a black background and architectural ceramics.
The defeat of the Faliscans by the Romans led to the destruction of Falerii - Civita Castellana. The Romans founded a new, modern town nearby and the Faliscan heritage was somehow lost until the Middle Ages when the pottery making tradition was revived.
From then on there has been a constant development in ceramic art in Civita Castellana.
If the Renaissance and the 18th century are to be considered the “V.I.P.S” in the history of local pottery art, ceramics can be credited as a key economic resources of the region, if not the only one.
Nowadays Civita Castellana is a leading industrial hub, specializing in high end ceramic sanitary ware and tableware.
However, the tradition for handmade pottery is not dead. Little studios and small, family run companies keep the tradition alive.
The city is rich in historical buildings and archeological sites. A visit to Civita Castellana is therefore highly recommended, since it promises a delightful glimpse on an unspoiled Italian province.