Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Since ancient times, ceramic arts have been the mainstay of Vietri sul Mare on the Amalfi Coast.

What makes this pottery so special is the artistry of its makers who over hundreds of years have interpreted and reinterpreted traditional motifs to suit their personality and their clientele.

The local clay, rich in volcanic minerals, is used for everything from everyday dishes to public water fountains.

The vibrant glazes that reflect the colors of the surrounding landscape are employed on decorative tiles, wall plaques, murals, and architectural cupolas.

Tile embellished church steeples are the norm in Vietri and in nearly every town up and down the Amalfi coast.

One of the major – and most visible --ceramic factories in Vietri is Solimene. It was designed by Paolo Soleri, a student of American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

In operation since 1947, Solimene’s landmark building features more than 20,000 pottery vessels embedded in the fa├žade with even more pieces of pottery available for sale inside.

In the 1980s, Solimene’s classic motifs were synonymous with Vietri and Mediterranean ceramic patterns.

Today, it is run by the grandchildren of the original founder and is known for its excellent variety of tableware.

Pitchers are one of their specialties. They are exported worldwide.

But you need not go into a “ceramica”, as the local factories are called, to view local craftsmanship.

It's on display on every street corner, restaurant and windowbox.

Everywhere from the local fruit store to the town hall is decorated with painted tiles.

Some street plaques are religious in nature.

Some tilework is purely decorative.

Ceramics offered for sale frequently reflect Vietri’s proximity to the sea.

One of my favorite ceramica’s is Bottega di Vietri Romolo Apicella where I purchased my fish platter.

Homeowners from all over Italy travel to this two-story showroom to commission tiles for their kitchens, pizza ovens, walls, floors and gardens.

One of my other favorite spots to shop has as much to do with the location -- on a hill in Positano -- as with the exceptional colors of the plates, platters and kitchen basics.

Look at those sunflowers, grape clusters, and lemons!


Time flies! Tomorrow is Wednesday. To join in just post your own WATERSIDE WEDNESDAY entry and don't forget to link back to The Book Blog! I will add a link tomorrow morning.

Everyone who posts is entered to win a Little Fishie (sorry leaving comments won't count for this giveaway but they are greatly appreciated!)

And please visit all of this week's participants by clicking the Mr Linky box.


Run right over to Things Created By Me for some great shell projects. If you gave access to beachcombed sea urchins, scroll down for a tutorial on the best way to clean them.


Carolyn Parker said...

Barbara, I received your gorgeous book
today. Thank you! What scrumptious ceramics– the colors are so great. You must have had so much fun photographing.

Penny @ The Comforts of Home/Lavender Hill Studio said...

Those ceramics are beautiful. I didn't get to that area of Italy when I went there and wish I had.

Roberta said...

Luv the aqua tiles on the stairs!
xo Roberta

Debbie Pearson said...

Loved the fish pitchers, but I was so envious of the market in Positano with all the ceramics for sale. I've visited there once and would dearly love to go back again to that magical beautiful place.

Maya said...

The pitchers are just so magnificent. What a sight that must have been, all the colorful ceramic displays!

I'm Julia said...

I could get lost in all those gorgeous ceramics... everywhere you turn, wow!

Donna at Mourning Dove Cottage said...

OMG, the colorful ceramics and pottery are absolutely beautiful!

MissBliss said...

what a lovely post! I could disappear in the picture of the outdoor shop... that water and those ceramics together! beautiful!

love the fish with those cheeks, and the octopus and tiled stairs... can't get enough!