Castelli is a small town in Province of Teramo, that is situated on the foot of Gran Sasso mountain.
It is one of the oldest countries in this area, actually it was already known before the roman expansion, when there were the Italics!
When Romans came, Castelli became part of the “atrianus ager”essentially around the town of Atri, another city that is worth to be visited. But, once the Roman Empire fell down, many inhabitants found refuge into the mountains, occupyng the highest hills and step mountains surrounded by woods ans so “Castelli” was born!
Then, with the arrival of Benedictine monks, the life started again: the scattered populations revived through prayers, caring of forests and working the clay, that will be the fortune of this city. From that time, it started the ceramic tradition that took name of Castelli to the most important museums in the world. Some majolica works are in the Metropolitan, the British, the Hermitage and the Louvre. This supreme talent together with a great dedication for ceramics, made Castelli famous over the centuries so that it gained the well deserved name of “home of the Abruzzo ceramics”
Dynasties of pottery masters have been working and continue to work nowadays and their masterpieces in ceramics were very esteemed by Aristocracy, like the Aragona, Orsini, Farnese and others that commissioned them most elegant dinner services. And also Romanov family!
Ceramics is the main form of economy in Castelli and even today most of the towns people are involved with this noble art.
These masterpieces are unique in that they use just five colors: yellow, green, blue, orange and brown.
Since the 17th century, special attention was given to include more shades and decorations, besides the traditional flowers, including things like mythological and hunting scenes, landscapes and animals.
But, besides, this works, you can visit a very unique Church: The Church Of San Donato.
This is at first sight a typical rural church but, once you go in, you will admire a superb roof that gives the name to the church of “Sistin Chapel of Italian majolica”!
This Church is really a great masterpiece. It has a staggering 780 brightly coloured votive bricks decorated with astronomical and geometrical symbols, coats of arms and floral motifs. This magnificent work was created by the ceramic masters from Castelli. San Donato’s magnificent tiled ceiling is a preciousness testifying the great relevance of Castelli pottery in the whole of Abruzzo. Art, nature, history and notable characters set the background for these craftsmen’s talent and industriousness. They managed to turn their passion and creativity into pure art, creating works of extraordinary refinement. Castelli majolica is an age-old tradition handed down from father to son, from generation to generation. Its craftsmen’s knowledge and values have been kept alive for centuries and they can be found in the many little local businesses where priceless works are still produced every day. The craftsmen’s big commitment made Castelli majolica famous both nationwide and internationally.
During the month of August you can assist and buy at the istant to some artisans that create some majolicas