The U. Grazia ceramics store is the 13th oldest company in the world. Some of their pottery dates back to the 1400s, which explains the success of the majolica today—they’ve had many years to perfect their craft. On a recent class visit to Deruta, the center of Italian ceramics, Umbra students took a tour of the factory guided by a potter who works there. The tour included all aspects of the pottery process from clay to bisque to fired pottery. It even included watching skilled artisans, born and trained in Deruta, paint traditional grotesque patterns on to the unfired bisque.
The most interesting part of the Grazia company is Signore Grazia himself. A cultured and outgoing man, he treated the students as warmly as he would have treated any of his other celebrity customers. Evidence of his prestigious clientele is found in Signore Grazia’s impressive guestbook that dates back to 1926 and hold the signatures of high society such as the Beatles and Paul Simon, and several notable politicians.
A visit to the showroom allowed students to view some of the modern pottery designs. Unfortunately, it is difficult to drop 35 euro on a teacup when on a college student’s budget. Nevertheless, the students enjoyed the tour and especially the opportunity to meet such a pleasant character as Signore Grazia.