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Saturday, November 1, 2014

It doesn't get any better.

I'm in (was in) Motelupo Fiorentino, Italy.

Montelupo is located about 12 miles southwest of Florence, Italy.

Mario and in the background, one of his very talented painters

And I painted  with Mario Mori of Ceramiche Mori, 
Strada della Ceramica, Montelupo Fiorentino. 

What an honor it is to sit with Maestro Mario and watch him paint. 

Picture of Mario and one of his young painters.

What a Gentleman!  He spent the day with me.  I learned so much.

 He also learned something from me.  It's actually a secret.  When I shared the secret with him he almost jumped out of his chair and he immediately translated it to his painters.  

In the 9th century, the Montelupo ceramic tradition was almost lost.
  A lucky discovery in 1977, from the "the well of wash", inside the town's castle, produced fragments of pottery from Montelupo's ancient kilns.  

In the beginning of the 14th century Montelupo workshops  produced world renown ceramics which can be seen in the finest museums of the world.

One of the distinguishing Montelupo ceramic designs can be easily identified by the "Arlecchini" (Harlequin) platters first painted in the 17th century. 

They originated from humorous theatrical presentations, also known as Italian comedy.  

The design was painted with quick and resolute brush strokes. 

When in Montelupo you must visit the newly opened Museum of Ceramics.

I have not been able to find a publication which features Montelupo's Museum collection of ceramics.

  For a ceramic painter as myself, visiting the museum was happiness overload.  

One of Maestro Mario's masterpieces displayed at the museum. 

We stayed at the Villa Vannucci on one of the Montelupo Hills. 

The rooms were beautifully painted in grisaille technique.  
They looked as if they had been painted yesterday.

The Villa was furnished with excellent period furniture.  
It also displayed many beautiful Maiolica pieces. 
Father and daughter were fine ceramic painters. 

The Villa was beautiful.

The rest of the story of our stay at the Villa can NOT be told.  

Hope all of YOUR stories are tell-able. 



  1. Dear Gina,
    This post is a fine tribute to the art of hand painted ceramics of Montelupo and it shows your great passion for it. I had already admired your "Arlecchini" on the side bar, especially his colorful attire/pants.It makes me want to sign up for some lessons. No, not with Mario Mori, but with you................. I love your colors the best.
    Happy greetings from a cool Texas morning, Sieglinde

    1. Dear Sieglinde, Oh what fun we would have painting Arlecchini or anything else that would suit our fancy. Maybe next Spring when it warms up again because right now, it is already cold and blistery. Of course we can always sit by the cozy fire and paint.

  2. The most intriguing stories are always the ones which can not be told.....................

    1. You are so right Sieglinde. Sometimes situations are so strange that talking about them makes them worse even though they are not.

  3. Such a wonderful experience for you Gina. So exciting to be able to paint with mestro Mario Mori.
    The Montelupo ceramics are just stunning.. so very very different, with such vibrant colors.
    Thank you so much for sharing and showing these beautiful pieces.
    Maybe one day, we might know your secret!!! ):-
    Happy weekend.. val xx

    1. Dear Val, I was so pleased when Maestro Mario decided that he would be the one to take me under his wing. As you might recall I have painted numerous times in Deruta, Umbria at the Scuola d' Arte. This was a totally different experience and as is true in Deruta, Montelupo also has a fine ceramics museum.
      For you, Montelupo is just around the corner. I know that you love painting ceramics and wouldn't it be wonderful if we could meet there.

    2. Gina, how wonderful for you to have this very special experience and that you can both learn from one another. You know I've long admired your beautiful work. Thank you for sharing this interesting and informative post. I'm passionate about most all ceramics, especially those hand painted.


    3. Dear Sarah, Thank you so much for your visit and leaving such a sweet comment. There is something special about anything hand painted. It was wonderful to see so many (new to me) ceramics at the newly opened Montelupo Museum.

  4. Dear Gina,

    How exciting for you to paint with Master Mario, for I'm sure you got some great ideas. And wasn't it good that you could impart something as well? What I like about his piece in progress is that it is so reminiscent of the nearby Florentine design. Perhaps that's where it's headed.

    1. Dear Mark, Mario is painting a Raphaelesque or "grotesque motif" onto a large plaque. This particular pattern was inspired by wall paintings found in ancient Roman Villas. The design, first painted in the 1500s, has always been so well liked that you see it being painted throughout Italy.

  5. Gina, this post brought me joy, as I read and appreciated what it might have been like for you to be painting along a Maestro. And sharing your experience and talents.

    Bravo, Gina. xo

    1. Dear Frances, There is never enough time. I could have spent weeks in Mario's workshop. It was such a happy experience. The painters so congenial and so interested in what an American was doing painting ceramics in the Italian style. I will go back and next time, will stay a little longer.

  6. what a fantastic experience, stunning work!

    1. Hello Jenna, You are right it was a fantastic experience, one I hope I will get to repeat. Thank you for your visit and for leaving a comment.

  7. Thanks so much for sharing this. I will be in Florence for a month next spring and will definitely be interested in visiting here.

    1. Hello Lulu, You will be so happy to include Montelupo in your travel plans. The Museum is a most wonderful place to visit.