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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Italy, the beautiful, Part III

Grandeur revisited,

and life goes on in the small town of Suvereto

and in the large metropolis of Livorno by the sea.  

Where the Grand Hotel Palazzo provides just the right amount of old world glamour and luxury. 

Where old and new live happily side by side.

And where a stroll along the promenade at evening time, takes advantage of the gentle evening breezes.  

Two days of splendor and luxury is just about right for I gladly give it up for a visit to Maestro Mario's factory. 

I asked the Maestro if he would paint an Arlecchini for me.
He let me select the design.  Maestro Mario begins by transferring the design on to a plate by brushing charcoal through tiny holes.  

Martina, Mario's daughter, who is also a fine ceramist, tells the story of the Arlecchini in her blog post of 2013. 
See below:


 No trip to Italy is complete without my taking a few painting lessons.... there is so much to learn.  


The designs are painted with powder pigments mixed with water.  
They have a chalky appearance.  

Mario in his studio when I visited with him in 20014

Maestro Mario paints with pigments first and then completes his design by outlining it with a very fine brush.   

Once the designs have been fired in his large kilns the colors become vibrant and permanent.  

Montelupo is only a 30 minute drive west of Florence.  It has a very fine Museum of ceramics with a large collection of Arlecchini.  


The Maestro tells me that this particular design, the Arlecchini (Harlequin), is his favorite subject to paint.  He has designed more than 500 different scenarios. 

The Mario workshop is one of the only studious left who still produce the Arlecchini designs.  

Maestro Mario loves his art.  He even goes to his shop on Sundays. where he happily works by himself on whatever pleases him. 

Thank you for stopping by.  

Have a great remainder of the week, dear friends.  



  1. Dear Gina,
    To take lessons in Italy in how to make pasta by hand seems like a lot of fun. To continue to take lessons to perfect your substantial skills in painting ceramics shows real dedication to your art.
    Hugs, Sieglinde

    1. Dear Sieglinde, I am so fortunate that I have been able to visit with Maestro Mario in the past. As you know I love painting ceramics and to see how an expert does it makes every trip to Italy extra special.

  2. Beautiful work and photos. The color and rhythm of the lines together are uplifting and cheerful. Thank you for posting about Arlecchini

    I also love the stripe design of Maestro Mario's shirt.

    1. Hello Maywyn, I will have to tell the Maestro that you like his shirt. He will be surprised, Thank you for your visit and thank you for leaving a comment.

  3. Thank you for your kind explanations of the unique painting. I wonder it must have a long history.

    1. Hello roughterrain, Arlecchini first appeared in the late 1500s. They depict Spanish soldiers who came to Italy on their way to France. The locals thought that their blousy soldier costumes were silly and so they painted them to ridicule them.

  4. Dear Gina, on a day that is clouded by more bad international news, it is a complete joy to see this post and be reminded of creativity.

    Maestro Mario is so generous to allow you to take the close up photographs of him in the studio, as well as examples of his beautiful painting. What a wonderful atmosphere! What a steady hand!

    The colors that are used are so beautiful, even before they enter the kiln, but afterwards...they break into song. All of the patterning that appears in the Arlecchini designs must be so much fun to paint. I can completely understand why the Maestro would even want to paint on Sundays!

    Again Gina, thanks for this post. xo

    1. Dear Frances, This was my second visit to the Maestro's studio. He told me something very interesting. Even though there are many patterns that make up the costumes of the Spanish Soldiers, only a limited range of colors are painted in this particular design. Yellow, orange, green and blue but not red.

    2. That is very interesting, Gina. Thank you for the extra info. xo

  5. Just so beautiful Gina - everything colorful, alive and glorious!
    Hello from a 'thousand shades of green' Ireland - but also amazingly beautiful of course!
    Hugs - Mary

    1. Dear Mary, I have been admiring your photos from your visit to Ireland. No wonder you look so happy in your pictures.