“I wish you’d include photos in your books.” Readers often comment how they wish I included photos in my books. The truth is…photographs typically do not show up well in paperback books. As a result of their feedback, I’ve decided to post some excerpts and the accompanying Amalfi Coast photos to match. Enjoy some photos to accompany Ceramics of the Amalfi Coast, the 4th chapter from My Amalfi Coast Love Affair.
An excerpt from
Chapter 4 Ceramics of the Amalfi Coast
Of all the made-in-Italy products I love, the handcrafted ceramics are definitely a favorite. Specific regions in Italy are famous for production of these colorful items, and the places that first come to mind for me are Deruta, Orvieto, Caltagirone, and Vietri sul Mare. Deruta and Orvieto are in Umbria; Caltagirone is in Sicily; and Vietri sul Mare is on the Amalfi Coast. The ceramics created in each place are usually identifiable by color choices and designs. While other places in Italy produce the handcrafted majolica ceramics, Vietri sul Mare is known throughout the world as a top producer of ceramics. But it is the one place I have yet to go.
Now it’s October of 2016, and I’m setting aside part of a day to go to Vietri and meet Romeo. My communication is mostly with his American business partner, Terri Affanato, who splits her time between Italy and the States. Once in Vietri, I am overwhelmed by the abundance of ceramic tiles, pots, doorframes, signs, and shops everywhere I turn.
“It’s Saturday, so the shops are closed,” Romeo explains, “but I’ve asked a few artisans to open just for you.”
I’m touched and almost moved to tears, thinking that each of these Vietri artists are giving up their day off for me to see them work. Nothing can compare to a personal experience where you meet the locals. “Grazie mille, Romeo. Lo apprezzo.” (Thank you very much, Romeo. I appreciate that.) He nods and then stops to talk with local residents and artists, mingling with those who work for him with obvious camaraderie. Soon we arrive at our first stop, the workshop of one of the female ceramics artists. The sign outside her workshop reads, “Romolo Apicella Ceramica a Vietri di Anna Rita Cassetta.”
“We’re going to meet the artist who made your dishes,” Terri announces with a gleam in her blue eyes as she smiles at me. I think Terri is as eager to see my reaction as I am.
“Wow, I had no idea. This is more than I could have expected. I’m so excited.”
The writing on the back of my ceramic plates is the same as the sign. I can hardly wait to meet my artist!
I peek inside the tiny shop, and Anna Rita is sitting against a wall in a tiny corner, her head down, eyes intent on her work. Her short, wavy, coal-black hair is accented by her hoop earrings and the chic Italian eyeglasses perched on the end of her nose. In a stylish black sweater, she is the epitome of an artist.
Surrounded by many pots of paint and numerous paintbrushes in a tight space, Anna Rita focuses with precision as she details a ceramic piece with a thin brush in her right hand, stabilizing a turntable with her left. After a few seconds, she pauses to look up at me, and introduces herself with a smile.
“I’m so pleased to meet you, Anna Rita,” I say. “Mi chiama Margie.” She engages in some conversation in Italian with Terri and Romeo for a few minutes, and then we leave her to her work. She agrees to pose for a photo at my request before we bid her arrivederci. Such a sweet lady.
Although my hope is to purchase some ceramics today, Terri explains that the process doesn’t work that way here. “These artisans create everything as custom orders. All the pieces on display in their showroom, or in here, are already spoken for. If you want to order any, I can ship the ceramics to you.”
Thank you so much, Terri and Romeo, for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
I have purchased ceramics from both of them online and could not be happier with the experience. I’m very satisfied with the shipping and handling of both purchases and highly recommend these two, based on my personal experiences and communication. Every time I use my dishes from Vietri I have an instant memory of my day in Vietri sul Mare.
~ Excerpt from My Amalfi Coast Love Affair.
My Amalfi Coast Love Affair
is available in digital and paperback.
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