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Orvieto's Medieval and Renaissance Majolicas Museum

Teca del Museo delle ceramiche orvietane

The Museum of Orvieto's Medieval and Renaissance Majolicas is the interesting outcome of a private collection of ceramic items preserved and restored with utmost care, which were made available on several occasions for thematic exhibitions, study and research, and brought to public fruition in 2011. The peculiarity of this underground tour that shouldn’t be renounced is the availability of a rich and articulated series of ceramic handcrafts on the very site where they were created. The majolicas, exhibited in old niches dug out of the tufa rock and protected by glass windows, include the waste materials of two kilns operating in Via della Cava from the second half of the fourteenth century to the second half of the sixteenth century; this collection has been enriched with the acquisition of majolicas somehow related to these two kilns.

The museum curator, Marco Marino, or a trusted representative, will guide you through the suggestive ambiances of this ancient kiln that is dug out of the tufa rock and used to produce both individual pieces and a large number of collections. A real industrial-scale factory, as is confirmed by the particular arrangement of work spaces and the recovery of repetitive objects, amongst which an extraordinary group of four hundred identical cups, such a large quantity confirming that these products were destined to a wider market than the local one. The large oven that you can admire inside the museum, is the only intact fifteenth century oven for baking majolicas existing in Italy and perhaps in the whole world, and its size indicates that the majolicas production was extensive. These handcrafted objects are identical to those drawn by Cipriano Piccolpasso in "Li Tre Libri dell'Arte del Vasaio" (the three books of the potter’s art), thereby demonstrating that luster majolicas could be produced in this workshop, therefore some items that were not deemed to have been produced locally before the kiln was recovered, can actually be ascribed to Orvieto. In fact, before those items were recovered, there was no knowledge of majolicas being produced in Orvieto after the end of the fourteenth century and if an item was found that dated back to a later age, it was considered to have been imported: this explains the exceptional importance of these findings, emerging with the discovery of Orvieto's classical pits, from the historical point of view. After some categorizations were made, where items were grouped on the basis of their geography, for reasons related more to the antiquities market than to a real historical documentation, today it is widely recognized that more production units offered the same products in the same period of time. If it is undisputed that Orvieto’s production reached its climax in the fourteenth century, it is generally said that it was still active during the fifteenth and the sixteenth century, albeit surpassed by Faenza and Deruta. Pay attention to the majolicas of this extraordinary collection that show how Orvieto’s ceramic art is long-lasting and has always kept to a high standard.

It is possible to visit the Museum after hours if you make a previous request. Do not miss it!

Orvietos Medieval and Renaissance Majolicas Museum

Via della Cava, 8
05018 Orvieto

Mobile ph. +39 3381336529 - +39 3207911328 – +39 3477010187

Opening times
From Tuesday to Sunday 10.00-13.00 15.00-19.00


Full price € 4,00
Reduced price for grups € 3,00
€ 2,00 for students with teachers
Children under 6 Free

€ 3 for visitors with tickets for "Visita a Teatro" (Mancinelli Theatre)

Guided tours can be booked in advance