Friday, March 9, 2012

Ceramics in Appignano - Le Marche

The outside of the ‘Ceramiche Fratelli Testa’ pottery workshop in Appignano di Macerata is covered in a striking kaleidoscope of colourful tiles inviting you to enter. Inside, the doors, walls and ceiling are decorated with colourful pieces of pottery and hundreds of mosaics.

Ceramiche Fratelli Testa, Appignano di Macerata

Detail of exterior

When we visited we were able to watch the potters at work and to view the process from beginning to end was fascinating. We could see the vessels take shape and become beautiful works of art, smooth, glazed and painted. The creator of all this magic is Giuseppe Testa, the last of the Testa potter brothers (Fratelli Testa) in Appignano di Macerata.

In 1850 his grandfather (also named Giuseppe) set up the pottery workshop and since then the family of skilled craftsmen, his father Giacinto and his brother Francesco have all been potters.

Giuseppe started creating pottery when he was just eight years old. His work requires great skill but he does it with a passion. While he works there he makes all his customers feel at ease in his cozy studio and often in the evenings, the older Appignanesi meet here to chat.

Postcard of Borgo Santa Croce from 1860
(you can see the pottery lined up on the left)
He is still creating ceramics at the age of 74 and teaches in the local school of ceramics passing on his skills to the next generation of potters, helping to preserve the history, culture and traditions of Appignano. You can buy his wonderful creations in the shop.

Although his son Mauro shares his love of ceramics he has chosen a different career, as an architect. It was Mauro who decorated the interior walls and ceiling of the ceramics shop. The pottery is mostly for everyday use, rustic earthenware dishes, terracotta crockery, bowls, vases, jugs and pitchers.The richness of this ancient craft continues to live on every day in the dazzling shop front and each piece of pottery retains a part of this wonderful tradition.

I treasure this pestle and mortar made by Giuseppe Testa
Symbol of the Bottega dei Fratelli Testa

Thanks to our friend Stefano Serrani  for much of this information about his dear friend Giuseppe Testa. Thanks also to Bob of the beautiful Casal dei Fichi apartments near Fermo for more updated information. You can visit the ceramics store here:

Ceramiche Fratelli Testa
Borgo Santa Croce, 33
62010 Appignano di Macerata (MC)
Tel.: (+39) 073357484

Further reading: The Town of Appignano di Macerata


  1. Carissima Nora, I love this post! You've managed to put together a family story dedicated to this beautiful craft. It's a pity that Giuseppe Testa haven't got succeeders. The ceramics is lovely!

  2. I'm glad that you liked the story Tatiana. Giuseppe's grandson is only 9 years old now, but who knows, in the future he may choose to carry on the family tradition...

  3. I just love Italian ceramics and that they have kept the art alive. I will be sure to check this out when I get in the area.

  4. I wish you a fantastic holiday in Italy next month Paninigirl!

  5. You might be interested to know that he is still going strong, making pottery and selling it in his shop - we send all our guests there!