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Posts Tagged ‘Neopolitan style’

CERRITO SANNITA – THE CERAMIC CITY 

I’VE GOT TO BRING SOMETHING HOME FOR THE MAH JONGG LADIES!!!!

What am I going to bring back for the ladies in my Mah Jongg? Here I am in the middle of beautiful nowhere and as I was told by Pasquale, this is not a tourist mecca, so shorthand for NO SOUVENIRS!  I am determined not to go back home without something for the ladies.  Pasquale and Raphael have a solution – why not take a trip to Cerrito Sannita, a nearby town which is reputed to be The Ceramic City.      That sounded like a plan so we drove with Raphael to the lovely town of Cerrito Sannita.  I was on the hunt for some small ceramic item to bring back to the gang.  Similar maybe to the small dish Lili brought back to us from Israel.  We use it for the pushke.  Time for a bit of a side note!

The pushke is Yiddish for a box or container kept in the household to collect loose change;  The money is to be contributed to charity.  We call our ante up money and the money from wall games our pushke, BUT in our group charity begins at home and we allow someone to win all that money, with none going to charity.  I know that sounds terrible but since we are now in a political era of full disclosure and transparancy, I thought it best to be honest.  

Cerrito Sanita is a lovely town, not so gray like Guardia and not too colorful;  Actually I had the impression that the whole town was shades of yellow and beige.  

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Cerrito Sanita Plaza in front of Church

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Shades Of Gold and Beige

Our first stop was a visit to a museum and gallery.  There was a large exhibtion of local art – carving, casting, painting and design.  It was interesting but I was eager to go looking for some ceramic treasures.   We started walking up what appeared to be the main retail area, there were several ceramic shops – YAY! 

Whoa…first store and it looks like we are in a boutique on Madison Avenue.  Next store, also filled with what is known as antiche arti ceramiche.  All of the pieces were beautiful, lovely, rich in detail and VERY EXPENSIVE not to mention the fact that really these were the kind of pieces your great aunt gave you at your wedding.  You put in the cabinet and there it remains!  I know that sounds terrible but truly these works are very ornate and certainly don’t fit into my lifestyle and there was nothing suitable for the ladies.  

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You See What I Mean!

We walked around this clean and serene town checking out shop and shop, each one  showcasing their own ceramic masterpieces.  Discouraged and tired I was ready to return to Guardia when Raphael suggested we might try a workshop in an adjacent  small village, San Lorenzello.  It turns out that one of Raphael’s former student’s father, Egnello Guista, is a master ceramicist and has his own workshop and showroom in San Lorenzello.  We arrive at the workshop which appears to be empty, but then Raphael shouts out, “Permisso” and Antonio appears from a room on the second floor.  Antonio shows a few items but suggests we follow him to the real showroom.  When we arrived, we were ushered into a semi-underground grotto!  The surroundings were surreal in this cool stone showroom.  Antonio explained that this grotto was the actual workroom of one of the great master ceramicists.   When he died, Antonio’s father bought the workshop and turned it into his own showroom.  Antonio showed us where the clay would slide down a chute into the room and how it would be slapped onto the stone wall to drain before they worked it.   Unfortunately   (for the Mah Jongg ladies), although the designs were much more contemporary and certainly less expensive, still there was nothing there that I could see bringing home for them.   Ahh… but for me and my sister-in-law, Juanita I found the perfect little gift that would hold a lot of meaning for her and me.  A small Nativity set, unusual because it was cast in brown.  The sets I bought were significantly smaller than the one in the photo, lol lol.

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Antonio In The Grotto Showroom.

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Absolutely Beautiful Nativity Set. Hand Carved And A Meer 600 Euros

Although with due respect to the time-honored and revered art and design of the artistic ceramics, aka Neopolitan style, the two sons, now involved in the business have begun experimenting with copper and magnesium to create brightly colorful bowls and other pieces.  What they are creating is along the lines of the ceramics we would find here in the United States, whereas, the replication of the old designs might be found in some shops along Park or Madison Avenue.

We head back to Guardia Sanframondi where Pasquale awaits our arrival and we will be off to see two properties for sale.

To be continued…

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