TRA­DI­TIONS

All About Italy (USA) - - Editorial - Sascha Mallinck­rodt

In the prov­ince of Salerno, the gate­way to the splen­did Amalfi Coast is the beau­ti­ful vil­lage of Vietri sul Mare, fa­mous through­out the world for its unique ceram­ics. Rich in mon­u­ments to visit and places of cul­tural in­ter­est, from the Chiesa Par­roc­chiale di San Gio­vanni Bat­tista (Parish Church of San Gio­vanni Bat­tista) Villa Guar­iglia and Torre di Ma­rina di Vietri al Ponte di Molina (Tower of Ma­rina di Vietri), this ex­tra­or­di­nary lo­ca­tion was de­clared a UNESCO World Her­itage Site in 1997. How­ever, what made Vietri glob­ally fa­mous is its ce­ramic pro­duc­tion—a con­tin­u­ous tra­di­tion since the 15th cen­tury. The ceram­ics in­dus­try took root in the late Re­nais­sance thanks to the San­sev­erino princes and since then has al­ways been a sym­bol of Vietri sul Mare: with artis­tic cre­ations that dec­o­rate al­leys and streets, mak­ing the al­ready pe­cu­liar ur­ban and coastal land­scape even more fas­ci­nat­ing. The ceram­ics of Vietri sul Mare are true mas­ter­pieces de­rived from a cen­turiesold tra­di­tion, typ­i­cal only of some of the Amalfi Coast lo­cales. They ex­em­plify one of the pil­lar prod­ucts of this coastal strip. Ex­traor­di­nar­ily, ev­ery ce­ramic is a unique piece—there are no du­pli­cates due to the very long and com­plex pro­duc­tion process, which in­volves sev­eral phases. First, there is the ini­tial wheelmod­el­ing of the clay, then kiln bak­ing, fol­lowed by im­mer­sion in white enamel, dry­ing, hand dec­o­rat­ing be­fore the fi­nal bake that sets the in­cred­i­ble colors of the dec­o­ra­tions. Even to­day the pro­duc­tion of the best Vietri ceram­ics con­tin­ues in the var­i­ous ar­ti­san work­shops, car­ry­ing on a fam­ily tra­di­tion that in some cases has spanned over 100 years.

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