The art of ceramics on the Italian Riviera

The sea of the Riviera di Ponente

A 5-minute drive from the town of Savona, right in the heart of the Riviera di Ponente, the Albisola area – made up of two distinct municipalities, Albissola Marina and Albisola Superiore - has been hosting ceramic manufacturing (mostly kitchenware) since the Late Middle Ages thanks to an abundance of raw materials from local beaches and quarries.
Kilns multiplied between the 16th and 17th centuries, colours being ground in a mill located in the nearby hill hamlet of Ellera (known for its excellent vineyards). Decorations included sea landscapes (coast, flowers, animals) and sailing, as well as classic/Christian symbols (from myths to saints and – later Christmas shepherds). Each manufacturer devised its “trademark”: Genoa’s lighthouse (Grosso), the royal crown (Corrado). The Museo Diocesano of Albenga provides an excellent overview of these treasures..
Monochrome light blue decoration started to decline in the 18th century (manganese pink was there to stay…), as production focused on simple daily objects – mugs, jars… - which still feature in the collections of the Museo “Manlio Trucco” inAlbisola Superiore.
In the 19th century, indefatigable Bartolomeo Seirullo introduced light caramel brown and black earthenware. Kitchenware was exported overeas, too: cookware (manufactured only by big workshops) and white ceramic dishes – mass produced yet elegant – appeared.
Futurism (Italy’s one and only avant-garde art movement) was an intense season in the area, frequented by artists such as Tullio Mazzotti (a.k.a. Tullio d'Albisola), who in 1938 coauthored with Filippo Tommaso Marinetti – the “Manifesto futurista della Ceramica e Aereoceramica”, then Manlio Trucco, Lucio Fontana, Giuseppe Capogrossi, Arturo Martini, Eliseo Salino, Mario Gambetta, Aurelio Caminati, Emilio Scanavino... In 1954 Enrico Baj and Asger Jorn (whose dwelling – now a museum - was restored a few years ago) started international cooperation at the Ceramiche Mazzotti, i.e. the wonderful ‘30’s building designed by talented Bulgarian Nicolaj Diulgheroff.
The Albisola myth grew stronger and stronger.
This is the fascinating world of tastes and crafts that LiguriabyLuisa discloses to foreign markets and buyers.

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