Vietri sul Mare, the “first pearl” of Amalfi Coast is one of the most important coastal town in the Salerno’s province, and is nestled in the most protected corner of the namesake bay. It was already inhabited when it was called Marcina (maybe founded by Tirrens), the city, is surrounded by a wonderful Mediterranean vegetation and it offer a wonderful sea landscape.
As all the Amalfi Coast towns, one of the most beautiful corner of the world is certified by Unesco with the seal of World Heritage Site, Vietri sul Mare has a great touristic vocation and it is famous for pottery industry.
For the visitors arriving by sea, there is a spectacular show of majolica of the dome of St. John Baptist church, that is the main monument of 17th century, and it is the first impact with the old art of majolica which invades completely life, commerce and handicraft of Vietri.
The history of ceramic industry have an old tradition and it can be retraced with a visit to Museo Artistico Industriale di Ceramica Manuel Cargaleiro and to Museo Provinciale della Ceramica which is located to Villa Guariglia.
All the colors of Amalfi Coast seems to meet in Vietri, in the colours and in the decoration of majolica product since the 17th century. This old tradition of the majolica decoration deeply mark the path of ceramic production in Vietri that is, yesterday as today, an important crossway of maritime commerce in Mediterranean Sea.
News about a flourishing activities linked to ceramic production date back to 14th century thanks to the great demand of shingles and tiles. Shingles and tiles produced in Vietri sul Mare, by the master makers.
To have a certain documentation of majolica industry in Vietri, instead, we must date back to 16th century. In this period the production was really plentiful because related to an always raising request. The production concerned of cooking utensils and domestic artifacts like plates, bowls and little jars to conserve spices and drogues.
But only in 17th century it was qualitative leap, also thanks to the immigration of artisans from other areas of Italy as Abruzzo, Vietri ceramics reached new shapes and artistic decorations. The artisans started to create a religious objects as domestic stoups, religious majolica tiles, and little chapels that are still visible in the Vietri alleys.
The raising trades linked with unique characteristics of Vietri area and the particularly originality of Vietri artisans, attracted, from the 20’s of the last century, world-renowned artists and artisans (Irene Kowaliska, Riccardo Dolker, Giovannino Carrano) that helped Vietri to become one of the most important ceramic capital.
The Vietri’s ceramic workshops are a show into the show: the narrow ways on the large terrace where Vietri is located, are studded with shops and artisan workshops where majolica art reach great level for shapes and colors. Everything is in ceramic: tiles, plates, vases, little statues, coffee and tea sets, religious objects and the famous little donkeys.
The little donkeys, nowadays symbol of Vietri ceramics, are an invention of German potter artisans that, in the years between 20s and 40s of last century, attracted by sun and sea, moved to Vietri. They where also expert chemists and invented some formulas to create particularly colors of majolica, that were considered unique in the world. Among all the new colors…one of the best known: the famous “yellow of Vietri”.
Stiles and influences are still proposing again. At the same time, Vietri artisans aspire to have new experiences: from classic warm colors of Amalfi Coast, passing to Vietri’s landscapes, scenes of daily life, imaginary and contemporary figures. These are the details to determinate the great personality of the inimitable Ceramica Artistica Vietrese.