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Surrena - Terracotta Falisca - Terra Cotta hand made working

Terra Cotta hand made working

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First signs of Falerii Veteres’s ceramic art, today’s Civita Castellana, go back to the 10th century a. C., almost at the very beginning of the Iron Age.

The so-called “falisca” production, though remaining inferior in raw materials’ quality to the Greek one, had similar decorations and technical process of realization.
The subjects of the decorations were taken from Greek myths, but they had local variations. Dionysian scenes were the favourite ones.

A more abundant ceramic production is to be found around the 12th century, when more refined techniques and more depurated mixture, along with a better firing, allow an higher quality production.

With introduction of ceramic glazing come up first styles of decoration, engraving first and painted under glaze (in ramina green and manganese brow) after. By the 13th century all of the ceramic production is glazed with stanniferous paint.

In the 14th century this technique was further refined with brilliant quality results in the ceramic’s innovation. At that time decorations and shapes were inspired by the ceramic production of central Italy and by the so-called “green family”.

In the 15th and 16th centuries ceramic production grew and followed the decorations of the main ceramic production districts, such as Faenza and Deruta.

With continuous improving of the ceramic art in Italy, in the 17th century the ancient laboratories in Civita Castellana were replaced by tiles and white ceramic manufacturing laboratories (more or less successful ones) which treasured local raw materials.

Towards the end of the 18th century, thanks to Giovanni Trevisan – ceramist and engraver, known as “Volpato” – who was authorized by the Apostolic Chamber to dig out modelling clay throughout an area of 17 sq. km. by Mount Soratte, Civita Castellana’s ceramic art improved so much that Volpato himself, who exposed some pieces of his ceramic production at “biscuit” in Campidoglio - Rome, was awarded Silver medal by Napoleone I.

By using local raw materials he succeeded in making works of great value, avoiding foreign manufacturers’ competition in Rome.

At the beginning of last century a great innovation changed Civita Castellana’s ceramic production. which up to then had been mainly an artistic production. In fact, between the end of the 60s and early 70s many production sites sprang up; while some of them were just artisans’ laboratories, others had larger dimensions capable to employ hundreds of workers. Most of today’s production, which has reached very high technical and industrialization levels, concerns sanitary ware, dinnerware and, with regards to “Surrena Terracotta Falisca” tiles.

Civita Castellana has been for many years, so far, the most important industrial district within Viterbo province, so as to be considered as an “industrial isle” within an agricultural context.