Discovering the treasures of the Ceramics District of Grottaglie

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+39 3283619915

[email protected]

2 hours
Availability : upon request
Ceramics District - Grottaglie
Min Age : children and families are welcome!
The experience

Visit to Bottega and Casa Vestita with workshop on pottery making

On this guided tour you will discover one of the most characteristic Apulian artistic expressions: the production of pottery on the potter’s wheel.
In the alleys of the famous Ceramics District of Grottaglie, there are many workshops specialised in the production of ceramics: from the most classic, such as pumi, to the most modern creations.
We have chosen one of the oldest and most evocative workshops: Bottega Vestita. We will learn about its history and follow a master potter as he works at the potter’s wheel.
Afterwards, we will move to the workshop’s panoramic terrace where you will attend a workshop to decorate characteristic clay artefacts (read more about their ancient purpose below).
After this immersion in local handicrafts, we will take a step back in time by visiting Casa Vestita.
This is a fascinating historic building of Roman origin which houses an ancient underground rock church. This archaeological treasure contains other treasures that you can see with your own eyes.
Choose this experience to enrich your stay in Puglia. We are sure it will become one of the most beautiful memories you will cherish.

Welcome to Grottaglie: an exploring short walk through the Ceramics District

The historical Grottaglie’s Ceramics District is located in the lower part of the town, close the Episcopio castle. Along its particular narrow streets, you can admire many pottery workshops, about fifty, built in the soft karst rock; some of them still keep the ancient kilns. This ancient clay working process, born during the Middle age, is still used and handed down from generation to generation.

Visit to Bottega Vestita with live demonstration led by the master potter

Bottega Vestita is one of the most ancient and full of history pottery workshops in Grottaglie, located in the hearth of the Ceramics District; a real witness for figulinum artwork by this family of artists, since the beginning of 19th century. It is a place with unique charm, where you can perceive the soul of the District and discover how ceramists shape their artistic creations coming from their tight and long kiln. The newest generation of Vestitas has studied and taken up the ancient Magna Graecia pottery technique, extending its expertise to medieval production. Nowadays, the shop has many collaborations with a lot of artists, also producing ceramics for architecture, not neglecting experimentation and the study of alternative forms of furniture design.

The engraving workshop on the panoramic terrace of Bottega Vestita

Thanks to its central location, the workshop terrace offers a 360° view of the Ceramics District, from which you can see the splendid majolica dome of the Church of S. Francesco di Geronimo, with the three prevailing colours of the ceramics of Grottaglie: yellow, green and red.
On the terrace, you can attend a workshop to decorate an ancient clay artefact of apotropaic and historical value, the “Tromba di S. Pietro“.
Since the 1500s, three traditions have been practised in the Grottaglie area:

  • the Jewish tradition, with the use of the ‘shofar’, the ram’s horn used during the Jewish New Year whose sound recalls the echo of Sinai;
  • the Christian tradition, which celebrates St Peter the Jew on the 29th June;
  • the traditional ceramics tradition.

The combination of these three traditions gives rise to the “Festa della tromba di San Pietro”, on which occasion the Bottega Vestita manufactures hundreds of trumpets that are traditionally used for the famous ‘breaking’ ritual, in which the trumpets are actually broken to win good luck.
In the past, the trumpets were given to people worthy of esteem and friendship, and the gesture was reciprocated with baskets of fioroni (a seasonal Apulian fruit similar to the fig) or with whatever the land had to offer.

Visit to Casa Vestita and the Ancient Rupestrian Hypogeum church

The origin of Casa Vestita dates back to Roman age, testified by the tiles located in one of its rooms. Today it is a fascinating historical building that houses temporary exhibitions dedicated to local pottery culture. Inside Casa Vestita you can find ancient cisterns, used for the collection of rainwater and above all a magnificent frescoed Rupestrian Church that was found a few years ago during some renovation works made in the garden. The renovation works brought back to light a crypt into the hypogean cavity. The rupestrian church of Casa Vestita dates back a period between 1200 and 1300. It is made up of a single nave with three apses.
Many peculiarities make this crypt a unique place to be visited. There is a considerable amount of antiquities such as vessels, cups with knight’s emblems, coins, templar crosses, dating back to the 9th century. The altar has beautiful spiral columns, a real rarity in Puglia; frescoes about blessing Christ, San Nicola of Myra and Santa Barbara; the Holy Water Dispenser dug out of the solid rock and, along the whole wall, a ”pharmacy” in which monks used to put their medicines.

The inner ancient garden

The ancient garden, which dates back to the 19th century, is full of amphorae, capasoni, jars, old iron buckets, pomegranate trees, majestic prickly pears and a colonnade used by the ladies of the time to entertain their friends away from prying eyes.
Another magical place you can discover during this incredible guided tour of Grottaglie.

Tasting on the terrace available upon request

To complete your tour of the Ceramics District, we have thought of an exclusive experience available upon request. If you choose this option, you will have the opportunity to conclude this experience with an aperitif served on the panoramic terrace of Casa Vestita.
You will be able to enjoy the view while sipping some excellent Apulian wine accompanied by other typical local products.

How to book your guided tour

Contact us by filling out the form available on this page indicating the number of participants.
Alternatively, you can send us an email to the following email address: [email protected]
We will reply as soon as possible providing you with all necessary information to make you live an unforgettable experience in Puglia.

Are you ready for the experience Discovering the treasures of the Ceramics District of Grottaglie? Book it!

Come and enjoy it too, we are waiting for you!

Details

Place of the experience

Meeting with the guide on site. The meeting point will be provided after booking.

Grottaglie, Puglia – Italy

Duration

  • 2 hours

The price includes

  • Walk through the Ceramic District
  • Visit to Bottega Vestita
  • Ceramic workshop led by the master potter
  • Decoration workshop
  • Visit to Casa Vestita

Not included but available on request

  • Transfer service
  • Wine and local products tasting

Notes

  • Please inform us of any allergies or food intolerances. Thanks!
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