In 1994 I went to an exhibition of ceramics from Deruta and was subsequently given a couple of pieces. Ever since then I had harboured the hope that we might one day visit the town and find out more about the ceramic production there. The town has a long history of producing the famous maiolica or majolica ware and indeed continues to be known for producing some of the finest ceramics in Italy.
Before visiting Deruta itself we went to visit the santuario della Madonna dei bagni (the sanctuary of the Madonna of the baths) a couple of miles outside the town, where more than 600 ceramic votive plaques are displayed, an exceptional display of faith and art of the people which spans more than three centuries.
The plaques on display and offered ex voto depict the miracles for which the votive is being offered, and many bear the initials…
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