Vietri sul Mare is a village located at the start of the Amalfi Coast on the southern end by the city of Salerno. It’s known around the world for its hand-painted Italian ceramics tradition and everywhere you go in the village you can see evidence of its importance in the community. It is because of this widespread creativity that I chose this village as the place to live on the Amalfi Coast.
Everyday items for the home can be found in most shops, as well as custom designed tiles can be made to order for your home or business. The tradition of the Vietri Naive style is still practiced alongside very modern designs by contemporary ceramic artists, each with their own unique style. There’s something for everyone here!
Two different tours of Vietri are available – a historic tour and a ceramics shopping tour. Both tours are approximately 2-3 hours long and are typically scheduled in the morning starting at 9 or 10am. “Riposo” (like siesta in Spanish) is still practiced in southern Italy (more so than in the bigger cities such as Rome) and it’s not unusual to see the shops close at midday for a few hours. For this reason we prefer to schedule a morning tour so that we finish before this break.
The Historic tour will focus on the history of Vietri’s buildings, traditions, and the evolution and influences of particular ceramic artists who resided here. During this tour you may see a demonstration of ceramics artists at work, but we will not visit any shops for ceramics shopping. Save time in your day when planning your visit to Vietri to do this after a nice lunch so that you can return to any shops you liked along the walk during the tour.
On the tour you’ll see the Duomo, historic buildings including one with a link to the famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, wind through the alleyways and neighborhoods of the historic center of the village, and, of course, lots of ceramics.
The shopping tour will explain about the tradition of the Vietri ceramics while focusing more on showing you artisans at work and assisting you in finding the ceramics you are wanting to purchase. We can visit a variety of shops and help you with finding a style that suites your particular tastes. Most shop owners speak very little English here, if at all. Our guide will help with translations so that you are able to get or order exactly what you want.
A visit to the Ceramics Museum at Villa Guariglia in Raito can be included if you are visiting Vietri with a car or driver. The entrance is free, but we’ll need to add a little extra time at the beginning of the tour to start in the picturesque cliffside village of Raito, a frazione (suburb) of Vietri that overlooks the coast of Salerno and the historic center of Vietri where the tours are located. We’ll need a car to drive down to the village’s historic center after the museum visit.
Also by car (unless you don’t mind some extra walking), we can also visit one of the ceramics factories where you can see the process of creating the ceramic forms, both stamped designs (like for bowls and plates) and hand shaped forms thrown on the pottery wheel (like vases). You’ll see the giant kilns that fire the forms after they have dried and then are later painted and fired again before they are ready for purchase.
For those who want to be creative, you can also schedule time to paint ceramics at the factory or in a cultural center in the village center depending on which is available. Your piece(s) will be fired during the next availability and can be shipped to your home or if you are spending enough time in the area we can make arrangements for you to collect your piece to take back home with you.
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