Under the Mount Camicia (Italian for "shirt"), in the mountainous region of Gran Sasso, a couple of hours from Rome, lies a wonderful village, which has a long history and an impressive artistic tradition. It is the village of Castelli.
The village was already in existence in the X century and is predominately known for its ceramics. The ceramics production became a very important business since the XVI century and it is, still today, one of the village's most important activity, both economically and culturally. The abundance of clay in the soil and the abundance of wood in the forests surrounding the village favored the development of the ceramics as the major economical activity.
Castelli gave birth to two great artists, and many others. Orazio Pompei, who lived in the XVI century, is considered the initiator of the ceramist tradition in Castelli.
Francesco Antonio Grue
Another important artist is Francesco Antonio Grue who lived in the XVII century.
The Ceramic Museum and the Art School
In Castelli we find two gems. One is the "Ceramic Museum" hosted by a beautiful Francescan convent. The museum summarizes Castelli's ceramist tradition, its history, evolution, and technological innovation.
The other gem is an Art School bearing the name of the artist Francesco Antonio Grue. The school hosts an international exhibition consisting of contemporary art in the fields of design, ceramics, and sculpture. The school hosts also a giant nativity. The nativity is composed of human-size statues, vaguely inspired by the style of Botero.