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Montelupo – The roads of ceramics

A tour of the ceramics tradition

Located right outside Florence, on the River Arno, the town of Montelupo Fiorentino has a history strictly connected with the ceramic manufacturing. This started to become prominent between the 1400 and 1530 when Montelupo became the highest expression of the “Fabbrica di Firenze,” thanks to prestigious commissions that marked the development of the local economic fabric, from the Medici to the Papal insignia, to the Historic Pharmacies. The small town is still today a prominent center of artistic ceramic manufacturing, that has been capable to combine tradition and modernity in quality products with a unique design.  

The know-how of Tuscany marks the production of this territory whose feature is a high esthetic and functional quality, and for the ability of the artists, the artisans and the firms that are very technologically advanced, to create synergies and contaminations destined to represent the added value of the handicraft born from the idea and from passion.

La Strada della Ceramica (The Road of Ceramics) of Montelupo has been created to make known and promote this history and much more. It is designed as a territorial web that spreads also to some portions of nearby municipalities (Capraia and Limite, Lastra a Signa and Montespertoli). All that in connection with clear historic reasons of production contamination of the tradition of Montelupo in a larger territorial environment. Montelupo protects the local ceramics production in order to preserve and keep high standard of quality of these products. Because of the quality seals, when you buy a product of one of the firms belonging to the network of the Strada della Ceramica di Montelupo, you are certain to have purchased a handicraft, that is authentic, that has been artisanally made on this territory and that has a certified quality that is unique in the world. The Museo della Ceramica is at the center of this project, a crucial point both for the development of cultural and promotional activities and as a showcase for the manufacturers through the permanent Showroom established in 2011.

The Museum opened in 1985, moved to a new site in Piazza Vittorio Veneto in 2008 and it was recently set up inside the MMAB (Montelupo Museo Archivio Biblioteca). The Museum is on two floors: it includes a collection of ceramic works spanning from the end of the 1200s to the 1700s, works chosen among the more than 3,000 artifacts housed in the warehouses. The corridors of both floors offer a chronological reconstruction of the history of the ceramic production that develops also in an itinerary for the visually impaired with tactile stations formed by tiles with relief and captions in Braille alphabet. The eight rooms have a specific theme.

The itinerary through the small artisan bottegas in the historic center of Montelupo will take the visitor to the discovery of a great variety of little restaurants where to take a break before continuing the visit. The local cuisine, in fact, besides presenting the traditional dishes of Tuscany, made of simple and genuine recipes, offers also the opportunity to taste some of the recipes that have been handed down for generations like the “cipollata” (onion soup) the “minestra di pane” (a bread and vegetable dish) o il “peposo” e il “pan bistugio”, besides many other specialties that will satisfy even the most demanding palates.