If it’s true that every town has its own destiny, that of Faenza is ceramics. In this small artistic town between Bologna and Florence, fantastic ceramics of great originality are produced. Half of every year, Faenza is full of thousands of tourists from every part of Italy and Europe. Just think that in 1100, medieval Faenza was already famous for its artistic ceramics.
The name ‘Faenza’ is derived from the French ‘faience’, a word that in the entire world means majolica, glazed terracotta of refined clay.
And there has been no lull in this fame during the last millennium. And today, the fabulous history of Faenza’s ceramics is represented in the Museo Internazionale delle Ceramiche (International Museum of Ceramics), otherwise known as the Mic, in viale Baccarini 19. In its field, it is one of the most important in the world. It consists of various sections: schools, Italian and foreign, the ancient series of ancient Greece, Tuscany and ancient Rome and from far-off countries, such as pre-Columbian, African and Oriental creations. And there’s a wonderful series signed by famous artists, such as Picasso, Matisse, Chagall, Meandri and Burri.
These days, there are around 50 artistic botteghe del fuoco (‘fire boutiques’) that are small workshops and kilns that the public can enter to experience live each and every phase of the elaboration. There are also schools for the education of technicians of the ceramics industry of all parts of the world, international demonstrations, exhibits and conventions.
Art and Culture
The museum alone would make the trip to Faenza worthwhile. However, Faenza is also a town of outstanding artistic and architectural features. There are two beautiful squares linked in Renaissance style, fascinating palaces, the large cathedral of the 15th century, the typical arcaded streets, a historic, 18th-century theatre and museums sporting a wealth of precious works of art. Want some advice? Walk up the octagonal bell tower of Santa Maria Vecchia to enjoy the stimulating panorama of Faenza from above.
Faenza is an important agricultural and foodstuff centre. The zone is particularly known for its vegetable gardening and fruit farming as well as for its distillations. The fruit of the territory of Faenza is of high quality, especially its own, famous type of peach, the Peach and Nectarine of Romagna Igp. Its grappa and other grape distillates are excellent, too.
The surrounding hills are cultivated with olive groves and vineyards. Its most famous olive oil is extravirgin olive oil from Brisighella Dop. And the wines denominated ‘Colli di Faenza Doc’ are also of best quality.
Dining is the triumph of the flavours of Romagna: pasta sfoglia spread out with a rolling pin, flatbread, typical ovine meats, lamb and mutton prepared with aromatic herbs, salami, fresh and sheep cheeses.