Custom for the Customer

This is my new soap dispenser, made for me by ceramic artist Angelo Varsallona, who is based in Caltagirone. In May, I went hunting along the famous stairs of the baroque town seeking two different dispensers for our new apartment. When I couldn’t find what I was looking for, Angelo offered to make them for…

Ascending Into A Different Realm

Today, walking up and down Caltagirone’s Staircase of Santa Maria del Monte felt magical. There is something ethereal about connecting the “upper and lower” parts of town via this 1609 staircase–here with spring flowers decorating it! It’s as if you are ascending into a different realm using the 142 steps that have unique, colorful majolica…

Burgio: A Souvenir And A Story

Bringing home a unique handcrafted piece of pottery for yourself or your loved ones is a fantastic souvenir. Sicily has many centers of ceramics, perhaps the most famous are Caltagirone, Santo Stefano di Camastra, and Sciacca. Burgio, where I photographed this image, is also well-known for its earthenware. For an off-the-beaten path stop, it’s a…

Feel Inspired

You bring light to the world when you support artists and small business owners. And you’ll feel inspired when you get upclose to an artist like Mirella Pipia, pictured, in Sicily in her ceramic workshop and boutique. Shop small this weekend, when we are offering a special pricing incentive on our 2018 small-group, multi-sensory tours,…

Sicily Dances, and So Will You

I loved this plate when I saw it last month in Santo Stefano di Camastra, one of Sicily’s ceramics centers. Featuring the ubiquitous Trinacria, the symbol of Sicily, it captures so much about the region: its vibrant colors, the locals’ artistry, and its ancient mysteries and history… and then the plate itself is for serving…

Voilà, It’s Majolica! 

Santo Stefano di Camastra is one of Sicily’s ceramics centers. There is an entire street of the town lined with ceramics shops that are filled with majolica ceramics (maiolica in Italian). Majolica describes a technique of decorating earthenware (ceramics made with red clay, AKA bisque or biscuit) that has been fired at a relatively low…

One with the Tiles

Here I am, one with the tiles of Caltagirone’s Staircase of Santa Maria del Monte, which was built in 1609 to connect the old lower town to the new upper town. Since 1954, each of its 142 steps was decorated with a unique design of colorful, handcrafted majolica ceramic tile, a craft for which the…