Inside the Museum of Pagliazza, in the basement of the homonym tower, inside the Hotel Brunelleschi, you can admire an impressive collection of pottery found during excavations carried out in 1980. Apart from a few Romans fragments, in the windows of the museum there are medieval artefacts and a fine collection of Renaissance pieces mostly attributable to Montelupo production.
The ceramic of the Renaissance and post-Renaissance of the museum can be divided into three categories: majolica, ingobbiate and graphite, especially of the Montelupo production. Above all, it stands out the great dishes in concise style, with animals at the centre, views of countries or human figures, as well as bowls of the 16th century with a rich polychrome geometric decoration.
Another window shows the most important works of the Montelupo pottery, as those decorated with the technique of “blue graffiti”, or “Harlequins” (first half of the 17th century) with wide painted figures. Large trays with coats in the middle are also esteemed.
The village of Montelupo Fiorentino, located in the province of Florence, was one of the centres of pottery production, the most important of the Renaissance both in Italy and in Europe.
The story begins at the end of the 13th century, with the production of manufactured goods with decorations in Hispanic-Moorish style (blue motifs and prevalently green decoration).
Since then, and for more than three centuries, the kilns multiplied within the city walls, until exceed the 50 units at the end of the 15th century.
Some pieces of Montelupo pottery have been found in the archaeological sites of Central America connected with the first European settlements in the area, as well as in the Philippines and in Scotland.
Montelupo are some of the most beautiful examples of Renaissance majolica storied that are proudly displayed in the most important museums in the world (Cluny and Victoria and Albert Museum, for example), although often they have labels and captions not correct. Montelupo decorations was born from the storied production, certainly more famous, i.e. “Harlequins” of the 17th century, satirical-naive depictions of the characters the most famous and feared of the time, the Lanzichenecchi hired by Charles V.
At the end of the 17th century, after it was finished the production of beautiful artifacts for Florentine Pharmacies of the San Marco Dominican and of Santa Maria Novella, it began the slow but inexorable decline of the Montelupo production of ceramic. Only thanks to the production of “pots” of Capraia tradition survived during the 18th and 19th centuries. The memory of the great Montelupo ceramics, as well, was lost.
In 1977, the volunteers of the “Archaeological Group of Montelupo Fiorentino discovered, inside the castle overlooking the medieval town, the mouth of a large well (the “Well of the wash”), filled with fragments of pottery from the kilns towns. The finds are exhibited in the museum of Montelupo ceramics.
We invite you to visit the Museum of Pagliazza during your next stay in Florence. Our concierge will be happy to guide you to discover these fascinating underground treasures.