Umbria is famous for its green hills, cured meats, the town of Assisi, and most of all, its hand-painted pottery. Today we took a 20-minute drive to Deruta, the epicenter of this ceramic tradition.
We arrived with the intention of outfitting our new apartment with a set of dinner plates, but the choices overwhelmed us. There were more than 100 small shops in the center of town and an equal number of ceramic studios on the outskirts, each one owned by an artist or family of artists. We browsed from one place to another admiring the intricate designs and beautiful patterns. Then, just as the boys were wearing out, Tom spotted a platter he just HAD to have. Unfortunately, it had been commissioned for the president of the NFL and was not for sale.
We found another shop that our friend Kris Frossmo recommended. Upon entering, we were wildly greeted by Fernando, the proprietor. He stood up and embraced Tom and me then offered discounts on everything. We told him that Kris had bought some plates here years ago and suggested we visit, at which point Fernando gave me a big smooch on the lips. After I pulled away, he announced that he had another for my friend Kris. It was strange and awkward and a little juicy. We took pictures of some of our favorite pieces, but in the end, couldn’t make a decision. We decided to return to Deruta next week.
On the way out of town we stopped at a super cute restaurant and encountered a couple mishaps. First, Ray got himself stuck in the bathroom for a while. We were talking to the owner and didn’t notice how long he had been gone. He returned to our table in tears telling us what happened. He explained that he finally got out after yelling, “Mi aiuta!” as loud as he could. Then after we finished lunch, as I was walking out the restaurant, I tripped on a step and fell flat on the floor in front of the staff. My entire body was on the ground. Several people rushed to help me up. My ankle hurt, my wrists were throbbing, neither injury equaled the humiliation.