Tag Archives: Ceramics

Letter from Studio Geribi

Deruta, located in Umbria (center of Italia), 150km from Rome and 15km from Perugia, is a middle town in the hill famous for the production of ceramics. At Via Umbria, we sell a range of ceramics that are imported from Studio Geribi in Deruta, owned by Gerardo and Assunta Ribigini.


From Gerardo:

My father Pasquale, in 1956 together with 27 partners, founded a cooperative to maintain alive the company named Maioliche Deruta. There were more than 200 employees and my father was the president for 7 years, until 1962 when he retired.

The company ceased the activity in 1978, and I worked there as a painter and designer from 1969 to 1975 when I left to serve in the Navy.

In 1978 I started my company Geribi and met my future wife Assunta who joined me the same year. At the time, Assunta was working in a factory making compositions of dried flowers (ikebana-like). She not only learned to paint, but she began (and still does) to create new designs for the ceramics. Assunta made a lot of new designs that are inspired by the antique production with a new powerful color.

Our daughter Claudia joined us after her graduation in art history. She added a modern touch that meets the taste of the new generations.

After his graduation in art history, our son Federico spent some months as a potter and as a painter with us (but most of the time he was studying game programming and web design).


For some years we worked to serve retailers in Assisi, Orvieto, Urbino, Firenze and few others. Then we met an Italo-Australian young guy who wanted to open a shop in Sydney and from a couple of large boxes we ended up to ship 6 containers a year for their seven shops around Australia and New Zealand.
In 1994 we opened a shop in the piazza. There we met for the first time, Suzy and Bill Menard who fell in love with our ceramics.

This is one for example, is one of her unique master piece, completely hand painted. It’s possible to buy in our store in Georgetown or order online here.


Deruta Ceramics Read more

Deruta, located in Umbria (center of Italia), 150km from Rome and 15km from Perugia, is a middle town in the hill famous ...

Dreaming of Deruta

Yesterday morning, at 10:30 AM, a quasi-Jeep pulled up to La Fattoria Del Gelso. Frederico, the son of the Ribigini family, had come to take me away. We swerved through the Umbrian countryside, to arrive in the sleepy town of Deruta.

Deruta Alta

After being fully indoctrinated with the Geribi Ceramics story in the United States, I was eager to see what the production in Italy is actually like, and Frederico was there to show me. My most recent memories of Geribi involved packing up vast piles of it to move into storage, when Via Umbria closed for renovations. Hopefully this visit would be a little lighter, literally and figuratively.

First stop: the museum.

After reading Bill’s post on the museum two years ago, I was eager to enter the ex-Franciscain monastery to see the history of ceramics in Deruta. And it was just as educational and inspiring as he said it would be.

Deruta Museum

The visual timeline the museum offers is exceptional. Ceramics have been in Deruta for centuries, and to see the first fragments, which use only one or two colors and are more carved designs than painted, and then to travel through the Renaissance and to modern times, is a visual treat. One can really come to understand who these ceramics are essential to the history and understanding of this place.

Deruta Museum

The museum closed at 1 (for lunch!) so Frederico showed me around the city. I delighted in the fact that all of the signs (don’t drink this water, parking is here, coffee this way) are handpainted Deruta tiles. Even the public benches are make of ceramic. Here, ceramics are part of the fabric of life, an element of style that has seeped into the blood of Deruta.

We headed back to the warehouse, where Frederico explained the layers that go into creating the final piece. The warehouse was full of ceramics in different stages of the creation process. It was so interesting to see the skeletons of so many ceramics that I have worked with for a year.

Geribi Deruta IMG_2667 IMG_2669

Geribi Deruta Warehouse

But then it was lunchtime. We headed to a nearby restaurant with the whole Ribigini family, where the breeze offset the dramatic heat. I got to properly practice my Italian ear – not just having a one on one conversation but being part of a multi-channel exchange.

Geribi Deruta

I asked the family what makes their ceramics stand out in a town full of shops. In this historical place chock full of studios and rich with history, the Ribigini’s take Deruta ceramics and really make them their own, injecting the family style into each one of their creations. Patterns that I saw in the museum, historical styles of ceramics, are taken and given a vibrant twist in the Geribi studio. This is key in artwork, taking inspiration from proven old styles and refreshing them with the vibrancy of the present.

Geribi Deruta Animals

As we head back to Cannara, Frederico tells me he thinks the craft is dying out. Our generation is not as interested in carrying on the tradition of ceramics.  He told me 10 years ago there were many more stores, but as the world modernizes, people are not as intent on staying with the family trade, as he and Claudia have done. He says this with a shrug, mentioning that it may make it easier for him in the future, if not that many others are producing the high quality ceramics in the same quantity.

Animali Geribi

I certainly hope these ceramics remain alive. When I use them back at La Fattoria Del Gelso that night for dinner, I have a renewed appreciation. I understand the history, inspiration, work, and love that went into creating my dinner plate. And that creates a truly rich meal.

La Fattoria Del Gelso Ceramics



Ci Vediamo!

–Elsa at Via Umbria


Via Umbria imports ceramics directly from the Ribigini family. Support their craft at our online store. 


The Art of Ceramics Read more

Yesterday morning, at 10:30 AM, a quasi-Jeep pulled up to La Fattoria Del Gelso. Frederico, the son of the Ribigini family, had ...