Tag Archives: Deruta

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 ...

Hang It High!

Looking over the week’s itinerary I realize there is a glaring gap – no time to spend in Deruta.  How can this be?  It takes a little creative juggling and we add in a morning of painting at Geribi Studio without taking away from anything else. 

Bill has recently taken up yoga.  He really enjoys the peace and calm and the opportunity to escape and unwind. IMG_6072 He asks me to join him and I remind him that peace and calm aren’t really my thing.  Escaping and unwinding is difficult for me.  I’ve done yoga in the past but found myself constantly checking my watch, using the meditative time to freak out about things undone and worst of all falling asleep on the mat.  When it comes to escaping and unwinding – yoga for Bill and Gerardo’s studio for me.

This is where I can relax.  My hand is not steady, my eye is not creative – but I am not here for perfection I’m here to work with my hands.  To spend a couple of hours unwinding, escaping, living in the moment and watching a blank plate turn into my own creation.

IMG_6087Guests often panic when they sit down to paint.  The Ribigini family is so talented it is hard to imagine recreating anything close to what they do.  But of course this is a talent that comes from hours and hours, years and years of practice.

I’ve made the mistake before of looking at designs and thinking that they would be easy – but all the detail, the small thin lines – not as easy as they look.  Today I sit down confidently.  I have finally figured out the perfect balance of powdered color to water.  And that is a pretty major key to painting in Deruta.

I look at the graphite dotting the page and look at the hundreds of plates surrounding me and decide where I want to make my adjustments.  Of course I want to paint the peacock feather – but now I get to decide where I make straight lines and where I add scallops – where I add the pomegranate seeds or the round circles.  Sticking with the familiar but wanting to try something a little bit new.

When we first met Gerardo and Asunta 20 years ago we immediately fell in love with their designs.  IMG_6097The blues and yellows in their geometric designs and the beautiful green peacock feathers.  Over the years the designs have expanded – adding a beautiful lemon design with a dark blue background evolving into an array of fruits with backgrounds of  black and red and eventually lavender, burgundy and light blue.  When their daughter Claudia starting working in the studio she introduced a more modern twist – bold oranges and blues and soft pastels of pink and green and lavendar.  When I first saw the new colors – I was of a mind that these were not for me.  But my children fell in love with them immediately.  So a new color palate for a new generation.  Over the years the colors have grown on me.  And today I choose a pink for the first time.  Who says an old dog can’t learn a new trick?

IMG_6031And we spend the morning painting, laughing, scraping away mistakes easily with a small knife.  And we talk about what we are doing and how and where we are going to show case our pieces.  Most importantly we discuss what we will do if they aren’t perfect (a likely event).  And we leave Gerardo’s studio with our new life motto, “Hang it high or cover it with cheese.”

or cover it with cheese Read more

Looking over the week’s itinerary I realize there is a glaring gap – no time to spend in Deruta.  How can this ...

Food and Wine Tour

For those of you who know Via Umbria, you know we are closely tied with the Geribi Studio in Deruta.

The hand-painted designs are the brainchild of Gerardo Ribigini, who inherited the studio from his father, but the workmanship reflects the talents of his wife, Assunta, and their children, Frederico and Claudia. Over three generations, they have sustained a family business that embodies the quality and integrity of true Italian artistry. Gerardo’s unique vision imbues the historic designs of the Renaissance with fresh colors and modern motifs.

On our tour, we were lucky enough to stop by the studio for lunch with the Geribi family. Eating lunch surrounded by all of their pieces was a treat indeed!


Gerardo and Suzy
Gerardo and Suzy

Geribi _DSC0077 _DSC0100 _DSC0117 _DSC0121 _DSC0127 _DSC0136 _DSC0146 _DSC0147


In partnership with Geribi, Via Umbria is pleased to make the craftsmanship and striking palette of Deruta accessible to American customers. They are a beautiful expression of the rich history that thrives in the bountiful region of Umbria.


Ci Vediamo!

–Via Umbria

Lunch at the Geribi Studio Read more

For those of you who know Via Umbria, you know we are closely tied with the Geribi Studio in Deruta. The hand-painted designs ...

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 ...