NC State alumni traveling through Italy together visited Umbria’s ceramics capital, Deruta, this week.
The group learned about the traditional art of Italian ceramic decoration during a demonstration at the Maioliche Binaglia shop. Two sisters own the business and do all the artwork by hand.
They use an antique dusting technique to stencil patterns onto terracotta pottery. The process starts by tracing the design onto a thin sheet of paper with pin size holes. Charcoal is dusted into the holes to transfer the design onto pottery so it can be painted.
“I was impressed by the intricate and delicate work that was all by freehand,” WolfTreks traveler Paula Taylor said. “It gives you a different perspective for the work that goes into creating each piece.”
The group then traveled to the town of Perugia. The MiniMetro made getting up and down Perugia’s hilly terrain much easier on the group. “The MiniMetro was like being in Disney World on the tram. I loved it and it got us up the hill,” WolfTreks traveler Becky Mangum said.
After a walking tour of the town’s notable sites, some alumni made a stop at Perugina, a store widely known for its fine chocolate. The confectionery company is most famous for its “Baci”, chocolate balls filled with hazelnut, which many of the travelers purchased as take home gifts. “The Baci were sinfully good,” Taylor said.
Leaving Perugia, the group traveled to Tuscany, where they stayed at Villa Lecchi. The restored 18th century villa, originally built in the 1500s, overlooks the Chianti hills and the Elsa Valley. “I’ve enjoyed the villa,” WolfTreks traveler Mary Todd ’67, ’68 MS said. “I love the view and being out in the country.”
In addition to the picturesque scenery, alums have savored traditional Tuscan meals prepared by the villa’s chef, known as “Momma.”
“I thought the food was excellent. To me, it was like down-home cooking but in Italy,” WolfTreks traveler Jim Norman ’53 said.
The hotel even has its own resident Bambi, a young deer who greeted alums after breakfast one morning. Bambi’s mother was killed by a car, so the family that runs the villa is raising her. She gets goat’s milk everyday and enjoys nibbling on the flowers around the property.