Thursday, June 14, 2012

Cocksure in Orvieto!

There is much more to bring visitor to beautiful Orvieto.  I could write odes to the Orvieto roosters, those hand painted ceramic pitchers that prance across the shelves of most ceramic shops there.  You can find just about any color and design to delight the eye.  It is one of the most practical of gifts, guaranteed to find many uses: a small one for cream, medium size for juice or milk and a larger for a liter of wine. Perched atop a giant mound of tufa created by an ancient volcano, Orvieto is one of the most colorful towns in Umbria.  Famous for its glorious Duomo whose façade of thousands of glass mosaics glitter in the sun, there are also tens of dozens of ceramic shops that lend color to each

little street or vicolo.  There are traditional and modern takes on hand painted ceramics and you can watch artisans at their craft in some studios.  Take the time to visit several and you will be amazed at their workmanship. 

Wander around making friends with these cheerful creatures and you will become cocksure in Orvieto!

Oh.....that ode?  Here is the little one who leaped into my hands on my first visit to Orvieto so many years ago and the ode she inspired.
Ode to an Orvieto Pitcher 
Oh handmade pitcher from Orvieto!
Who fashioned the cockscomb frill
around your head?
What clever artisan
created a beak for your spout?
Or did you spring fully out of the kiln
and prance onto the worktable
demanding to be painted
with bold turquoise, rose and green flowers
and golden singing bird?
For centuries you have been fashioned
to grace our tables and hold our milk.
You bold and sassy piece of work,
passing from generation to generation.
You inspired many plates and pots,
who clamored to strut their stuff,
leaving off their Renaissance patterns,
stately though they were,
to become bold and playful creatures.
Sitting quietly on a dusty shelf
with your twin brothers and sisters,
you called out to me to take you home
when I wandered into a shop in Orvieto.
Now, you are cousin to my flowered egg cup,
doting aunt to my coffee mug,
and sister to my creamer.
You make me smile each morning
when I see you on my window shelf.
I can’t wait to fill you up now
with fresh-squeezed orange juice!

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