Ceramics workshops of Vietri ☆☆

The porcelain-clad Solimene ceramics factory, Ceramics workshops of Vietri, Vietri sul Mare, Italy (Photo )
The porcelain-clad Solimene ceramics factory

The best ceramics shop of Vietri

The best of those right on the main drag is Avallone, Corso Umberto 122–124 (tel. 089-210-029 or 089-210-538), with good price and quality control and some innovative patterns.

My favorite shop is V. Pinto, Corso Umberto 31 (tel. 089-210-271, Ceramicapinto.it). At 150 years, it's the oldest in town, and also one of the largest, as adept in creating new patterns as in following those of their display plates that date back to the early 1700s. Head into the back room to rummage for individual pieces (as opposed to entire dining room sets).

Francesco Raimondi, one of Pinto's star artists, struck out on his own in 1998 with a little shop at Via G. Mazzini 3 (tel. 347-539-2490 or 089-761-787, Francescoraimondi.com). In his highly symbolic and well-executed designs he practices both craft, by painting traditional patterns, and art by inventing his own.

Don't leave town without checking out the funky, ceramic-studded building of Solimene, Via Madonna degli Angeli 7 (tel. 089-210-243, Solimene.com), an old ceramics school and factory now a bit dilapidated and serving as a vast showroom for the firm's output (good prices, but somewhat sloppy work).