18 October 2010


Before we went to Rome, I broke a ceramic figurine of sentimental value.  I should have packed it, because one of our finds was Squatriti, this doll's hospital in the Via di Ripetta. It's not the sort of thing you look for, but it's typical of the unexpected things you come across while wandering in the city.

Among the others were a modernist sports centre from the Fascist 1930s designed by Luigi Moretti. The centre, Casa GIL, opposite our hotel in Trastevere, is still used as a gym and steps are being taken to restore it, but it's in a sorry state and there are sensitivities about restoring Italy's Fascist past. Here are pictures of it as it was and as it is today (below).

The government was introducing austerity measures and a round of demos was under way. This demo by school students (bottom left) went past Casa GIL to the ministry of education down the road It was different from demos in England: here the teachers joined in instead of trying to stop it and addressed the students from the steps of the ministry.

Intense secular and religious demonstrations take place streets away from one another and in Trastevere there was a religious procession by Rome's Peruvian community (bottom right).

8 October 2010


Dolfi ceramics
We are going to Rome soon, after a successful Open Studio.  The last time I was there I bought a ceramic vase like this one, made in the Dolfi factory in Montelupo.  There was a big shop by the Piazza Sant'Andrea selling reproductions of Renaissance maiolica.  You see it all over Italy.  Market stalls in Florence overflow with it, much of it made nearby in the ancient pottery towns of Montelupo, Deruta, Gubbio and further north in Faenza.  Some of it is quite cheap, and most of it is no good.  It is well-made technically, but there is little innovation and the brush work is often weak.  Dolfi, which does some direct imitations of old maiolica, is a good exponent of this genre.