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Castelli

Description

Castelli is a town in the province of Teramo, set at the foot of the Camicia Mount, famous all over the word for the production of painted pottery. This tradition was probably introduced by the Benedictine monks who, exploiting the special clayey conformation of the territory, started a flourishing production of ceramics. Castelli then became home to famous masters who served the Kings of Naples and the noble houses of Rome. Between the XIII and the IX century b.C. the entire south east area of Teramo was inhabited by Sicilians, coming from the northern Europe towards south Italy. The village developed during the Carolingian period thanks to a phenomenon of creating medieval villages around a castle. The neighboring population of the built-up areas moved to the village to find better defense and abundant resources. Castelli became first a fief of the Orsini family and then marquisate of the Mendoza y Alarçon family, till the end of feudalism.

To see:
- the small rural Church of San Donato, defined by the Italian writer Carlo Levi as "the Sistine Chapel of the majolica art"; the majolica tiled ceiling is composed by 780 votive tiles (which are a replica either of the lost original ones, or of those on display at the Museum of Ceramics in Castelli);
- the Church of San Giovanni Battista, set in the main square of the town and dating back to the XVII century. Inside it is possible to admire a valuable majolica tiled altar piece representing Our Lady of Loreto, a XVII century altar surmounted by a painting of San Michele framed with tiles, and a XIII century polychromatic wooden sculpture, representing Saint Anne holding Saint Mary on her lap. This artwork comes from the destroyed St Salvatore's Abbey.
- the Church and the former Convent of San Francesco, dating back to the XVII century. Today the cloister frames the Museum of Ceramics.

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