Faenza features attractions like the medieval Palazzo del Podestà, the neoclassical Palazzo Milzetti and the Tuscan-style Cathedral, which is one of the highest expressions of Renaissance art in the region of Emilia Romagna, where this lovely town is located.
But above all, Faenza is famous for the ancient and sublime art of ceramics, in particular of the maiolica tin-glazed pottery (also spelled majolica). At every corner of the town there are traditional artisans' shops that often include workshops where the crafts are created by hand.
Over 60 of these 'botteghe', or workshops, have obtained a quality label from Italian authorities recognizing that the crafts are created according to techniques, shapes, decorations and styles that reflect the historic heritage of the faience tradition.
Faenza also hosts one of the most important museums in the world dedicated to the art of ceramics: the Museo Internazionale delle Ceramiche (MIC) was founded in 1908 and grew steadily under the guidance of Gaetano Ballardini. During the war in 1944 it was almost completely destroyed when a bomb caused terrible losses to its building and collections. The museum was rebuilt and reaffirmed its reputation thanks to the local community as well as national and international support.
Among the many collections that you can admire when visiting the MIC are: Italian maiolica from the 14th century all the way to modern and contemporary crafts; 20th-century European ceramics including works by Picasso and Matisse; pre-colombian pottery from South America; Mediterranean artwork from the Bronze Ages and Hellenistic times; and even ancient Islamic and Asian ceramics.
Visitors who wish to combine theory and practice can participate in the pottery lessons that are organized by the MIC and occasionally by local artisan shops: a great and fun way to challenge themselves in creating their own maiolica artwork!