I was very excited about my plans for the day, visiting the Museo Internazionale delle Ceramiche in Faenza. This International Ceramic Museum contains the largest collection of ceramics and is one of the most important ceramic museums in the world! It takes about four hours to see everything in this museum.
Even though I just arrived in Modena, I already had plans for Monday/Tuesday, did not want to leave my trip to Faenza for Wednesday, my last full day in Modena. I thought the trains might be even fuller on Sunday, when everyone would be returning from their holiday weekend trips, so that left Saturday. First though, breakfast!
Breakfast at my hotel was lovely. Each table was set with tiny sets of forks, spoons, and knives wrapped up in napkins.
Many options were offered, including cute little cups of fruit, little jars of yogurt, cheese, meats, cereals, cakes and pastries. Orange juice, water, as well as any type of coffee upon request was available. I mixed the cut up fruit with the yogurt and took a nectarine and some cheese for the train ride. (*Edited to add 2 more photos that I forgot I took of the breakfast choices at my hotel)
It was a 20 minute walk to the train station. When I arrived, there were long lines at the three ticket machines. I was lucky to grab a seat on the crowded train as there were people eventually standing in that little area between train cars. It was still the holiday weekend and this train was heading to Rimini. I sat with a very nice couple about my age from Milano. We talked about many things during the ride. They were going to see an art exhibit in the next town after my train stop.
Once in Faenza, I was pretty sure how to get to the ceramic museum, but I did not want to waste time getting lost, so I checked with a policeman outside the train station just to be sure. It was a 5-10 minute walk straight from the station.
This is the outside of the museum.
AND here’s the entrance!
This museum was HUGE!! I told the woman at the desk where you purchase your tickets that I read that this museum was so large that it takes hours to see everything and asked if it was possible to leave the museum for lunch and then return using the same entrance ticket. She said, of course! I told her that I was so excited to visit this museum, especially since I have been doing ceramics myself. She asked me if I was a member of some sort of ceramic group. I indicated that I was not. She gave me the 5 euro reduced rate anyways. I would have been happy to pay the full price of 8 euros. Definitely worth the cost of admission!
After two hours, I was only half way through the museum. I stopped for lunch, walked to the centro (historic center) for a peek, and then returned to the museum for 2 more hours and am not sure if I might have missed a few pieces. Towards the end of my visit, I kept commenting that I was amazed that there was yet another room to visit!
There was every type of ceramics imaginable in this museum, including: ancient ceramics from China, Japan, and Southeast Asia, an ancient islamic collection, a pre-Columbian collection, classical ceramics from the Mediterranean area, European ceramics from the 16th to 20th century, a collection of ceramics from the 14th to 16th century from Faenza, ceramics from Italian centers of the Renaissance era, Italian ceramics from the 17th to 19th century, Popular and Devotional ceramics, Ceramic floors and coverings between West and East from the Middle Ages to the Contemporary Age, a Modern and Contemporary section, and the 20th century International Sculpture.
It was difficult to photograph some of what I saw due to the reflections so my photos are not the best but I think they still show some pretty cool ceramics and the variety in this museum. Here are just some of the many photos I took during my visit to this incredible museum.
My visit to the Museo Internazionale delle Ceramiche was one of the highlights of my trip! I would encourage anyone with any interest at all in ceramics to visit this museum!
Now, for the rest of my day in Faenza…
In between my two visits to the museum, I ate lunch at La Baita Osteria, the same restaurant where I ate during my first trip to Faenza back in 2011. This time I ordered the tortelli alle ortiche con burro salato e salvia. Do you notice a theme happening with my meals in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy?
I originally just planned to make a quick visit to the centro (historic center) after lunch and then return to the ceramic museum, heading bak to the train station after that (since that made the best sense with the centro farther from the train station and the ceramic museum closer to the train station). That plan changed once I discovered a huge market taking place in the centro. I wanted to take a photos and the market blocked many of the views.
So, after I spent a couple more hours visiting the museum in the afternoon, I returned to the centro. I also found out when thanking the girl at the ceramic museum desk that there was a special event taking place this weekend in Faenza called Buongiorno Ceramica with demonstrations, activities, and displays happening all over Faenza.
I stopped in one little ceramic shop along the way back to the centro. The woman there directed me to another event down a side street she said I should not miss. There I talked with an older man who just finished throwing something on the wheel. Another woman there showed me her beautiful intricate ceramic lights she made that were hanging above (see the last 2 photos below). They also told me about two raku demonstrations that I should visit.
I took some photos back in the centro and stopped in the information center to pick up a map (even though I was able to navigate pretty well just using google maps). The woman in the info center pointed out a few other places I might want to visit where more ceramic displays were taking place
I spoke to a nice man in one of the ceramic shops. He was very excited to show me some work a Japanese woman was doing. Each of her pieces had a little house on it. There is a photo below of her work. I also stopped and spoke to a woman letting people glaze pieces to fire in her raku oven. She offered to let me glaze a piece but I did not have the time as it was getting late and I wanted to get back to Modena before dinner. She asked me to wait while she went into her shop. She returned with an owl she made and gave it to me as a gift! She was so kind!! My last stop was to see one more raku demonstration. I found a man giving a long explanation about his process, showing his glazes, talking about how he fires in the raku kiln, etc. I stayed for a while and then decided I better head back to the train station to catch the 5:36 train. That train would arrive back in Modena around 7 pm and I still had to do a 20 minute walk from there to return to the centro and my hotel. I was tired and did a lot of walking. I did not want to get back any later even though I could have stayed for hours longer to enjoy the wonderful ceramic atmosphere in Faenza. Below are photos of the centro, some ceramic signs, palio flags hanging above some of the streets, and a few ceramic displays.
I was pretty tired after a long day walking through the museum, walking around Faenza, the train ride back, and then another 20 minute walk back to my hotel. Instead of trying to figure out another place to eat for dinner, I decided to return to Taverna dei Servi since there were other things on that menu I still wanted to try.
The waiter and waitress and owner all greeted me warmly when I arrived. There also was another young man working as a waiter that evening. They were busy setting up a large table for a group with a reservation.
Not long after I arrived, a huge group of people (I assumed it was an extended family) arrived. I watched with amusement as they entered the restaurant, heading to their table set for them in the back of the restaurant. As each person walked by, the waiter and waitress from the night before greeted each person with a “Buona Sera” or “Sera” or “Salve” and the person would then respond back. Imagine 40 or these for 20 people. And then to end it all, the newer waiter walked by the two others (waiter/waitress) and said “Sera” as a joke. You probably had to be there, but I had to work hard at not laughing out loud. The family then spent the next 5-10 minutes trying to figure out where to sit. It was like a game of musical chairs. The funniest part was watching the waitress, who seemed to be in charge of handling the group, take a step towards the table and then a step back over and over, each time thinking they were settled and then they would get up and move to different chairs again. The whole thing was pretty amusing.
This is a photo of the third waiter. The big group was on the other side of me.It could have been when the waiter was coming in and being funny walking by also saying “Sera” as a joke. I regret not getting a photo of the waiter that waited on me as well as the waitress and the owner of the restaurant.
I can’t remember now if the appetizer I ordered was a burrata or bufala mozzarella appetizer. I did not write down the name. I also forgot to take a photo of it until after I already started eating it, so it’s not the best photo, but I do remember that it was delicious!!
I also ordered a salad and the grilled chicken. I did not take a photo of either of these courses. The salad was a salad and the chicken was very very good! Sadly, I was too full for dessert because I really wanted to try their mascarpone dessert.
After dinner, I walked back to Piazza Grande and took some photos, enjoying the beautiful evening in Modena. What a great day!!!