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Faenza, Italy: Celebrated for Ceramics, Culture and Cuisine 

Faenza is a charming, picturesque town located in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, renowned globally for its rich historical heritage, exceptional ceramics and tin-glazed pottery. Nestled between Bologna and Florence, Faenza offers a unique blend of ancient history and artistic tradition. Faenza (known in French as faience) has ancient origins, dating back to the Roman era. It was known as Faventia during Roman times. Faenza flourished during the medieval and Renaissance periods. Its historical importance is evident in the town’s architecture and cultural landmarks. 

Speaking about culture, the world-famous Museum of Ceramics or Museo Internazionale delle Ceramiche (MIC) stands as a testament to this heritage, housing a vast collection of ceramic art spanning various eras and regions. Local artisans continue the tradition of crafting exquisite ceramics and other handmade products. While on a recent visit, we were able to check out a local artisan, La Vecchia Faenza, which is a beautiful boutique that specializes in hand-painted ceramics. We were able to see a wide array of classically decorated items, from large to small, with intricate details. It was fascinating to visit their workshop and to even experience Laura Silvagni’s hand-painting techniques first-hand! La Vecchia Faenza was truly impressive! 

We were also able to visit some of the cultural landmarks, such as Piazza del Popolo and Piazza della Libertà, the heart and central square of Faenza, known for its beautiful arcades and historical buildings. We also saw the Cathedral of Faenza, which is a Renaissance-style cathedral designed by Giuliano da Maiano, featuring an impressive façade and a richly decorated interior. We would be remiss if we did not mention the spectacular Palazzo Milzetti. Palazzo Milzetti is a palace built in the 16th century and acquired by the Milzetti family back in 1602. This palace presents a splendid example of Neoclassical architecture, showcasing intricate frescoes and period furnishings.

In addition to the art and architecture, Faenza is a great place to wine and dine, boasting several Michelin star restaurants. Faenza’s surrounding vineyards, like Ronchi di Castelluccio and Poggio della Dogana, produce high-quality wines. We were able to partake in an exquisite wining and dining experience at Ristorante La Grotta. Ristorante La Grotta, in Brisighella is a culinary haven in the heart of Emilia-Romagna, Italy. Ristorante La Grotta is actually a cave restaurant, situated in a beautifully preserved old building, adding to the charm and authenticity of the dining experience. Ristorante La Grotta provided an excellent dining experience, showcasing the best of the region’s culinary traditions using the finest local ingredients. The tartare di manzo drizzled with Brisighella olive oil was absolutely outstanding! 

The experience was complemented by the company of Aldo and Paolo Rametta of Ronchi di Castelluccio and their wines. Sottovento di Castellucio Colli di Faenza DOC (2022) is made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc and Buco del Prete di Castellucio, Romagna Sangiovese Modigliana DOC is Sangiovese cru (Romagna clones). Both wines were from 40+ year old vines. Sottovento di Castellucio and Buco del Prete di Castellucio were ideal to pair with dinner.

Faenza is truly a treasure trove of art, culture and cuisine, offering a unique glimpse into Emilia-Romagna’s rich heritage through its remarkable ceramics and architectural marvels.

Planted, harvested and aged in NY. I have a background in education and marketing, with a love and passion for travel...and all things wine. In addition to writing about wine, I also maintain an online wine boutique (thewininghour.com) that caters to the winelover, as well as the weekly vinous winechat (#WiningHourChat) on Twitter (see page for more info).

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