Arlecchini from Montelupo

It's time to talk about the Arlecchini di Montelupo, important decorations for the history of Montelupo pottery.
These classic decorations aren't so common in the modern pottery, since they request lot of imagination and skill. As a matter of fact most of the designs are created by the artist directly on the pottery.

The story of Arlecchini

The first Arlecchino dates back to late 1500 and where made for the first time by the friars of the Church of San Quirico of Alcantara located in the surroundings of Montelupo. At that time Montelupo was an important pottery center renowned all around the world. Spanish soldiers used to come to stop in Montelupo while traveling to Florence.
The soldiers looked funny in their armors to the friars and inhabitants of Montelupo with their large and puffing pants and they were also called "bravacci" or "mustacchi", because they used to take away all people that got the terrible plague.

So the friars of San Quirico decided to depict them in a funny way to make fun of them. They created a sort of comic strips depicting real life. They decorated plates with funny stories talking about what was happening in Montelupo at that time.

Every figure was different and had its own story. There is the knight fighting, the soldier drinking, the one riding and the one in love flirting with a lady. There are hundreds of different Arlecchini decorations!

Nowadays there are few workshops still making the Arlecchini, but we're one of them. As a matter of fact my father loves this subject and he creates and imagines hundreds of different stories. I think that in his entire life he made more than 500 hundred Arlecchini!


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