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Arts and Crafts of Citta di Castello

Umbrian Fabric Workshop

Following a tour of Gubbio and a morning truffle hunting, our final afternoon of our TBU post conference trip was spent in the small town of Citta di Castello in the far north of Umbria.

The aim of the afternoon was to highlight the arts and crafts of the town so off we set for what turned out to be a busy afternoon.

The Burri Collection of Citta di Castello

Alberto Burri was one of the major leaders of contemporary art and found his home in the town. Since 1990 some of his work has been displayed in a former tobacco drying factory on the outskirts.

I just don't get some art and Burri's paintings are prime examples. For me an image has to be of something, something I can recognise to such as a person or landscape. I think that's why I love looking at photos, they are real and tell a story.

A photo of people in their daily life speaks more to me than the canvases of Burri's black period. One room was dedicated to paintings created with different shades of black hanging on a wall painted, yep you guessed it, black.

Of more interest was the building itself. Hanging from the ceiling were long hooks that presumably held the lengths of tobacco in its former life. There was no time to ask more about its history as we were whisked away to our next destination.

Umbrian Fabric Workshop

Housed on the first floor of the Palazzo Tommasini ex Bourbon del Monte in Citta di Castello, Tela Umbria is a working workshop still producing fabrics in the way it did at the beginning of the 1900s.

The two rooms hold several double looms and the ladies who work there showed us the meticulous process that goes into each piece of work.

It seemed a long and arduous process to produce each product so I have a lot of respect for them and it was good to see that the company have kept up the tradition of using hand driven looms.

The fabric workshop was a little more interesting than the Burri gallery but our final stop of the day was my favourite by far.

Graphic Arts Museum - Grifani-Donati Typographer

Being a web developer/designer I love seeing graphic art put together, whether it be by modern ways of the web or the old-fashioned way of printing by hand.

From the moment we walked up the long, long, long flight of stairs to the museum and through the door my eyes were everywhere. Stencils, lettering and machinery were scattered about the place. Open tins of paint stood on a cupboard that stored paper whilst fresh prints were hanging from the ceiling.

As a worker showed the process of printing an image of a town scene on one of the huge printing presses my eye was caught by a stack of wedding invitations ready for delivery. Each one was delicately made by hand and despite the amazing quality it was nice to know that each card was different from the next, whether it was the amount of ink or the positioning of the names.

Unfortunately we didn't get to see much of the actual town of Citta di Castello and we were pretty rushed throughout the afternoon but if you're into your arts and crafts then maybe this is the town for you.

Have you been to Citta di Castello? Do you like contemporary art? What am I missing? Whats arts and crafts are you into?

Our tour  was provided by the Umbria Region Tourism Board but as always the views are my own.