Collection · Italian Pottery

Collection #4: Italian Plates


Often, decorative plate collections end up on walls, and my kitchen is no exception. My love for all things Italian includes plates—26 on my kitchen walls and more in cupboards. Part of my collection was gifted to me by my cara amica, Janina. I painted a wall red just to show off the Sienese plates’ beauty.


The city of Siena is divided into districts (contrade) that compete against each other in the Palio—a twice-annual horse race that takes place in the Piazza Del Campo. Each contrade has its own flag with symbols and colors, which have been translated onto bellissimi plates.



Two examples of Palio plates using contrade symbols and colors: Pantera (panther) and Selva (forest with rhino).



I sat in the Piazza during a much quieter time to paint Palio flags, the Palazzo Pubblica, and Torre del Mangia (the yummy name is said to come from Giovanni di Balduccio, called ‘il mangiaguadagni’, who would often squander his earnings at the table. Sounds like my kinda guy.)



On a side note, here are the vase and cup and saucer that appear in my large oil painting.



Not all my plates are from Siena. This one is from Gubbio, known for distinct red and gold decoration. The remainder of my displayed collection hang from the soffits above my kitchen cabinets (not shown).



The “chandelier” I made out of strung plastic beads lights two smaller plates by the sink.



I dug into a cabinet and found this assortment of forgotten plates. Time to make deviled eggs.



I got my everyday Italian-made dishes long ago at Pottery Barn when it still primarily sold pottery. Bailey is not going to share my dinner.



Okay, so this isn’t an authentic Italian plate, but it captures my love of Looney Tunes and the Tasmanian Devil.


Buon appetito! Until next time, embrace your clutter.



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