Deruta is a hill town and comune in the Province of Perugia in the Umbria region of central Italy. Long known as a center of refined maiolica manufacture, Deruta remains known for its ceramics, which are exported worldwide.
Probably built upon Roman foundations, Deruta's name in its early variants (Ruto, Ruta, Rupta, Direpta and Diruta) all signify the “ruin” of this strategic site caused by the 6th-century Gothic War and the Lombard invasion. The Medieval commune that rose from these ruins had its own charter in the 13th century and was governed from its own Palazzo of the Consuls, but in fact Deruta has been under the dominion of neighboring Perugia since the 11th century, and has largely participated in Perugia's vicissitudes. The town's fortifications date from the 12th century, when it was an outpost in Perugia's marches, facing the rival town of Todi. In 1465, under a new agreement with Perugia, the magistrate sent from Perugia would govern with the consent of four local men of good character (quattro boni omini). The ravages of plague were so fierce at Deruta that rewalling in the later 15th century took in a smaller circuit to accommodate the reduced population. Besieged in 1408 during the confusion of the Papal Schism by the condottiere Braccio da Montone, and later heavily damaged by Cesare Borgia, Deruta was plundered by Braccio Baglioni, the master of Perugia. Thus in 1540, when the Papal forces of Pope Paul III ousted the Baglioni family from Perugia in the brief war over salt taxes locally called the "Salt War" (Guerra del Sale), Deruta sided with the papacy against Perugia, an alliance that gained it a reduction in taxes. With the papal reduction of Perugia, the region settled down to uneventful history as part of the Papal States.
The local clay was good for ceramics, whose production began in the Early Middle Ages, but found its artistic peak in the 15th and early 16th century, with highly characteristic local styles, such as the "Bella Donna" plates with conventional portraits of beauties, whose names appear on fluttering banderoles with flattering inscriptions. The lack of fuel enforced low firing temperatures, but from the beginning of the 16th century, Deruta compensated with its metallic lustre glazes in golds and ruby red. In the 16th century Deruta produced the so-called "Rafaellesque" ware, decorated with fine arabesques and grottesche on a fine white ground. Deruta, with Gubbio and Urbino, continues to produce some of the finest Italian maiolica.
The name "Italy" is shrouded in mystery; some etymologists trace it to a Greek word meaning "the land of young cattle."Italy was fond of Jupiter and Mars from the very start, Jupiter for fatherly good luck and Mars for war!But it all began with Rome. Rome was founded by Romulus and Remus who were sons of Rhea and Mars.The twins were abandoned at birth out of a fear that they would grow up and later overthrow Amelius, usurper of their grandfather's rightful throne.Wrongful mis-doings most foul! Treachery and sabotage!! HOW would these two blessed infants make their way in such a world?As it turns out, the twins didn't have to make their way very far, because one of them killed the other one and then they weren't twins anymore. But that happens later.First they got rescued by a she-wolf who suckled them with her milk and raised them as her own until they were discovered by the shepherd Faustulus.Faustulus fed them meat and bread and also raised them as his own until they were old enough to return to Amelius and hack him up as planned. They reinstated the grandfather Numitor to his rightful throne and went off to celebrate by starting a town of their own.They chose a hilly area where the mama wolf had saved them from certain death in the barren wilderness and began scouting locations.Romulus liked one hill. Remus liked another. The circle of crows like Romulus' hill, so Romulus killed Remus and named the town after himself. Thus Rome was born and Italy with it.Text by Steve Smith.