Our history

Ours is the story of two distinct realities, both rooted in the territory of Faenza and voted to ceramic crafts. The stories of La Vecchia Faenza and Laura Silvagni join in 2004: since then continue the tradition of majolica side by side.

La Vecchia Faenza

The origins

Our story begins in 1967 in Via De Gasperi in Faenza, where a young entrepreneur, Gino Suzzi, opens the “Vecchia Faenza” workshop.
From the very beginning he specializes in the production of traditional ceramics of Faenza, when many of the workshops in those years were instead devoted to contemporary ceramics.

In the firsts years, the decorators of Vecchia Faenza are mainly young people coming out of the ceramic school, with some exceptions: for example, one of the first employees is a girl without experience, Laura Silvagni …

At the beginning there is a great demand for graffito ceramics, an ancient decorative technique (already known in prehistoric times!) Which consist in engraving the drawing on the layer of white clay, making it appear by contrast with the underlying layer of black clay.

In 1969, when we move the workshop to via Sant’Ippolito 23 / A (our current location), we begin to focus strongly on majolica, the technique that made Faenza famous throughout the world since the Renaissance Period.

In the 1970s the activity was extended to some tourist locations, like Garda Lake and Lido degli Estensi, where the customers are mainly German tourists.

The age of trade fairs

In 1978 La Vecchia Faenza participates at “Macef” an International fair in Milan: we are the first and only ceramists from Faenza. In the following years other Faenza craftsmen will follow our example. The good feedback obtained at Macef leads us to attend other fairs in Rome and Florence, as well as exhibitions in Europe and the United States. Our attendance to trade fairs continues in the 80s, a decade when La Vecchia Faenza has 13/14 employees.

From the ’90s to the Euro: big changes

The 1990s are a decade of great changes for La Vecchia Faenza. The commercial activity focuses on retail sales and in 1992 the workshop can be visited by customers, a choice much appreciated by foreign tourists and by ceramic enthusiasts in general.

In 2004 Gino Suzzi retires and sells the business to Laura Silvagni. Laura, already owner of the homonymous shop in Corso Garibaldi, faces the arrival of the Euro with optimism.

La Vecchia Faenza lands on the web

In 2008/2009, La Vecchia Faenza is looking for new opportunities to display and sell its artistic ceramics. The website www.lavecchiafaenza.it and the Facebook page open in 2010. Two years later, the e-commerce www.ceramicafaenza.it in online. Today our sites have become two important virtual showcases that interact and complete the offer of our shops in Via Sant’Ippolito and Corso Garibaldi.

In 2014, Laura and Gino’s daughter, Elisa, joins the business with the intention of continuing its production, always focused on the traditional Faenza technique and decorative styles.

Laura Silvagni

In 1977, after a decade as a decorator for La Vecchia Faenza, Laura Silvagni openes her own workshop. Her production of artistic ceramics immediately embraces the Raphaelesque style, a decorative style closer to painting that includes elements inspired by Raffaello Sanzio.

The ceramics, signed “Laura Silvagni”, feature rural landscapes, still lives and other scenes inspired by the works of important painters of the past. In the first years, Laura displays her works at trade fairs and events together with those of La Vecchia Faenza. They are immediately very successful and the her name as a ceramicist begins to be know in the field.

The year 1981 is pivotal for Laura: she starts a fruitful relationships with Giovanni Pretolani, a retired ceramist who saw Laura as his ideal student. Equipped with a boundless imagination, Pretolani creates numerous original drawings and reveals himself as a master in the technique of chiaroscuro, contributing to the technical and stylistic improvement of the pieces produced by Laura’s workshop. Their friendship and collaboration continues until 2004, when Giovanni Pretolani dies, at the age of 99!

In 1985 Laura opens the shop in Corso Garibaldi 12 / a, the current location, and she begins direct sales.

Laura Silvagni’s works have been donated, among others, to the Pope John Paul II and to the President of the Republic Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, as examples of high Italian artistic craftsmanship.

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