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In the Middle Ages Faenza was the crossroads between Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany, and the 15th century saw many Florentine artists working in town. In 1509, when the Papal States took control, Faenza became something of a backwater. It did, however, continue its 12th-century tradition of making top-quality ceramics. In the 16th century local artists created a color called bianchi di Faenza
("Faenza white"), which was wildly imitated and wildly desired all over Europe. The Frenchified faience, referring to the color and technique, soon entered the lexicon, where it remains to this day. In the central Piazza del Popolo, dozens of shops sell the native ceramic wares.