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Deruta ceramics - buyer beware

Old Oct 30th, 2004, 10:36 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Dec 2003
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Deruta ceramics - buyer beware

I just returned home from another trip to Umbria/Tuscany and feel that I need to share my experience, as I've read so much useful advice on this site.
While in Deruta, I made purchases in three shops, and probably looked in about 10. All were the ones on the main street at the bottom of the town. (I've read that in the city center, up on the hill, the quality/prices are higher.) The positive first: I found the quality in Ubaldo Grazia, Via Tiberina 181, to be very good, with prices slightly higher than the other stores. Also, this store had by far the most variety and best selection of any store. I ended up purchasing several pieces and will wait 6 months for the rest to be made and shipped to me. The salesperson was very helpful and courteous.
Now, on to the not-so-positive experience.
While I bought items in both di Nicolini/La Bottega del Vasai and Cavallini, I do not recommend either of these, nor will I ever shop at either again. First and least importantly, neither were very helpful or pleasant. (I live in Italy now and understand that customer service here is not what we expect in the United States.)One piece of advice: don't shop when it's getting dark, unless you bring your own source of light. We found many of the shops to be poorly lit and we were unable to see the pieces well. Both my husband and I have 20/20 vision. When I got one of the Cavallini piece home, I realized there were fine but long cracks covering the bottom that I had not noticed in the store. The owner insisted I pay cash, because he was giving me such a good deal.
At di Nicolini/La Bottega del Vasai, the woman twice added the total incorrectly, and each time I corrected her. When I gave her my credit card, she handed it to the male employee and told him yet another (higher) amount to charge. I quickly told her that we agreed to another price and she held her hands up, shook her head, but finally agreed. The quality wasn't nearly what it was in Grazia and I felt like I was dealing with a less-than honest person.
I feel much wiser now, but slightly disappointed, as most of my purchases were for gifts and the cracked one certainly is not in any condition to give.
Hope this helps someone shopping Deruta for the first time. In spite of everything, I had a fun time looking at all the different patterns and designs. The only store, at the bottom of the hill, that I can recommend wholeheartedly is Grazia. It was amazing to see all of the patterns and designs.
elisequinn is offline  
Old Oct 30th, 2004, 10:47 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,134
Good advice, thanks. Yes, that ole' "surprised" throwing up the hands routine, I have seen it often. Seems like they think it is an easy way to make tourists back down, I'm glad you didn't.

Tell us more about your trip!
SeaUrchin is offline  
Old Oct 30th, 2004, 10:49 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 422
I shopped at Cavallini when I went to Deruta a few years ago - the owner gave me a great deal because I paid him in American dollars. I have been very pleased with my pieces as one of the platters is a feature in my kitchen.
Could the piece have cracked in transit on the way home?
I did notice a great deal of discrepency in quality when shopping the different shops. The day we were there we were practically the only ones in the town...it was the middle of the summer and not a soul around - I wondered how they stayed in business.
Thanks for your warnings.
4totravel is offline  
Old Oct 30th, 2004, 10:00 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
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I have shopped in Deruta many many(too many)times. There is a huge difference between all the different stores, but usually the cheeper things are also the lesser quality, and in some cases, that works just fine at home. Of the nicer factories/stores, I think that Grazia does have the most varied selection, from the very old patterns to the very modern abstract patterns and everything in between. I have found them a bit gruff, but have always been happy with my purchases. I also buy from Camma, they are a small family owned business, beautiful dinnerware, fluent in English and they couldn't be nicer. Another good choice, moderately priced, better than average quality is Peccetti. I have had things shipped from all three stores with no problems.
susanna is offline  
Old Nov 23rd, 2006, 12:30 PM
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Join Date: May 2005
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saving for future
ekscrunchy is offline  
Old Mar 6th, 2007, 01:33 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2007
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Can I get much shopping done in a couple of hours. I am sure I will be the only one in our family who will be seriously interested in pottery shopping. I plan on stopping through on our way from Rome to Assisi. Want to have all afternoon in Assisi before heading to Florence for the evening.

Thanks
ChanB is offline  
Old Mar 6th, 2007, 02:26 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 497
I had a wonderful exoperience with U.Grazia. All of the pieces they shipped to me arrived in perfect condition. My hotel advised me only to buy from them as they are so reputable.
SuQue is offline  
Old Mar 6th, 2007, 02:37 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2007
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I am hearing and seeing a lot of recommendations for U Grazia. I will check them out.
ChanB is offline  
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