Castelli, Province of Teramo, Abruzzo

Castelli This small village, rising on a rock dominated by Mount Camicia between the rivers Rio and Leomogna, is a favourite destinations for tourists and art lovers. It hosts an Art Institute and a Ceramics Museum. For its position, it is the starting point for climbing the Eastern side of the Gran Sasso.


  • Altitude: 500 m a.s.l
  • Distance from Teramo: 40 km
  • Population: ca. 1600 inhabitants
  • Postal code: 64041
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0861
  • Frazioni: Acquaviva-Bivio Villa Rossi, Casette, Colledoro, Loricco, Morricone, Palombara, San Donato, San Salvatore, Santa Maria della Neve, Villa Colli, Villa Rossi
  • How to reach it: by road, Km 10 from A24.


Known since pre-Roman times, in the XI century flourished under the influence of the Benedictine Abeey of San Salvatore, whose monks introduced the local population to ceramics. This art then achieved world stature from the XVI century onwards, with such masters as the Grue brothers and Gentili and Pompei families. Noble families of the time like the Aragona, Orsini, Farnese and others of the day commissioned their everyday and most elegant dinner services from the Castelli ceramists. At least eleven families collaborated together. The richest and most important of these was the Pompei family, creators of the famous "Orsini-Colonna" collection commissioned to celebrate peace made between the two families. They also created part of the "Farnese tableware" with the famous "turchine" in gold. These families were authentic industries organized into sections from the search for clay, wood and other materials to the kneading, lathing and the first baking, finishing with the painting. Together with the production there was the commercial side which was controlled by different members of the family. They supervised all the operations necessary to participate in fairs and markets.

What to see

  • The Art Institute, with a collection of contemporary ceramics and a huge ceramics crib.
  • The Museo delle ceramiche, situated in the cloister of an ancient convent just outside the town where display boards show the working methods and fragments discovered during archeological research.
  • The church of San Giovanni Battista, early XVII century, with a XII-century wooden statue of St. Anne and XVII-century ceramics works.
  • The church of San Rocco, at the entrance to the village, with a fresco by Andrea Delitio.
  • The church of San Donato, 1 kilometer from the town, an the ancient icona (as small churches were once called) with XV-century floor and ceiling entirely decorated with sixteenth century polychrome bricks with coats-of-arms, arabesques, human figures and animals painted on ceramic.
  • The Bosco di Pietralunga.
  • The Colle dei Cavatori.

Events and Festivities

  • 15 August: Lancio del piatto on the river Leomogna, a traditional popular game.
  • 1-31 August: "August a Castelli", a Market Fair of traditional ceramics along the streets of the village.

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