36 Hours in Taipei, Taiwan


To see all the destinations listed in this guide and other ceramic sites worldwide, check out CERAMIC WORLD DESTINATIONS (CWD), MoCA/NY's interactive map listing over 4,000 ceramic destinations!

Taipei Landscape - Photo Courtesy: Christina Liu

Taipei is the vibrant capital city of Taiwan, an enchanting island situated off the east coast of mainland China. With a tropical climate, the summers are hot and humid, while the winters remain mild. The island is home to a population of 23 million, and Mandarin Chinese is the official language. The local populace is known for its amiability, friendliness, politeness, and hospitality, with a significant portion of the younger generation proficient in English.

Pottery holds a special place in Taiwanese culture, seamlessly integrated into their tea culture. Taiwan's unique growing conditions contribute to the production of world-famous high mountain green teas, known for their bold and flavorful profile. 

Taiwan ceramics’ claim to fame could be that of Tatung ceramics which is one of the only remaining local ceramic production factories and known for their durable porcelain. If you ever visit a Chinese restaurant anywhere in the world, if you flip the plate upside down to peer underneath, chances are, it bears the Tatung logo.

Eslite Hotel - Photo Courtesy: Christina Liu

WHERE TO STAY

I highly recommend the Eslite Hotel, a masterpiece designed by the renowned Japanese architect Toyo Ito. Located in the heart of Taipei City, its central location allows for convenient travel in and around the area. The hotel complex includes the Eslite Spectrum Songyan Store, offering diverse shopping options and a variety of dining choices. Additionally, within the complex, you'll find the prestigious Eslite Gallery and Performing Center, showcasing fine art.

TRANSPORTATION

Navigating Taipei is a breeze with the efficient Metro Taipei subway system. I also suggest opting for taxis or Uber rides to explore the city with ease. The cost is budget-friendly, making it an economical choice compared to transportation expenses in many other countries.


DAY 1

Taipei 101, National Palace Museum, and Authentic Taiwanese Cuisine


10:00 AM

Breakfast

Begin your day with a delightful breakfast at the food court in the Eslite Spectrum Songyan Store, a 24-hour bookstore conveniently located right next door to the Eslite Hotel. Indulge in a wide array of authentic Taiwanese culinary delights.


For the dedicated foodies, you can also start your day with a traditional Taiwanese breakfast at Fu Hang Soy Milk. While there might be a line, it's a testament to its popularity, and rest assured, the queue moves swiftly.

11:00 AM

TAIPEI 101

Among the myriad attractions in Taiwan, Taipei 101 stands as an architectural marvel. Formerly the tallest building globally, it features a rapid elevator that transports visitors to a breathtaking

Taipei 101 - Photo Courtesy: Christina Liu

observatory. Enjoy the view and surroundings, and walk around the most extensive commercial district in Taipei. For those seeking a morning adventure, you can embark on a hike to Elephant Mountain, which is not far from Taipei 101. The trail primarily consists of a steep staircase, but the relatively short duration is well-rewarded with a breathtaking view of Taipei 101 and the city skyline.

Din Tai Fung - Photo Courtesy: Christina Liu

1:00 PM

Lunch at Din Tai Fung

On the ground floor of the Taipei 101 building, there is a Michelin-awarded restaurant called Din Tai Fung. Enjoy the world-famous soup dumpling for lunch. The signature pork soup dumpling, also known as the xiao long bao, is a must-order. The restaurant is very strict on their quality control and each dumpling is supposed to have 18 pleats and a perfect form or it will not be served. All the other variations of the dumplings are also quite tasty, including some vegetarian options. The pork chop fried rice is also a stunner with a whole slab of Taiwanese-style pork chop laid over fluffy fried rice. I recommend going to the hostess stand immediately upon arrival and getting a ticket for a table. If there is a wait, you can download the Din Tai Fung app to keep track of the numbering system while you browse around the Taipei 101 shopping mall. 

2:00 PM

National Palace Museum

Following lunch, opt for a taxi or Uber ride to the National Palace Museum,approximately 35 minutes away with a taxi fare of around 15 USD. The museum is renowned for housing invaluable ancient Chinese ceramics and precious paintings transported from Mainland China during the Civil War of 1949.

The museum houses nearly 700,000 artifacts and artworks, showcasing over 8,000 years of Chinese history. Their collection of paintings, calligraphy, ceramics, and rare books remains a poignant reminder of resilience and preservation. With its main building designed by Huang Baoyu, the museum stands as a beacon of cultural heritage and international collaboration.

In addition to its remarkable artifacts, the museum provides visitors with access to Zhishan Garden, a classical Chinese Song and Ming-style garden, as well as the preserved residence of renowned painter Chang Dai-chien.

National Palace Museum - Photo Courtesy: Christina Liu
National Palace Museum Collection - Photo Courtesy: Christina Liu
Golden Formosa - Photo Courtesy: Christina Liu

7:00 PM

Dinner at Golden Formosa

After spending a few hours walking around and looking at art, treat yourself to a wonderful and authentic Taiwanese dinner at Golden Formosa Taiwanese Cuisine, known for serving the most genuine and traditional Taiwanese dishes.

I would recommend the fried pork ribs and go with a group! Everything is served family style so the more people you can get together, the more dishes you can try. Reservations are also recommended.

10:00 PM

Night Out

For a clubbing vibe, FRANK Taipei features a rooftop area that boasts close-up views of Taipei 101 and is a nice area to escape to when you need some air from the indoor areas

CeLaVi is more of a lounge vibe on the top floor of a skyscraper in the Xinyi District but because of its proximity to Taipei 101, it provides a unique view of the 101 in which you are almost level with the usually towering building. 

Day 2

Museum, Theater, Galleries, and Dinner at the Night Market

Yingge Ceramics Museum - Photo Courtesy: Christina Liu

9:00 AM

Yingge Ceramics Museum

After breakfast, head to the Yingge Museum. In the outdoor spaces surrounding the museum, you can find numerous large-scale ceramic installations commissioned by the museum. On the second floor, the permanent exhibition explains the history of ceramics in Taiwan, from prehistoric ceramics to the future of high-tech ceramic applications. The gallery on the uppermost floor hosts many juried exhibitions, most notably, the Taiwan Ceramics Biennale, which features selected works from many international ceramic artists.

1:00 PM

Yingge Old Street Village

Following your morning art exploration, enjoy lunch at Yingge Old Street Village. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere, savoring exciting street food options, and explore local pottery shops for unique finds.

3:00 PM

See a Performance at Taipei Performing Arts Center or the National Theater

Taipei Performing Arts - Photo Courtesy: Christina Liu

Plan ahead of time and check the center’s schedule to enjoy a wonderful performance at the Taipei Performing Arts, which was designed by the Famous architect Rem Koolhaas. They organize a wide range of programs including various stage productions, workshops, talks, courses, tours, and activities for all ages. 

  • TIP: Note that Sundays and Mondays are often closure days, so plan your visit accordingly. 

The National Theater and National Concert Hall are twin performing arts venues at Liberty Square in Zhongzheng District, Taipei, Taiwan. Completed in 1987, the landmarks stand on the south and north sides of the square with Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall to the east.

The National Concert Hall features mostly classical music concerts, often with well-known international artists. If interested, you can check the online calendar to see if there are any concerts scheduled during your trip. Across the way from the National Concert Hall is the National Theater which has more opera and dance performances.

The National Theater and Concert Hall - Photo Courtesy: Christina Liu

If there are no scheduled performances during your visit, consider exploring and gallery-hopping around the vibrant art scene in Neihu. Within a 2km radius, you'll find numerous contemporary art galleries. Tao Art is one of the notable options worth exploring.

4:00 PM

Gallery Hopping

Tao Art Space - Photo Courtesy: Christina Liu

Tao Art Space

Tao Art Space, designed by Japanese architect Jun Aoki, combines Chinese classical garden elements with winding corridors. It also boasts its Song Dynasty ceramics collection, which frequently showcases and occasionally hosts ceramic exhibitions.

Tao Art Space - Photo Courtesy: Christina Liu
Tao Art Space - Photo Courtesy: Christina Liu

Double Square Gallery

Established in 2015, Taipei's Double Square Gallery focuses on art promotion, curation, publishing, research, and art collection. The name reflects the gallery's physical layout and conceptual values, emphasizing its commitment to redefining the role of galleries in the contemporary international art scene. 

Double Square Gallery - Photo Courtesy: Christina Liu

Tina Keng Gallery - Photo Courtesy: Christina Liu

TINA KENG GALLERY

Since its establishment in 2009, the Tina Keng Gallery has been dedicated to exploring the rich tapestry of Asian art, delving into its profound historical roots and vibrant modern aesthetics. Specializing in the nurturing of Taiwanese modern and contemporary art, the gallery continuously endeavors to showcase the diverse cultural expressions of the region. For current exhibitions, please visit their website.


WHITESTONE GALLERY

Whitestone Gallery boasts multiple locations across Asia. Established in 2017, its Taipei gallery stands as a dynamic architectural marvel. Overseen by the internationally acclaimed architect Kengo Kuma, renowned for his discerning aesthetics, the space is meticulously crafted to provide a fitting backdrop for contemporary art. Among the notable ceramic artists represented by the gallery is Miyako Terakura.

White Stone Gallery - Photo Courtesy: Christina Liu

Liang Gallery - Photo Courtesy: Christina Liu

LIANG GALLERY

Established in 1993 by Yu Yen-Liang and Claudia Chen, Liang Gallery is dedicated to showcasing the talent of Taiwanese modern artists. Located in Neihu Technology Park, the gallery specializes in modern abstract and contemporary art, hosting monthly exhibitions. Among its notable artists are ceramicists like Hsu Yunghsu. For information on their current exhibition, please visit their website.


7:00 PM

Night Market for Dinner

After immersing yourself in a performance or the vibrant Neihu art scene, head to the nearby Shilin Night Market. There, indulge in shopping and savor a diverse array of delicious Taiwanese street food. They are famous for their large fried chicken cutlets. There are competing stalls for the fried chicken but all of the options are tasty! 

Another option: For food enthusiasts, consider joining a Taipeieats guided tour through a night market. They'll lead you to the finest stalls for a taste of traditional street food delights.

Shilin Night Market - Photo Courtesy: Christina Liu

For a delightful evening of drinks and entertainment, Wonder.land is a fantastic destination nestled in the scenic Yangmingshan mountains, conveniently close to Shilin. Offering a selection of light bites and drinks, guests can enjoy the ambiance alongside an infinity pool and breathtaking sunset vistas. Operating hours are from 5 pm to 12 am.


Day 3

9:00 AM

Zhongzheng Memorial Park and Nanmen Market

Start your morning with a relaxing and nature-filled visit to the Zhongzheng Memorial Park, a vast park where you can enjoy the natural beauty of Taipei. After enjoying the peaceful nature, head towards Nanmen Market, which is located at the same MRT station as the Zhongzheng Memorial Park and was recently renovated. Many locals like to visit here before the Lunar New Year to stock up on supplies and New Year decorations. There are many stalls selling traditional Taiwanese dry goods and it could be a good place to see a variety of local fruits and produce and would be enticing to any gourmand. The most unique aspect of this market is that it is air-conditioned, unlike most traditional markets in Taiwan! There is also an indoor food court where you can have breakfast and sample Taiwanese dishes. 

CLC Studio - Photo Courtesy: Christina Liu

11:00 AM

Studio Visit to CLC - Christina Lui Ceramic Studio

CLC Christina Liu Ceramics - studio visit by appointment. Christina Liu’s ceramic works can be found in many Michelin-starred restaurants all over the globe, most notably at The French Laundry in Yountville, California. She set up her studio in Taipei in 2017 after graduating from the Royal College of Art in London. 

Although her work is deeply rooted in functionality, it’s not limited by it. She uses the forms of functional vessels as a starting point for her designs, but the results are never merely utilitarian plates or bowls. They are meant to be intricate objects that evoke a sense of luxury through the details and precision that become apparent while in use.

12:00 PM

Lunch at YongKang Street

YongKang Street is one subway stop from the Zhongzheng Memorial Park.  Discover the finest beef noodle soup at Yong Kang Beef Noodle and try Taroking for shaved ice and mango ice smoothies. The original Din Tai Fung location is also located in this area which could also be an option instead of the 101 location. For delectable scallion pancakes, bubble tea. There are also a few traditional tea houses offering high-quality Taiwanese Oolong tea, teapots, and pottery.

Yongkang Street - Photo Courtesy: Christina Liu

2:30 PM

Taipei Fine Art Museum

Taipei Fine Art Museum - Photo Courtesy: Christina Liu

The mission of the Taipei Fine Arts Museum is to preserve, research, and promote Taiwanese modern and contemporary art globally while fostering public understanding and participation. It organizes exhibitions, including the Taipei Biennial and the Taiwan Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, to expand cultural horizons and enhance international visibility. The museum collects and maintains works of Taiwanese modern art, preserving historical assets and shaping public memory. Through research, education, and awards, it supports artists and promotes cultural discernment in society. Creative marketing strategies offer immersive experiences, elevating visitors' artistic refinement and taste within a sophisticated cultural and recreational space.

4:30 PM

Afternoon tea at Hermit's Hut

Following your museum visit, indulge in afternoon tea at Hermit's Hut. The serene and zen ambiance, along with knowledgeable staff, offers an opportunity to explore traditional Chinese tea brewing. You can either have it expertly brewed or follow the provided instruction cards to conduct your own tea ceremony. Occasionally, the venue also hosts exhibitions, primarily showcasing ceramics, especially teaware.

Hertmit's Hut- Photo Courtesy: Christina Liu

6:30 PM

Dinner

Restaurant A - Photo Courtesy: Christina Liu

For dinner, two options are suggested:

Dine at Chu Yu for the finest Taiwanese Teppanyaki experience. The set menu, priced at around 70 USD per person, is a worthwhile investment, especially for seafood enthusiasts. Reservations are essential.

You can also opt for Restaurant A, where the dining space doubles as an art gallery featuring rotating displays by local artists. The restaurant exclusively utilizes locally crafted ceramic wares from Christina Liu Ceramics' studio in Taipei. Due to high demand, it's advisable to make reservations at least one month in advance.


To see our previous 36 Hours Guides, CLICK HERE.

To explore our extensive listings of galleries, museums, design stores, and other destinations in Japan, go to the CERAMIC WORLD DESTINATION MAP!

Contributors

Christina Liu

Before her master’s in ceramics and glass at the Royal College of Art in London, Christina Liu aspired to attend culinary school in Paris, fueled by a passion for food. However, after a transformative stint in a fine-dining restaurant in LA, she found her true calling in clay, merging her love for ceramics with gastronomy. Now, Christina creates bespoke tableware, drawing from the interplay between plated cuisine, vessel, and diner, inspired by both Western and Japanese culinary traditions.

Christina Liu's Website

Shida Kuo

SHIDA KUO, born in Taiwan, has resided in New York City since 1989. Holding a B.F.A. from National Taiwan Normal University and an M.A. from New York University, he also teaches at NYU's Department of Arts and Art Professions. His exhibitions span globally, from Nancy Margolis Gallery in New York to Eslite Gallery in Taiwan, Sokyo Gallery in Kyoto, and Fine Metal Concept in New York. Kuo's works are featured in prominent private and public collections worldwide, including the Ed Broida Collection in the USA, Centro Cultural Paraxo in Italy, and the National Taiwan Museum of Art.

Shida Kuo's WEBSITE

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36 Hours in Osaka, Japan



To see all the destinations listed in this guide and other ceramic sites worldwide, check out Ceramic World Destinations (CWD), MoCA/NY's interactive map listing over 4,000 destinations!


While Osaka may be renowned as 'Japan's Kitchen,' the city also holds great cultural significance and boasts a rich tradition in the arts. Its proximity to Kyoto, the ancient capital, and being the birthplace of Sado (the tea ceremony) further contribute to Osaka's artistic heritage.

Ceramics are collected and donated for public viewing, highlighting the role of passionate ceramic enthusiasts in preserving and sharing cultural treasures. These collectors, described as lovers of ceramics, have played a crucial role in assembling a diverse and extensive collection of ceramics for visitors to enjoy. Their dedication has allowed for the preservation and exhibition of ceramics, and the connection between the arts and ceramics adds depth to the cultural experience for visitors exploring Osaka's artistic landscape.

WHERE TO STAY

It's highly suggested to stay near Osaka/Umeda Station.

High-end accommodations: Conrad Osaka, InterContinental Osaka, The Ritz-Carlton, Hotel Hankyu International, and the Hilton Osaka. Mid-range options: Mitsui Garden Hotel Osaka Premier, ANA Crown Plaza Osaka, and Imperial Hotel Osaka. Hostels: Nine Hours Shin-Osaka Station, J-garden Shin-Osaka Capsule, Linda Hostel 106, Guesthouse U-En, Hotel the Rock.

TRANSPORTATION

Public transportation, train and bus, is the easiest and most affordable option for traveling around the city. Consider purchasing a prepaid Icoca card (a Suica or Pasmo card from Tokyo will also work). SUBWAY MAP

RESTAURANTS

To explore restaurant options, check out this comprehensive list published by Eater.


DAY 1

MUSEUMS, TEA CAFE & GALLERIES

10:00 AM - The Museum of Oriental Ceramics

Grab a coffee or breakfast at a nearby cafe and head to the Museum of Oriental Ceramics, where visitors can explore an extensive collection that goes beyond Japan. Noteworthy highlights of the collection include items from Korea and China from various periods, such as the Han, Ming, and Qing Dynasties. Additionally, the museum boasts a significant assortment of snuff bottles.  Korean celadon wares are divided into three distinct parts, showcasing the diversity and depth of the collection. 

While the museum is known for its traditional wares, it keeps pace with contemporary developments in the ceramic arts. Visitors may be pleasantly surprised to find special exhibitions featuring works by important modern ceramics artists, providing a dynamic and evolving perspective into the world of clay. This combination of traditional and modern elements make the museum a fascinating destination for enthusiasts and art lovers alike.

Photo courtesy: Zi-Han Hsu
Photo courtesy: Zi-Han Hsu
Photo courtesy: Zi-Han Hsu

11:30 AM - Nakanoshima Kosetsu Museum of Art

The Nakanoshima Kosetsu Museum of Art offers a unique experience, featuring a collection of privately collected tea wares from Mr. Ryohei Murayama, the founder of the Asahi Shimbun newspaper. This museum reflects Murayama's passion for art, showcasing not only Japanese tea wares but also works from other countries in East Asia.

Visitors can expect a diverse and comprehensive collection that goes beyond national boundaries. The inclusion of tea wares suggests a focus on the traditional aspects of East Asian culture, particularly to the tea ceremony, which holds significant cultural and artistic value.

Exploring this museum provides an opportunity to appreciate the convergence of art and tea culture, offering insights into the rich artistic traditions of Japan and its neighboring East Asian countries.

Photo courtesy: Kate Strachan and  private collections catalog
Photo courtesy: Kate Strachan and  private collections catalog

Photo courtesy: Kate Strachan and  private collections catalog
Photo courtesy: Kate Strachan and  private collections catalog

1:30 PM – Wad Café & Wad + Gallery 

Photo courtesy: Kate Strachan

Wad Café offers a delightful and immersive experience for its guests. The carefully selected décor creates an ambiance that promotes relaxation and enhances the enjoyment of conversations. The prospect of having to wait for a table adds to the anticipation, encouraging visitors to explore the adjacent gallery space on the 2nd and 3rd floors. The gallery space, accessible from the building behind Wad Café, provides a holistic artistic experience, combining the pleasure of tea with visual arts. 

The diverse assortment of tea choices caters to a broad range of preferences. The cafe also accommodates non-natives with an English menu. The mention of experiencing each tea differently implies a focus on the nuanced aspects of tea culture. Furthermore, the opportunity to select a tea bowl from Wad's display adds a personal touch to the tea-drinking experience. They also provide the option to choose sweets enhances the overall tea-drinking experience, making it not just a beverage but a sensory journey. This attention to detail in both ambiance and offerings makes Wad Café a promising destination for those seeking a unique and immersive tea experience.

Photo courtesy: Kate Strachan
Photo courtesy: Kate Strachan

The presence of contemporary ceramic artists exhibiting at Wad + Gallery indicates a dynamic and evolving space that embraces the latest trends and expressions in the world of ceramics. The emphasis on a well-curated display suggests a thoughtful and intentional approach to presenting the artwork, creating an environment that invites guests to engage with the pieces on a personal level.

Photo courtesy:  Han-Yun Liang

3:00 PM – Fujita Museum

The Fujita Museum is a treasure for art enthusiasts. Its status as a privately owned family collection, rooted in Denzaburo Fujita's passion for art, adds a personal dimension to the museum's history. The opportunity for visitors to explore the former family mansion, immersing themselves in the ever-evolving tea-ware collection, speaks to the museum's deep connection to both art and personal heritage.

The dimly lit exhibit room constructs a meticulously designed presentation that isolates each piece of art, encouraging focused attention and suggesting a curated and immersive environment. This setup allows visitors to engage with the tea-ware collection, highlighting the importance of each piece within the broader artistic experience.

Following a day immersed in art appreciation, the museum offers a thoughtful space for relaxation. The various options for guests to take a moment for themselves, be it in the tatami room, on the café's encircling steps, or at a seated table, introduce an additional layer. 

Photo courtesy: Kate Strachan
Photo courtesy: Kate Strachan
Photo courtesy: Kate Strachan
Photo courtesy: Kate Strachan

Photo courtesy: Kate Strachan

7:30 PM – RAURUAJI Gallery & Antique

The RAURAUJI Gallery offers a diverse and interesting blend of contemporary ceramic art and furniture antiques. The combination of these elements suggests an eclectic atmosphere, where traditional and modern aesthetics come together. This mix of mediums provides visitors with the opportunity to explore the intersection of different artistic expressions. Described as a place where one can casually "pop in" to view the current exhibit featuring tea-ware objects and figure sculptures, the gallery conveys a relaxed and accessible environment.


9 PM - Osaka Castle Main Tower (Osaka Castle Museum)

Consider a late night stroll around Osaka Castle, which is lit up with the Sakuya Lumina light display when the sun sets. With its roots tracing back to the Sengoku period, the castle has endured a rich history, witnessing battles, reconstruction, and pivotal events in Japanese history. It houses an ever-changing exhibition of cultural assets related to Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the Sengoku period, and Osaka Castle's history. 


DAY 2

MORE MUSEUMS & ARTIST STUDIOS

On the second day,  seize the opportunity to visit a local artist or continue along the path of exploring private collections housed in museums.

Photo courtesy: Yoshiko Naragino

10 AM - ARTIST STUDIO: Yoshiko Naragino

Yoshiko’s work consistently aims to express joy, vitality, and happiness through various creatures, events, and patterns, creating a larger-than-life fantasy that evokes familiar sceneries and stories. The size of the works requires viewers to look up, squat down, or move around, allowing for an immersive three-dimensional experience that emphasizes the weight and presence of the art.

Yoshiko Naragino Website

Photo courtesy: Yoshiko Naragino

11 AM - KATE STRACHAN

Kate Strachan is a transdisciplinary artist, who divides her time between Asia and the US.  Her clay work integrates various materials such as wax, wood and fiber to form manuscripts, sculpture, installation, and video art. Kate's work is viewed as a collection of both relics and texts conveying and preserving the routine of action, sexuality and silence. ​

Photo courtesy: Kate Strachan

1 PM - Japanese Folk Crafts Museum Osaka

Photo courtesy: Kate Strachan
Photo courtesy: Kate Strachan

The Japan Folk Crafts Museum Osaka, originally constructed as an exhibition hall, has undergone transformation and currently functions as the western base for the "Mingei Movement." Founded by Muneyoshi Yanagi, the Mingei Movement underscores the value of appreciating folk crafts and recognizing the beauty inherent in everyday, utilitarian objects.

Special exhibitions are held twice a year in the spring and fall, showcasing domestic and foreign folk art objects. The variety of folk-art objects, including ceramics, dyed and woven textiles, wood and lacquer works, and braided pieces, indicates a comprehensive approach to representing different aspects of traditional crafts.

The inclusion of commemorative lectures for each special exhibition adds an educational element to the museum's programming. 


3 PM - Itsuo Art Museum

The Itsuo Art Museum, dedicated to the memory of Kobayashi Ichizo (1873-1957), honors the legacy of Itsuo, a prominent figure renowned for his contributions to culture and art. Established in 1957, the museum boasts an extensive collection of 5,500 works of arts and crafts meticulously gathered by Itsuo throughout his lifetime. 

This remarkable collection reflects Itsuo's diverse interests and includes many prized gifts bestowed upon him by business associates. While photography is often restricted within museums, visitors have the opportunity to acquire well-printed catalogs, allowing them to take a piece of the collection home with them.

Photo courtesy: Kate Strachan
Photo courtesy: Kate Strachan

To explore our extensive listings of galleries, museums, design stores, and other destinations in Japan, go to the CERAMIC WORLD DESTINATION MAP!


CONTRIBUTOR

Kate Strachan is an interdisciplinary studio artist with a background in ceramics and fiber. She divides her time between Osaka and Philadelphia and has a rich artistic journey that includes an apprenticeship in Kanazawa, Japan, and studies at the Tainan National University of the Arts. 
Her recent accomplishments include receiving a grant from the Dutch government for the 2024 EKWC residency, winning NCECA's 2023 Emerging Artist Award, securing 3rd place for Blanc de Chine in 2021, and having her work selected for the New Taipei Yingge Ceramics Biennale in 2022.

Kate Strachan's Website

Want to see our next ceramic guide to a city? Taipei, Taiwan and Oxford, England are coming next!
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48 Hours in Çanakkale, Turkey


To see all the destinations listed in this guide and other ceramic sites worldwide, check out Ceramic World Destinations (CWD), MoCA/NY's interactive map listing over 4,000 destinations!


Interior of Mirrored Bazaar: photo courtesy: Yeliz Saydan

A BRIEF OVERVIEW: Çanakkale, Turkey

Located in the northwest of Turkey, Çanakkale is renowned as a stunning coastal town, distinguished among the many ceramic-rich towns in the country. Today, the city proudly preserves its vibrant ceramic heritage and historical legacy. Often referred to as the 'Potter's City,' Çanakkale embodies its rich past while embracing its present charm.

Çanakkale was originally an Ottoman fortress named Kale-i Sultaniye, meaning Fortress of the Sultan. Over time, it became renowned for its pottery, hence the later name 'Çanak Kalesi,' which translates to 'pottery fortress' from the words 'çanak' for ceramic bowl and 'kale' for fortress. From the late 17th century until about the first quarter of the 20th century, Çanakkale was a prominent center for ceramics production, creating works known for their distinctive forms and originality.

Situated on the Dardanelles Strait, one of the main water passages connecting the Aegean and Black Seas and separating the Asian and European sides, the city boasts a rich history and culture. It holds significance as the nearest major town to the ancient site of Troy.

Since ancient times, owing to the availability of suitable clays for pottery-making in its region, Çanakkale has emerged as one of the most important centres for ceramic production, both nationally and internationally, particularly in terms of exportation overseas. Ceramics originating from Çanakkale have brought considerable innovation to Anatolian Turkish ceramic art due to their distinctive styles, compositions, colours, and designs.

Çanakkale ceramics is a folk art that stands out with its simplicity, contrary to Iznik or Kütahya ceramics decorated with flamboyant patterns made for the palace. Animal figurines are a category of late Canakkale ceramics which are very popular among collectors. Horses, lions, and camels (standing or sitting), and fantastic birds, decorated with rosettes and painted with various colours, are offered as souvenirs to the sailors and travelers of the countless ships passing through Canakkale.

Designs are painted in purplish brown, orange, yellow, dark blue, and white under green, brown, oxide-yellow, and colorless glazes. Dishes are decorated with galleons, mortars, mosques, and dwellings as well as animal figures such as fish and birds. 

WHERE TO STAY

In this charming town, you will find various accommodation options according to your preferences. It is easy to find a comfortable place to stay in hotels or B&Bs on both sides of Çanakkale (Asian and European sides) that welcome guests with their cozy atmospheres. The most exclusive accommodation venues, such as Truva Hotel, Akol Hotel, Limani Hotel, Foreigners Hotel, and Kervansaray Hotel, located in the city center, will make you feel at home.

TIP: check this website for various accommodation options.

Canakkale view - photo courtesy: Yeliz Saydan

TRANSPORATION

Due to the small size of the city centre, you may not need to use transportation to visit the ceramic shops as most places are easily accessible on foot. However, if your accommodation is located far from the city center, you can take advantage of the public buses or rent smart scooters or bicycles provided by the municipal services.


DAY 1

Museum, Studios, and Sunsets by the Sea

Çanakkale Ceramic Museum - photo courtesy: Emre Erdoğan
Çanakkale Ceramic Museum interior - photo courtesy: Emre Erdoğan

10:00 AM – Çanakkale Ceramic Museum: 

The Çanakkale Ceramic Museum building was purchased by the Çanakkale Municipality from the Turkish Naval Force. This historical building, once a military bath, underwent restoration in 2013 through the municipality's long-standing efforts, transforming it into a ceramic museum showcasing prominent examples of traditional Çanakkale ceramics.

Within the museum, selected pieces from various collections are displayed, both temporarily and permanently, and the museum's studio produces replicas of original ceramics. Enthusiasts can visit and witness Çanakkale ceramics here, which not only reflects the taste of specific periods but also attract attention through their ethnographic diversity, quality, and creativity.

You can also view temporary exhibitions on the upper floor of the museum, and in the souvenir section on the lower floor, you have the opportunity to purchase commemorative ceramic products to take with you.

Finally, end the tour by spending some time in the garden venue, filled with the smell of history, which will make it an unforgettable experience.

  • The museum is open every day except Mondays, with free admission.

11:00 AM – Ergun Arda’s studio (Baba Ceramic Studio): 

At the Studio BABA, located next to the Çanakkale Ceramic Museum, you can witness Ergün ARDA's modern interpretations of traditional Çanakkale ceramics. Additionally, you can engage in enlightening conversations about ceramics and art with Mr./Dr. Arda, who serves as an academic lecturer at the city university.

Plate by Baba Studio - photo courtesy: Baba Studio
Ergun Arda by Baba Studio- photo courtesy: Baba Studio
Baba-Studio
Baba Studio - photo courtesy: Baba Studio

12:00 PM – Burak CIFTCI Studio (Canakci Ceramic Studio)

You'll transport through time when you explore the traditional ceramics produced by Burak Çiftçi at his workshop just ahead of the city centre. Mr. Çiftçi, a ceramic artist and potter from Çanakkale, demonstrates great mastery in creating replicas of traditional ceramics, a skill he has specialized for years.

His pottery mirrors traditional ceramics in form, color, decoration, and texture, earning a place in the collections of many enthusiasts.

1:00 PM – Golf Family Tea Garden and Relax with a View of Dardanelles:

After your first day of touring ceramics, you can unwind by the sea. As you reach the seaside in the northern part of the city, you'll find a family-friendly spot to have some drinks. In this beautiful place, you can enjoy the view of the Dardanelles while sipping on Turkish coffee or tea.

6:00 PM – Gergedan Bar and Sunset

The sunsets in the westernmost part of Turkey, are undoubtedly indescribable. From the rooftop of Gergedan Bar, you can sip your drink and relieve the tiredness of the day.


7:30 PM – Limani Restaurant:

For those who prefer a quieter dining experience, have dinner at the Limani Restuarant which offers a variety. This place is located by the seaside, near Gestas Dock, and also features a hotel on the upper floor, making it a viable option for accommodation as well. 


DAY 2

Gallery, Museum, and a Ferry Ride to Kilitbahir Castel

10:00 am – Çanakkale Art Gallery:

You can start your second day from the Çanakkale Art Gallery, which is often referred to as Madame Kety's mansion. Facing the Canakkale Strait, the gallery, managed by the City Cultural Directorate of Canakkale, hosts periodic exhibitions throughout the year. This historical venue not only accommodates various art events but also showcases works by local and foreign ceramic artists. 

11:00 AM – Çanakkale City Museum and Archive

At the corner of Fetvane Street merging into Carsi Street, opposite Yali Mosque, you’ll see Çanakkale City Museum and Archive which opened its doors to visitors in 2009. The ground floor of this two-story building hosts temporary exhibitions, typically changing every two months.

The first floor comprises two interlocking sections. In the initial section, information boards detail Çanakkale's Ancient Periods, the Ottoman Period, and the First World War. This section also displays donated objects from the Çanakkale War in compartments along the wall. The second section serves as the primary exhibition space, featuring informational boards with texts and visuals covering various aspects of the city.

On the second floor, visitors can access the city archive and library, and see their collection of Çanakkale ceramics. For those eager to delve into the history of Çanakkale city, this museum offers a wonderful exploration.

  • The museum is open every day except Mondays, with free admission.

1:00 PM – Kilitbahir Tour and Kilitbahir Castel

This charming village, steeped in tourism and history, is easily accessible via a ferry ride from the city center, offering the experience of seeing Çanakkale from the European side. Known as the 'Lock of the Sea,' this village marks one of the intersection points between Europe and Asia. Here stands the sole remaining castle, located at the heart of the city.

These castles, constructed during the Ottoman period by Fatih Sultan Mehmed, hold significant military and strategic importance. Today, this location serves as an attractive travel destination, inviting tourists to breathe in the scent of history.

On this tour, you'll have the opportunity to explore the castle's interiors and exteriors and take a short tour around the hills of Kilitbahir village, where small ceramic selling points await your visit.

Also, enjoy a unique street delicacy, fish bread, as your lunch in Kilitbahir village.

  • Kilitbahir Castel is open every day except Mondays, with an entrance fee.
  • Click here to view Gestas ferry round trip schedule

7:00 PM – Dinner at Yalova Restaurant

As you return to the Canakkale city centre, prepare yourself for an evening feast. Indulge in the exquisite dining experience at Yalova restaurant, an incredible culinary destination in Canakkale known for its gourmet delicacies and seafood. You can also enjoy a seaside view if you prefer a table outside. The restaurant is located close to the ferry dock, along the city's southern coastline.


Day 3

A Visit to Cimenlik Castel, Ceramic Studios, and a Bazaar

10:00 am – Cimenlik Castel and Naval Museum Tour

Enjoy your morning exploring Cimenlik Castle and the Naval Museum located on the Canakkale side of the castles. This castle was ordered to be constructed by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1452. It now operates as a small military museum featuring exhibits on the Gallipoli battles and some war relics.

Sakirs Place - photo courtesy: Yeliz Saydan

12:00 PM – Sakir’s Place (Sakir’in Yeri) and a view of the Dardanelles

Sakir’s Place holds nostalgic value for anyone who spent their childhood in Çanakkale. It's the perfect spot to enjoy freshly brewed Turkish tea while observing the ships sailing in and out of the Dardanelles.

1:00 pm – Lunch at Dardanelle -  I Love Fish

Surrounding the historic clock tower square, you'll discover a great selection of dining and drinking options. Among them is 'I Love Fish,' located directly across from the tower. 'I Love Fish' is an initiative by Dardanel, one of Turkey's most important canned food and seafood companies. Here, you can choose from a diverse menu, ranging from seafood fast food to sushi, and experience the love of fish.

photo courtesy: Yeliz Saydan

2:30 pm – Ceramists’ Street visit

Prepare for an intergenerational experience as you witness the tradition of establishing ateliers next to the castle, a practice dating back to the Ottoman period, which continues to thrive today. Many workshops in the Fevzipasa District welcome ceramic enthusiasts, continuing their production and offerings. Here are some notable examples:


Adem Yavuz: photo courtesy: Yeliz Saydan

4 PM: GAK (Adem YAVUZ)

Adem Yavuz, known for producing some of the most original ceramics in the city, has infused pop art elements into his creations. His postmodern ceramics feature a combination of life mottos and depictions from our surroundings, hand-drawn by Yavuz and transferred onto the ceramics.

We guarantee that sipping coffee from one of these cups will bring a smile to your face. You can also commission Yavuz to engrave personalized expressions onto his ceramics.

GAK studio - photo courtesy: Gak Studio
GAK Studio - photo courtesy: Gak Studio
GAK Studio - photo courtesy: Gak Studio

Ilter Ozyildirim: photo courtesy: Yeliz Saydan

5:00 PM: Muddy Sweet Ceramics

The workshop owned by Ilter and Burcu Ozyildirim, two prominent ceramicists in Çanakkale, produces ceramics that push the boundaries of creativity. Their workshop features a wide array of fun figurines alongside iconized products. Offering pleasure, fun, and childlike excitement together, the Ozyildirim couple also organizes workshops for those interested.

Muddy Street Studio - photo courtesy: Muddy Street Studio

5:30 PM – Aynali Carsi (Mirrored Baazar)

This covered 'bedesten,' which has been the subject of local songs of Canakkale, stands as a significant icon of the city. Formerly known as Canakcilar Pazari (Potters' Market), it resembles a miniature version of Istanbul's Grand Bazaar. Today, it's said that only the entrance gate of the Mirrored Bazaar, situated on Carsi Street in the heart of Canakkale, remains in its original state. Following restoration by the Canakkale Municipality, this bazaar has gained further popularity.

Interior of Mirrored Bazaar: Yeliz Saydan

Here,  you can discover a wide array of spices, local products, and an extensive range of rich souvenir options. Enjoy the tradesmen's conversations in the bazaar, where you will spend time visiting small workshops and ceramic sales points.

Apart from a few boutique ceramic studios, some shops operate on a wholesale basis. Ceramics such as mugs, pots, magnets, and various products come from different production ateliers around Çanakkale and many nearby towns and provinces. These shops are mostly engaged in artisan trade.


Ayse Kunelgin: photo courtesy: Yeliz Saydan

6:00 pm – Studio visit Ayse Kunelgin (Kepenek Ceramic Studio)

Ayse Kunelgin, a prominent ceramicist in Canakkale, has run her workshop at the entrance of Yali Inn for over twenty years. This significant workshop, the product of long effort and patience, is one of the pioneering establishments among the new generation of artists in Canakkale.

Kepenek Studio - photo courtesy: Yeliz Saydan

You'll find symbols of the city—cats, horses, birds, and various herbal forms—created as decorative trinkets.

Kepenek Ceramics: photo courtesy: Yeliz Saydan

6:30 pm – Yali Hani or Han Kahvesi (Yali Inn)

Since 1889, this historical venue, also known as the passenger inn of Canakkale, has welcomed travelers for centuries. Notably, it stands as Turkey's only double-covered inn, featuring front and back doors, making it a cherished social hub in the city. Nowadays, it is a meeting point where people of all ages, especially youngsters, are regulars.

Aside from the Han Coffee House, which offers cold and hot beverages, Yali Inn boasts bars, ateliers, and boutique shops, creating a delightful and cozy atmosphere where intellectual activities often take place. Even if you choose to sit alone, you'll soon find yourself engaging in social interactions, and who knows how many people you will meet to make lasting friendships.

Yali Inn - photo courtesy: Yeliz Saydan
Yali Inn back entrence: photo courtesy: Yeliz Saydan

8:00 pm – Dinner at Mor Salkim Meyhanesi and Fun Times at Barlar Sokagi

On your final evening in Çanakkale, indulge in traditional Turkish appetizers (meze) and salads while savoring Turkish raki at Mor Salkim Meyhanesi. Located on Bar Street, the city's liveliest street, this restaurant offers a pleasant dining experience. Following dinner, enjoy the colorful world of Bar Street.


DAY 4

Excursions to Significant Sites

9:00 am – Troia Ancient Side

To reach the museum, located 30 km away from the town, aside from renting a car, you can opt for public minibusses. The minibusses to Troia depart from the shelter station, providing services every half hour, and will take you directly to the Troia Ancient Site in Tevfikiye village. From here, you can first start your tour by visiting Troia Ancient City, then explore the Troia Museum.

The Ancient City of Troia, renowned as the battleground of the Trojan War mentioned in Homer's Iliad, was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1998. Dating back to 3000 BC, it stands as one of the world's most famous archaeological sites. Ongoing excavations since 1871 have revealed the city's history of construction and destruction across numerous layers. These excavations unearthed forty-two building layers and nine city layers, unveiling a theater, baths, various artifacts, an advanced sewage system, and building foundations. Today, archaeological efforts continue under Canakkale 18 Mart University. The Troia Museum houses some of the most remarkable discoveries from these excavations, offering visitors the chance to witness these outstanding examples firsthand.

Troia Museum outer view - photo courtesy: Yeliz Saydan

11:00 AM – Troia Museum

Opened in 2018 to visitors, the museum building is located at the entrance of the Ancient City of Troy in Tevfikiye Village, operating as a unit of the Canakkale Museum Directorate. The construction of the Troy Museum began in 2013 following the National Architectural Project Competition with Free Participation and Single Stage.

At the Troy Museum, visitors delve into the life, cultures, and archaeological history of Troy, which left its marks on the Troas Region and is renowned for Homer's Iliad Epic. This narrative unfolds through artifacts from the excavations.

While visiting the museum, visitors follow a story divided into seven sections: Archaeology of Troad Region, Bronze Age of Troy, Iliad Epic and Troian War, Troas, and Ilion in Antiquity, Eastern Roman and Ottoman Period, History of Archaeology, Traces of Troy. Enjoy seeing the antique ceramics excavated from each layer.

Troia Museum interior view: photo courtesy: Yeliz Saydan
Troia Museum interior view - photo courtesy: Yeliz Saydan
Troia Museum ceramic foundings - photo courtesy: Yeliz Saydan
Troia Museum ceramic foundings - photo courtesy: Yeliz Saydan

12:30 PM – Tevfikiye Archeo-Village

Tevfikiye, one of the villages in the centre of Canakkale, is known for its villagers who have been supporting the excavations since the time of Schliemann. For this reason, an archeo-village project was designed to give the village a touristic identity. In this project, a story was created within the village based on three main components of Troia. They aim to create a sustainable creative interaction ground between Çanakkale city centre and Troia, Tevfikiye Archeo-Village, and to highlight Tevfikiye Archeo-Village as a living cultural area which is identified with Troia in the national and international arena.

Tevfikiye Archeo Village - photo courtesy: Yeliz Saydan

2:30 PM –  After the Troy tour, you have two options to consider for the last day:

1. Assos

Assos Athena Temple - photo courtesy: Yeliz Saydan

Enter the world that is the Anatolian equivalent of the Antique Greek period. Founded by the Ancient Greeks around the 7th century BC, the city of Assos is crowned with an impressive temple dedicated to the Goddess Athena. Although the temple has limited remnants, it stands as the sole Doric example in the Anatolian region.

Among the sights to explore in Assos are the remarkable ancient city walls, a Hellenic city gateway with two massive towers, a Roman theater, a gymnasium, an agora, and the necropolis (cemetery).

Assos - Behramkale - photo courtesy: Yeliz Saydan

The town also features structures from other periods, including an Ottoman-era mosque and fortress dating back to the 14th century. Excavations at the archaeological site are carried out in cooperation with Canakkale 18 Mart University and the American Institute.

Wandering through the narrow streets of the village, you’ll lose yourself in the historical ambiance, encountering various art galleries, ceramic and glass studios, and souvenir shops.

Assos local shop: photo courtesy: Yeliz Saydan

After taking a walk on the Aristotle Road, you can climb to the temple of Athena to salute the sun and complete the day. During the summer season, don’t forget to swim in the beautiful bays and dive into the azure blues.

  • To reach Assos by car from the Canakkale-Izmir Road, follow the signs south to Ayvacik and then proceed along the scenic road leading to Assos/Behramkale.
Assos Ancient Harbor - photo courtesy: Yeliz Saydan

2. Bozcaada

Bozcaada Castel - photo courtesy: Yeliz Saydan

This triangular-shaped island, measuring approximately 5-6 km on each side, lies 5 km from the Turkish mainland. Accessible by ferry from Geyikli district dock, the tiny island welcomes visitors with its castle amidst the deep blue waters.

Known as Tenedos in Greek, Bozcaada is a small Aegean Island, considered the more charming of the two islands in Canakkale. It has a different climate from its surroundings, a clean sea, and a unique lifestyle.

The famous Greek poet Homeros once said, 'God created Bozcaada so that people would live long.'

According to mythology, Poseidon's grandson Tenes was thrown into the sea in a wooden chest and washed ashore at  Leucophrye. Climbing the island slopes, Tenes settled there and cultivated grapes from wild vines, making viticulture and wine production the symbols of Tenedos for over 3000 years.

Bozcaada city - photo courtesy: Yeliz Saydan

Bozcaada's population has undergone frequent changes due to invasions, migrations, and wars throughout history. After the 1500s, under Ottoman rule, Turks and Greeks fostered a rich common culture. However, starting in the 1960s with the forced migration of the Greek population, viticulture and wine production disintegrated. In the last decade, many efforts have been made to revitalize this old local culture.

Additionally, the island is focused on handicraft production and has become a thriving tourist destination, attracting the interest of both local and foreign visitors. Besides numerous ceramic workshops, art galleries exhibit contemporary artworks. 

Bozcaada view - photo courtesy: Yeliz Saydan

The island, which becomes quite crowded, especially in summer, is invaded by tourists. For this reason, it is necessary to make reservations in advance for accommodation and restaurants.

Don't forget to swim in the crystal-clear waters of Ayazma Beach before leaving the island. If possible, consider taking a boat trip to explore all the bays.

7:30 pm – Dinner and Accommodation

In both districts (Assos or Bozcaada), dinner promises to be spectacular, offering seasonal fish caught by local fishermen, and delightful salads and appetizers. As you can see, in almost every region of Canakkale, seafood is an anticipant and distinguished part of the city's cuisine. 

For accommodation, you can comfortably stay in hotels that have been transformed from the unique structures within these beautiful historical and touristic districts.


To explore our extensive listings of galleries, museums, design stores, and other destinations in Turkey, go to the CERAMIC WORLD DESTINATION MAP!


CONTRIBUTOR

Yeliz Saydan graduated with bachelor's and master’s degrees from Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University at the Ceramics Department. She gained experiences in the fields of culture and arts and participated in EU projects. In particular, she has been conducting research on destinations of ceramic cities. She also took part in an internship program at the Italian Association of Cities of Ceramics, collaborating with Canakkale Municipality to specialize in the subject. Currently studying at the Art and Design Department of Izmir Dokuz Eylul University as a Proficiency in Art student. She carries out her art works and research in Canakkale.

Yeliz Saydan's Blog


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Ceramic Guide to Faenza, Italy

Photo courtesy: Raffaele Tassinari

WHERE TO STAY?

In Faenza, there are several Airbnbs, apartments, farmhouses and hotels where you can stay and find a nice room at a reasonable price. Check this link for options. The oldest and most famous hotel in the city is Hotel Vittoria, a medium-high-range Art Noveau hotel at a fair price, which is located in the center of town and was designed in the early twentieth century.

TRANSPORT

The city is not very big and easily accessible by foot, however, there's a free eco-friendly public mini bus service in case you are staying a little outside the center or want to visit studios further away.

Furthermore, there is also a free public bicycle service C’entro in Bici or several private rental services with a good variety and selection of bicycles.

Photo courtesy: Raffaele Tassinari

DAY 1:

10:00am: International Museum of Ceramics

When you're in Faenza, the first thing to do is visit the International Museum of Ceramics with its large exhibition spaces dedicated to Italian and European production from the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century. It also boasts chief examples from pre-Columbian America, Classical Greece, the Roman age, the Near and Middle East, and Islam. Specific sections host some of the most important twentieth century and contemporary Italian and foreign artists.

There is a specialized library and a workshop dedicated to the Bruno Munari method of “Playing with Art,” and a restoration laboratory to maintain the collection and more broad conservation efforts - an essential point of contact for the highly specialized technical and technological requirements of ceramics. The Museum has published the magazine "Faenza" since 1913.

In the bookshop, you’ll find all the Museum's publications, a wide range of ceramics books, and a selection of ceramic objects produced by Faenza artisans. The Museum is huge and the visit, depending on your interests, could take the whole day. We recommend taking a pre-visit virtual tour here

Photo courtesy: Raffaele Tassinari
Photo courtesy: Raffaele Tassinari

1:00 PM: LUNCH

Near the Museum, there are some restaurants serving traditional Romagnolo cuisine. Lo Zingarò, located in the historic Ferniani Palace, with outdoor dining in summer is a favorite. For a quick lunch, with vegetarian options, try Frankie in front of the Museum.

6:00 PM: Ready for a snack or aperitif? 

Go to the main square, “Piazza del Popolo”, for a great selection of bars and cafés serving typical “aperitivo”, or ice cream shops, for delicious gelato. It’s a perfect opportunity to see the beautiful town square, the Cathedral, the clock tower and the monumental fountain.

Photo courtesy: Raffaele Tassinari
Photo courtesy: Raffaele Tassinari

7:00pm: Dinner

Also in the main square, you can opt for a relaxed bite to eat either at the Bistrò Rossini or at the Enoteca Astorre. For a more complete dinner, you can go to the Osteria della Marianaza (Via Torricelli 25) - a rustic tavern where the Faenza tradition of homemade tagliatelle and grilled meat has been maintained since the 19th century.

Photo courtesy: Raffaele Tassinari

In the evening, the square is a pleasant place to stay for an ice cream or a drink. From June to September, there are events and concerts. In June, the medieval Jousting tournament with the flag-wavers is not to be missed, while in September, be sure to check out the street artists festival and alternating ceramics fairs “Argillà” or “Made in Italy.” In October, there is an independent label music festival called MEI. Listen to music at the disco: Le Scimmie Di Faenza is open from November to May.

Photo courtesy: Raffaele Tassinari

Day 2

10:00 AM: Zauli Museum

On your second day, fully immerse yourself in ceramics with a visit to the laboratories, studios, and shops in the center. Begin at the Zauli Museum in via della Croce, (closed on Sundays and Mondays). Be sure to check out their website for opening hours. This Museum is interesting because it offers an impressive anthology of one of the 20th century’s greatest ceramic sculptors, Carlo Zauli.

Zauli has been internationally known since the late 1950s and his work can be found in thirty-six museums around the world. The Zauli Museum is located in the artist’s actual studio, which has also been a mecca for other great artists, in the latter half of the 20th century. 

Visitors to the Museum will discover the process of an artist who transitioned from ceramist to sculptor without ever betraying his roots. The studio-workshop portion of the itinerary is not to be missed: from the clay storage area to the glaze room, from the kiln room to the large relief room, where a clump of earth became a sculpture.

Photo courtesy: Cristina Bagnara

11:00 AM: La Vecchia Faenza

In Via Sant 'Ippolito, 23/A (just steps from the Zauli Museum), there is the La Vecchia Faenza workshop. Since 1968, it has been producing hand-painted artistic majolica with traditional Faenza decorations, as well as one-of-a-kind "Raffaellesca" pieces and paintings with floral patterns. Beyond the beautiful exhibition, you can also visit the actual laboratory where various types of artistic ceramics are made.

Photo courtesy: Raffaele Tassinari 

12:00 PM: Atelier Antonella Cimatti

Nearby, in Corso Garibaldi 16, be sure to make an appointment to visit artist Antonella Cimatti’s Atelier. Cimatti’s light installations using porcelain with advanced ceramic materials, LEDs, and optical fibers are described as elegant and weightless as she perfects a harmonious balance of porcelain and light.

Photo courtesy: Raffaele Tassinari 

1:00pm: Lunch

Just minutes away on foot, you can go to the market in the Piazza del Popolo, great for vegetarians alike.

Photo courtesy: Raffaele Tassinari 
Photo courtesy: Ceramica Gatti

2:30 PM: Ceramica Gatti

Continuing on with our workshop itinerary, about 20 minutes away (by foot) from the center, is the historic Ceramica Gatti workshop, which is a must to visit (Via Pompignoli, 2/4).

Founded in 1928 by Riccardo Gatti in Faenza, this ceramic art workshop has been characterized by its diligent search for innovative techniques and approaches and by its prolific production of unique works. Distinctive features of the workshop's activity include its dedication to hand-crafted majolica production, interaction with various artists and designers over the years, and fruitfully enriching all of the artisans involved.

These rewarding collaborations have bolstered their capacity for listening and interpreting fundamental qualities to guarantee fruitful alliances between creators and artisans. The list of collaborations is long and precious, from the first collaborations with the futurists to those with Bruno Munari and then Gio Ponti, Ettore Sottsass, Carla Accardi, Luigi Ontani, Ugo La Pietra, Mimmo Paladino, Alessandro Mendini, Liliana Moro, and Stefano Arienti.

Just as precious is the mark that they have all left and continue to leave on Gatti’s ceramists. As any authentic artisan workshop, Ceramica Gatti is a versatile reality, a place of cultural transmission and values, of intersections between disciplines, of views on reality, of passion, and a meeting point between different expertise.

In 1998, a permanent museum was inaugurated in the historic premises of the workshop, where the public can admire an invaluable retrospective collection of the rarest ceramic works created by Riccardo Gatti starting from 1908.

Returning to the center: continue along Corso Mazzini where you’ll find four ceramic studios, all very close to one another. You can also visit the shop Spazio Ceramica Faenza, via Pistocchi 16, where you can see a collection of all the Faenza ceramists, even those whose studios are further away.

4:00 PM: Fiorenza Pancino

Via S. Filippo Neri, 2 - While Fiorenza Pancino loves ceramics, she is also known to dabble in other mediums such as video, photography, and materials such as paper and fabric.

Photo courtesy: Fiorenza Pancino

4:30 PM: Elvira Keller

Corso Giuseppe Mazzini, 63 - Elvira Keller works with stoneware and majolica, producing functional wares, personalized pieces, ceramic sculptures, and site-specific private and public installations.

Photo courtesy: Chiara Casanova

5:00 PM: Mirta Morigi Bottega

Mirta Morigi Bottega’s laboratory is in Via Barbavara, 19/4, and her Gallery Mi.Mo is in Corso Mazzini 64/B. Mirta Morigi produces highly communicative hand-made ceramics pieces, characterized by an unmistakable pop flare. Her objects have bright and provocative colors typical of majolica.

Photo courtesy: Federica Cioccoloni

5:30 PM: Ceramiche Lega

Corso Mazzini, 74/c - Carla Lega began modeling and decorating ceramic objects in 1975, alongside her father Leandro, inserting her skillful manual ability into the Faenza tradition, but with a distinctly modern and individual signature - spiced up with the use of reduction luster. In another area, just outside the center, you can also find the Lega Ceramics Museum.

6:00 PM: Care for an aperitif?

Not too far from Ceramiche Lega, you can stop by Infantini Cafè or Nove100 Caffè in Corso Mazzini 69/A to have a drink or a tasty snack.

7:00 PM: Dinner

For dinner you can eat at Osteria Ristorante La Baita for an exceptional food experience, accompanied by an excellent selection of wines.For a vegetarian or vegan dinner, you can go to Il Clan Destino, right next to the International Ceramics Museum.


Day 3

Photo courtesy: Raffaele Tassinari 

9:00: Faenza Art Ceramic Center

The FACC space aims to be a space for experimentation and creativity, without the distractions of everyday life. It’s a hub of internationals and professionals and a center that organizes courses and residencies, for both local and international artists.

While you are in the area, you can take the opportunity to visit Palazzo Muky Matteucci. Muky (1926-2022) was a painter, sculptor, ceramist, and poet who dedicated her life to art and the promotion of the arts. Born in Trento, she moved to Faenza in 1955 where she attended the School of Ceramic Art and met Domenico Matteucci, the man who would radically change her life. 

The two shared an artistic partnership that would last until Matteucci's death in 1991. Muky brought vitality and a new artistic voice, linked to the informal and black-and-white stylistic features of those times. 

At the end of the 1960s, she started a cultural cenacle in the Loggetta del Trentanove, a unique space for artistic, literary, intellectual, musical, and theological meetings, breathing new life to the city of Faenza.

When Muky left this world on 7 January 2022, she left her home in Faenza, including the Loggetta del Trentanove and the Rotonda Gall, to the MIC Foundation with a very specific goal: the creation of a House Museum, dedicated to the history of the two artists and a Palace of Art, dedicated to international Artist Residencies.

Currently, the structure can be visited by reservation only. (Call MIC Faenza – 0546 697311 to schedule an appointment)

10:00 AM: Bottega Martha Pachon Rodriguez 

Via Antonio Laghi, 51 A - In Bottega Martha Pachon Rodriguez's studio, you can see works on display and the production process. The artist works with porcelain to transform clay into delicate and colorful objects.

Photo courtesy: Raffaele Tassinari 

11:00 AM: Museo Leandro Lega

Via Fratelli Rosselli, 2 - Continuing for about 20 minutes by foot, you’ll reach the Museum containing the works of Leandro Lega.

11:30 AM: Museo Tramonti

Via Fratelli Rosselli, 8 - Not far from the Lega Museum, you can find the Museo Tramonti, which collects the works of Guerrino Tramonti who worked in Faenza from the 1920s-1980s.

Three options for your last day in Faenza:

1. Palazzo Milzetti - National Museum of the Neoclassical Age in Romagna

This stunning Neoclassical building is worth a visit because it’s the most extravagant and complete example of the decorative architecture which flourished in Faenza, making it a heritage treasure. Count Nicola Milzetti started its construction in 1792, with Faenza architect Giuseppe Pistocchi.

Palazzo Milzetti - National Museum of the Neoclassical Age in Romagna

2. Train to Brisighella

Alternatively, you can take a 20-minute train ride to spend the afternoon in Brisighella, a quaint medieval hamlet in the hills just outside Faenza (info for trains).

You can visit Via del Borgo or Via degli AsiniIt, an elevated road that receives light from the characteristic arched windows of different widths. Famous for its unique characteristics, it’s an architectural preciousness unique in the world.

Furthermore there is a walking path that leads from the center of the village to the clock tower.

3. Ravenna

Otherwise, just an hour away by train, you can spend half a day in Ravenna visiting the mosaics from the Byzantine era.

Visit San Vitale Church and with the same ticket, in the same area, you can also visit the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, one of the most precious treasures of the city.

With the same ticket, you can also see other monuments in the city.

To explore more galleries, museums, design stores, and other destinations in Faenza and the rest of Italy, go to the CERAMIC WORLD DESTINATION MAP!

Contributors

Antonella Cimatti, former Professor at the Gaetano Ballardini Institute for Ceramics, is a ceramist artist who bases her poetics on creative, aesthetic and design research, in particular on
innovative experimentation with contemporary techniques and advanced ceramic materials.


In 2011 she was invited to the 54th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, and in 2016-2017 to the Triennale Design Museum in Milan.

Claudia Casali received a Degree and PhD in Conservation of Cultural Heritage at Udine University. She was appointed as the Director of the International Museum of Ceramics in Faenza (MIC) in February 2011 and in 2022 she became the manager of the Muky Matteucci House Museum.

Opinion leader for contemporary ceramic art, she participated in lectures and symposia for international realities and in museology masterclasses for museums in Central South America.


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Ceramic Guide - Rome

In this edition of 36 Hours, we give tips to key ceramic destinations in Rome. Rome has more than 120 museums and over 200 galleries so there’s an abundance of choice. Make sure to check the Ceramic World Destinations Map for more destinations in the city!

This list is based on Lori-Ann Touchette's experience living as an expat in the city for the past twenty-five years. Touchette is the Co-founder and Director of CRETA Rome.
Piazza Venezia e il Vittoriano

Before your trip, you should do some research on the many temporary exhibitions in important sites such as Palazzo delle Esposizione, the Chiostro di Bramante (both with great cafes), MAXXI, and Scuderie del Quirinale.  

For galleries, Mattia De Luca Gallery, Anna Marra, Valentina Bonomo, Lorcan O’Neill, Francesca Antonini, Gagosian, Sant’Andrea de Scaphis - Gavin Brown, and T273 are a good start. 

Our international ceramics center, CRETA Rome hosts exhibitions of current resident artists 8-10 times a year. Check our website to see what is on or contact us for an appointment to stop by our studio.

Exibart, the database of current exhibitions in Italy will also list shows and any other openings each day.

Of course, mix it up as you wish!

For accommodation, there are a myriad of choices, from 5-star hotels to hostels and Airbnbs. We recommend monasteries for an authentic experience in the city. Try the Monastery Stay website and contact them directly for the best price. Be aware that some have curfews.

C.R.E.T.A. ROME - image courtesy of Lori-Ann Touchette
C.R.E.T.A. ROME - image courtesy of Lori-Ann Touchette

Day 1

The Heart of the Historical Center

3 PM: Palazzo Venezia + elevator of the Vittoriano

Begin in the heart of historical Rome with the Museo del Palazzo Venezia. In the section dedicated to ceramics, a long corridor of Asian and European porcelains leads to the area dedicated to Italian Renaissance maiolica including a complete set of pharmacy albarelli

Beyond is an extraordinary collection of terracotta maquettes by the Baroque masters Bernini, Algardi, and later 18th-century sculptors. Don’t miss the ceramic pavements produced in the time of Mussolini’s occupation of the palace that conjoin Renaissance and Fascist imagery. 

Museo del Palazzo Venezia
Museo del Palazzo Venezia

4 PM: Secret Garden

Relax in the “secret garden” of the palazzo before taking advantage of your ticket that includes access to the panoramic views of Rome offered by the elevator to the top of the Victor Emanuele Monument (last entry 6:45pm).

Diagrams serve as guides to the monuments spanning centuries that extend in every direction: to the south: the Forum, Colosseum, and beyond to St John Lateran; the imperial forums and the Quirinale palace to the east; straight ahead, the domed roof of the Pantheon and the northern entrance to the city at Piazza del Popolo; the square dome of the synagogue, Trastevere and the Janiculum hill to the west. 

Secret Garden
Secret Garden

5 PM: Musei Capitolini

Take the side stairs from the Victor Emanuele Monument to the Piazza del Campidoglio, the center of the Musei Capitolini complex, the oldest public museum in the world (last entrance 6:30pm). Alongside the important bronze and marble works, you will find Greek, Etruscan, and Roman pottery, including the oldest complete signature of a Greek artist, Aristonothos (“best bastard”) dated to 650 BC.

18th-cent. Volpato biscuit - Musei Capitolini

Terracotta architectural elements and sculptures are scattered around the oval exedra that houses the Marcus Aurelius bronze equestrian statue and several of the original donations of Pope Sixtus IV that constituted the foundation of the collection. 

The last room of the Pinacoteca (picture gallery) on the first floor houses an extensive collection of Asian and European porcelains including Volpato’s works after the antique created for 18th-century Grand Tourists. 

On your way to the Terrace cafe for a quick coffee or a Prosecco/Spritz don’t miss the reconstructed 2nd-century BC terracotta pediment. 

TIP: A combination ticket includes the Centrale Montemartini, where antique statuary meets industrial archaeology in the first electrical plant in the city. Leave time to explore the Ostiense and Garbatella neighborhoods for street art and abundant restaurants. 

2nd-cent BC terracotta pediment
terracotta architectural elements from the temple of San Omobono

8 PM: Dinner

From the top of the Capitoline Hill, wind your way down to the via dei Fori imperiali. The walk offers vistas over the imperial forums and extensions. As you walk towards the Colosseum, note the Renaissance kiln in the Forum of Trajan on your left. 

Halfway down, turn via Cavour and keep your eyes peeled for the outdoor seating area of the pizzeria Alle Carette, tucked in an alley on the left. After an appetizer of suppli (fried rice balls) and fiori di zucche (fried zucchini flowers) indulge yourself on a Roman thin-crust pizza. Walk off the carbohydrates by heading to the illuminated Colosseum nearby. 

If you prefer a restaurant meal in the historical center, there is a range of economical and selective options for dining including wine bars (the oldest, Cul de Sac, or Enoteca Corsi), or restaurants such as Renato e Luisa, il Ditirambio, La Quercia. For old-fashioned Italian food head to Settimio al Pellegrino, Da Tonino behind Chiesa Nuova, or d’Augustarello in old Trastevere. 

Open Baladin, where craft beers were introduced to Italy, is a good choice if you are dying for a hamburger. If you want a fun place to stop for a glass of wine before/after dinner (most restaurants open at 7:30 p.m. at the earliest), il Vinaietto offers an extensive list of wines by the glass at reasonable prices. Not much seating, so clients spill out into the street.

Day 2:

Museo Nazionale Romano 

(5 museums in all, a combination ticket gives you access to 5 different museums in 7 days, check the website for possible closures for restoration)

Elisabetta Benassi "Empire" from above - Palazzo Altemps

These museums open a bit later than most, so have a leisurely breakfast. Depending on where you are staying, opt for Caffè Greco (Spanish Steps), and Caffè Doria Pamphilji (the Corso). Our favorite is I Dolci di Nonna Vincenza (Campo dei Fiori) for Sicilian specialties and the plus is that there is no charge for seating.

Or if you are in Rome for the weekend, make a quick stop at the Mercato di Campagna Amica off Circus Maximus. This former’s market offers organic and local fares in a pleasant setting. From there you can walk back over Capitoline hill and down onto the via dei Fori Imperiali on your way to the first museum.

11 AM

The 2nd-century Roman bath complex of Diocletian (Terme di Diocleziano) has sections that focus on inscriptions and the early history and protohistory of Rome declined in terracotta ash urns in the form of vessels and huts. It includes a selection of terracotta votive sculptures, from body parts to 2/3 life-size seated females to larger-scaled busts of goddesses. 

Make certain to visit the ancient halls of the bath filled with Roman sculptures and monuments and the cloister designed by Michelangelo. 

Terme di Diocleziano

12:30 PM: The Museo dell’arte Salvata (Museum for Rescued Art)

You need to exit to visit the newest museum, founded in 2022. 

The Museo dell’arte Salvata (Museum for Rescued Art) has changing exhibitions of works exported illegally and then repatriated. Most recently, the terracotta Sirens and Orpheus returned by the Getty Museum were a star attraction.

The Museo dell’arte Salvata (Museum for Rescued Art)
The Museo dell’arte Salvata (Museum for Rescued Art)

1 PM: Lunch break

Check out the Mercato Centrale in the Roma Termini train station with an array of choices from pasta to burgers to pizza washed down with a range of beverages.

Palazzo Massimo

3:00 PM: Palazzo Massimo

PALAZZO MASSIMO is across the street from the station, dedicated to important marble and bronze sculptures from the Republican and Imperial ages. Contemporary frescoes and mosaics fill the top floors. No ceramics here but an alternative to the Crypta Balbi (see below).

Head back to piazza Venezia and then wind your way through back roads to the Crypta Balbi (currently closed for restoration (2023), on the site of an Augustan-period theater that became a center of trade and production from the 5th through 9th centuries. 

Excavations here changed the history of Medieval Rome as demonstrated by a range of storage jars (amphorae), fine wares, and a chronology of glazed pottery from the 7th through 18th centuries. The Mercati di Traiano Museo dei Fori Imperiali also has a splendid collection of amphorae displayed by typology.

MNR Crypta Balbi
MNR Crypta Balbi

4:00 PM: Hungry again? 

Head to Campo dei Fiori where you can find filled focaccia sandwiches at the Forno di Campo dei Fiori to savour while seated on one of the fountains in piazza Farnese or if you prefer air-conditioned tables, order made-to-order sandwiches at the Ancient Pizzicheria Ruggeri.

4:30: (last entrance at 5pm, closes at 6pm)

The walk to the site of the seats of the National Museum of Rome, Palazzo Altemps, will take you through piazza Navona. This museum’s focus is on private collections from the Renaissance to the early 20th century. 

In addition to famous Greco-Roman works from the Ludovisi collection and others, the ‘encyclopedic’ archaeological collection of Evan Gorga is of interest for its terracotta architectural elements and pottery. Don’t miss the excavations on the ground floor with the display cases filled with maiolica pottery. 

Pass by the Pantheon on your way back to your hotel. Two of the best coffee spots are nearby: Sant' Eustachio Il Caffè for espresso or cappuccino; La Casa del Caffè Tazza d'Oro for granita di caffè (sugared iced expresso plus whipped cream). 

Or if you prefer gelato, try Fata Morgana (Campo dei Fiori), Corona (Largo Argentina), Gelateria al Teatro (piazza Navona)

National Museum of Rome

8:00 PM:

The Jewish “Ghetto” is a perfect place to have a meal that transports you back to the origins of this community that considers itself the oldest in Europe. Tucked in a quiet piazza behind the main street of touristy restaurants, you will find Sora Margherita (reserve in advance). Try the “Carciofi alla Giudea” (fried artichoke) and pasta with ‘cacio pepe e ricotta’ (pecorino, black pepper, and ricotta). Their ricotta and visciola (sour cherry) cake is to die for (or do take away from Boccione in the main square.

Jewish “Ghetto”
Jewish “Ghetto”

Day 3:

From the origins of Rome to the 21st century

8:30 AM: Breakfast

Get in the mood with a quick coffee or leisurely breakfast at the Caffè Tadolini Canova, just past the Spanish Steps via del Babuino. 

In January 1818, Antonio Canova (at the height of his European fame) signed a contract for property destined solely for the practice of sculpture for his favorite pupil Adamo Tadolino. This caffè in the former sculpture workshop still houses the plaster working models of this neo-classical sculptor. From there, walk through the Villa Borghese Gardens to the Villa Giulia.

entrance of Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia

9:30 AM: MUSEO NAZIONALE ETRUSCO DI VILLA GIULIA

The countryside villa of the Renaissance Pope Julius III houses the Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia Villa which contains pre-Roman finds from throughout the Latium, southern Etruria, and Umbria. 

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, from 2 to 7 PM, with the exception of the first Sundays of the month and holidays, you can also visit the Villa Poniatowski nearby with important works repatriated to Italy.

On the ground floor of the Villa Giulia, the focus is on grave goods of the Villanovan and Etruscan periods with an abundance of terracotta pottery and ash urns, imported Near Eastern and Greek pottery and Etruscan bucchero ware. Wealthy Etruscans re-created Greek culture, filling their tombs with all the accoutrements of the Greek symposium: imported Greek vases take their place beside bronze vessels, armour and local wares. 

A highlight is the terracotta “Sarcophagi of the Spouses” with the couple reclining on a kline (the bed used for dining). The Greeks would have been shocked by the inclusion of a woman in what was traditionally a male domain in the Greek world. Other sections are dedicated to the chronology of Greek vase paintings, inscriptions, and an extraordinary collection of architectural terracotta sculptures, including the 6th century BC statues of Apollo and Herakles from the sanctuary at Veii.

Sarcophagi of the Spouses - Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia

12 PM

Have a light lunch at the Ristorante & Caffetteria Belle Arti 1938 (in the tennis club) near the Villa Poniatowski or head straight to the caffè of the Galleria d’arte Moderna which is your next destination.

1:30 PM: Galleria d’arte Moderna 

Founded just after the unification of Italy (Rome became the capital in 1871), the museum has been situated in the Valle Giulia since the early 1900s as the repository of modern and contemporary art of the time.

The display of the works, presented chronologically in a traditional museological fashion, was transformed in 2016 by a new conception of the museum which juxtaposes works from diverse periods linked by a common theme. 

In “Time is Out of Joint,” Fontana and Canova share the same room; neo-classical sculptures rub shoulders with paintings of various centuries; other rooms focus on modern art movements. Look out for the ceramic works of Leoncillo and Arturo Martini.

Arturo Martini - Le Stelle
Galleria d’arte Moderna
Leoncillo San Sebastiano 1939

5 PM: MAXXI MUSEO NAZIONALE DELLE ARTI DEL XXI SECOLO

The last stop today transports you from the neo-classical period to the 21st century. The MAXXI Museo Nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo, designed by Zaha Hadid, opened to the public in 2010. A small permanent collection is enhanced by a broad array of more than a dozen temporary exhibitions. 

Currently, the show of Italian transavanguardia artist Enzo Cucchi includes a selection of important ceramic works.

8 PM: Enjoy a glass of wine

After a rest in your hotel, Il Tiberino on Tiber Island is the perfect place to enjoy the views of Rome by night (book a table outside) accompanied by traditional Roman fare and fine wines.

To explore more galleries, museums, design stores, and other destinations in Rome and the rest of Italy, go to the Ceramic World Destination Map!

Lori-Ann Touchette

Lori-Ann Touchette is a classical archaeologist and art historian with degrees from Brown, Princeton, and Oxford Universities. She is the author and editor of articles and books on Greco-Roman art and 18th-century Grand Tour. She has also contributed articles to Ceramics: Art & Perception, Ceramics Technical, and Ceramics Ireland. In 2012, she co-founded CRETA Rome with the Italian artist Paolo Porelli.


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Ceramic Guide - Amsterdam & the Hague

 
In this edition of 36 Hours, we give tips to key ceramic destinations in Amsterdam and the Hague. The Netherlands, where both cities reside, is a tiny country (if you travel for two hours you’ll be out of the country) but has beautiful places, museums, and restaurants. 

WHERE SHOULD I STAY?

Amsterdam has hundreds of hotels, Airbnb, hostels, and apartments where you can stay. Prices are higher than average in Amsterdam compared to the rest of Europe. However, if you look carefully and book on time, you can find a nice room for a reasonable price. 

A well-priced, mid-range hotel is the city's largest hotel: the Amsterdam Rai. It is slightly outside the center, but a tram stop and train station are right outside the door. It is designed by Rem Koolhaas and is decorated with a lot of art and design. 

If you prefer to be in the center of the city, the country's most famous youth hostel is an option: Hans Brinker in the perfectly located Kerkstraat; they also have "Grown Up Rooms."

 

Another recommendation is the only hotel in the nicest street in Amsterdam, Hotel The Bank, in the Haarlemmerstraat. On this street are many small hipster shops, including a few ceramic shops, good lunch cafes, restaurants, and a beautiful original art deco cinema.

 

If you have a little more to spend, book a room at the Amstel Hotel, the hotel of royalty and pop stars, and the hotel where I cleaned dishes in 1988 to pay for my art history studies. Amsterdam has many phenomenal 5-star hotels, such as the Conservatorium Hotel next to the Stedelijk Museum or the Okura Hotel, with two restaurants with Michelin stars. I got married in Hotel The Grand, a beautiful hotel and the former city hall of Amsterdam.

TRANSPORT

The city has many beautiful neighborhoods and streets. Everything is within walking distance and there is a sophisticated public transport system of trams, buses, and the metro. Almost all hotels are easily accessible by public transport. 

 

  • TIP: Avoid the taxis, which are notorious in the city, although the services of Uber and Bolt are the exception. 

 

ITINERARY

 

DAY 1:

MUSEUMS IN AMSTERDAM

9 AM: RIJKSMUSEUM

When you are in Amsterdam, you should visit museums. The RIJKSMUSEUM is a must, in the Gallery of Honor with the many Rembrandts and Vermeers, many 17th-century ceramics are also exhibited, specifically Chinese and Delft Blue. The museum also has Meissen porcelain. 

Rijksmuseum - 2014, photo courtesy: John Lewis Marshall

11 AM: STEDELIJK MUSEUM

In the permanent collection of the STEDELIJK MUSEUM, you will find 20th-century ceramics, including beautiful Art Nouveau pieces from the Rozenburg pottery. The collection changes regularly, so it is always a search for ceramics, but they do have it. The collection also includes 21st-century classics, such as those by Hella Jongerius or Babs Haenen.

1 PM: LUNCH

As in every metropolis, Amsterdam has dozens of restaurants that serve all cuisines of the world. Anyone looking for Dutch cuisine will notice that many top restaurants focus on local products and that the preparation method bears traces of the Spanish, Danish, and Peruvian example kitchens. The two restaurants of Joris Bijdendijk are among my favourites, Rijks and Wils, both awarded with a Michelin star. The beetroot millefeuille served in Rijks is worth a reservation.

2:30 PM: SHOPPING or PARKS

 

Amsterdam has many great specialized shops, such as the Holtkamp Bakery in the Vijzelstraat, the Pompadour Patisserie in the Berenstraat, and the phenomenal Atheneum Bookshop on the Spui. For the design and ceramics enthusiast, there is the FROZEN FOUNTAIN on the Prinsengracht. It is a design paradise that can only be equaled in Rossana Orlandi in Milan. The most current and influential works can be seen and purchased here. 

 

If you prefer sitting or walking around a park, Vondelpark and Westerpark are both incredibly beautiful parks to visit.

 

4 PM: MUSEUM van LOON or FOAM 

Then, to MUSEUM van LOON on the Keizersgracht. This is a beautiful mansion on the canal where you can see how a wealthy family lived in the 17th century. The house also has a beautiful art collection and regularly has contemporary art projects. Exactly across the canal is FOAM, the photography museum. There are always several exhibitions on display here that are often considered controversial.

6 PM: WANT A DRINK?

Have a drink on a terrace, a six-minute walk from FOAM, near the Amstelveld at Brasserie Nel. You’ll walk by beautiful canals and canal boats. 

7 PM: DINNER

An informal bite to eat can be found at Fou Fow Ramen, the best ramen, udon, and tempura in the city, Elandsgracht or Prinsengracht 411. Vegan, and vegetarian options are available. 

A nice address is also Tolhuistuin, easily accessible by ferry behind Central Station. For those who want to eat from beautiful crockery: Rijks at the Rijksmuseum is very worthwhile.

Amsterdam, Restaurant Rijks, photo courtesy: Jan Kees

10 PM: FERRY TO NORTH AMSTERDAM

For a late drink: jump on the free ferry from behind Central Station to NDSM, which departs every 15 minutes. It takes fourteen minutes to reach a creative and cultural site in North Amsterdam that is in full development and where fine cafes have established themselves.

 

DAY 2:

TILBURG and the EKWC

Tilburg, Museum De Pont, exhibition 2019, Norbert Prangenberg

9 AM: TRAIN TO TILBURG

For the second day (I recommend a Thursday for a quieter program), take the train from Central Station to Hertogenbosch and transfer trains to Tilburg. In total that is about 75 minutes, one way € 21.30.

 

10.30 AM: TEXTILE MUSEUM

There are two top European museums in Tilburg, within walking distance of each other. We will visit MUSEUM De PONT later. First, the TEXTILE MUSEUM specializes in developing textiles and has a fab textile lab where artists experiment with the latest and oldest techniques.

 

12 PM: LUNCH

A perfect lunchroom is Kras 2. A super relaxed couple serves the best sandwiches in town at lightning speed. You can also have lunch in the cozy center of Osterwijk, the next destination.

1:09 PM: Train from Tilburg station to Oisterwijk

The highlight of the 36 hour journey: a visit to the EUROPEAN CERAMIC WORK CENTER in Oisterwijk. Oisterwijk can be reached by train from Tilburg station in six minutes (the EKWC is within walking distance of the Oisterwijk station). 

Oisterwijk EKWC, 2019

4 PM: Museum De Pont

After visiting the EKWC, stop by the MUSEUM De PONT in Tilburg, which is open every Thursday evening until 8 pm. Museum De Pont is a private museum for contemporary art that is bursting at the seams with top quality. It is housed in a sublimely renovated factory and is, without doubt, one of the best contemporary art museums in Europe. 

You will find here, without exaggeration, the most memorable works of Anish Kapoor, Thomas Schutte, Ai Weiwei, Marlene Dumas, and many others. Important artists who work with ceramics are also represented in the collection, for example, Marien Schouten (his Green Room is astonishing) and Tilburg star Guido Geelen are almost always on display.

7 PM: DINNER

A good meal can be found afterward at several restaurants near Tilburg station: Raw, Restaurant de Houtloods, or Brasserie de Burgerij. For those who have more to spend make reservations at Monarh

If you continue directly to Amsterdam after Museum De Pont, you can go to Eerste Klas on arrival in Amsterdam, in a beautiful dining room in Central Station (platform 2), or Cafe Kobalt, a 17th-century café opposite the station where you can eat well and are completely among the locals.

 

DAY 3:

THE HAGUE

For the third day, there are two options: The Hague or Leeuwarden (2 hours and 5 minutes by train). 

Leeuwarden, Museum Princessehof, Yoon Seok-Hyeon

Leeuwarden

Leeuwarden is one of the most beautiful cities in the Netherlands and hosts the NATIONAL CERAMICS MUSEUM PRINSESSEHOF. One of the most impressive ceramics museums in Europe, housed in a beautiful building, a former palace, and the birthplace of artist Escher. The shop of this museum has a large collection. 

In Leeuwarden, the FRIES MUSEUM is also worth a visit, with both contemporary and classical art. You can have a great lunch in the café of the Fries Museum. In Leeuwarden, you can walk for hours and wander through this 17th-century city with a rich history. The second option is The Hague.

For this guide, we will focus on the Hague:

9 AM: TRAIN to the HAGUE

The Hague is a 51 minutes train ride and the city is where the government of the Netherlands is located, as well as all embassies. The Hague is located by the sea and has its own dynamic seaside resort of Scheveningen. It is a residential city with beautiful parks such as the world-famous Westbroekpark where one of Europe's most beautiful rose gardens is hidden. The Hague has several museums that are worth a visit.

10 AM: KUNSTMUSEUM DEN HAAG

Ceramics enthusiasts will, of course, go to the KUNSTMUSEUM Den HAGG, which can be easily reached from Central Station by tram 17. The Kunstmuseum Den Haag has a rich collection of art and design and is housed in an extraordinarily beautiful brick museum by the architect Hendricus Berlage. 

The interior distinguishes itself from other museums by the brilliant map that takes you from the buzz of the city, through nature, into culture. The rooms have daylight and you stumble across Mondrian, Rietveld, and Van Doesburgh. The museum always shows international icons such as Kandinsky, Bacon, or Nauman. Large solo exhibitions by ceramic artists are regularly presented here and there is a very nice presentation of Delft Blue in the period rooms.

Den Haag, Kunstmuseum entrance hall

12 PM: LUNCH

Those who want a good lunch or dinner in The Hague can do so at Cottontree on the Lange Voorhout. Cafe de Posthoorn is located across the street from Cottontree, a classic Hague address, for an excellent lunch. 

In the summer, Lange Voorhout has many different markets, antiques, books, or a farmers' market. Art in public spaces can regularly be seen on the street and from the Lange Voorhout you can walk straight into the Denneweg, one of the most beautiful shopping streets in the city. The other side of the Lange Voorhout leads to the Noordeinde, a more upscale shopping street.

2 PM: MAURITSHUIS

For 17th-century art, visit the MAURITSHUIS in The Hague, a small but fine museum, full of Rembrandts and paintings by Dutch masters such as Vermeer, Hals, Coorte, and Saenredam. The museum is in the heart of the city and is attached to the government center Binnenhof. The BINNENHOF will be renovated in the coming years, but the museum is open as usual.

5 PM: Indonesian for Dinner?

Head back to Amsterdam for a delicious meal. The Netherlands is famous for its Indonesian cuisine. Two hotels that have excellent Indonesian kitchens include Hotel Jakarta and Hotel Hyatt Regency. We wouldn't recommend hotel restaurants if they weren't this good! In the center, you can also go to the large Kantjil en de Tijger or for innovative Indonesian, have dinner at Restaurant Blauw. If you want to go to a small authentic Indonesian restaurant, you can go to Jun.

Amsterdam naturally has ceramists who like to receive visitors. Feel free to contact the ceramists listed on MoCA/NY's Ceramic World Destinations map. Studio artists to consider visiting include Corien Ridderikhof, who has her studio in the heart of Amsterdam and uses a batik technique to achieve a contemporary Delft blue. Also,  schedule a visit with ceramicist Deirdre McLoughlin who sculpts whimsical ceramic forms that delight the eye, and Barbara Nanning, an expert glassmaker, whose works are hypnotically tantalizing.

Corien Ridderikhoff
Deirdre McLoughlin
Barbara Nanning

There are also neighborhoods and squares in Amsterdam that you should avoid as an experienced tourist. The ramparts and the area around Dam Square are more for English bachelor parties, and you should also avoid the two most famous entertainment squares, Rembrandtplein and Leidscheplein. 

The flower market on the Singel is mainly for tourist groups, much more inclusive is the Reguliersbreestraat behind it, the country's most famous LGBTQ street with good restaurants and noisy cafes.

To explore more galleries, museums, design stores, and other destinations in the Netherlands, go to the Ceramic World Destination Map!


Ranti Tjan

Ranti Tjan is independent curator and facilitator of art, ceramics and design. He is former director of the European Ceramic Workcentre.

Contact address: Ranti.tjan@gmail.com


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Ceramic Guide - New York City

On our Ceramic World Destinations map, there are more than 200 ceramic-related destinations in New York and while we suggest key places to visit, check the gallery and museum websites to find the current exhibition schedule. Our tour takes you to diverse neighborhoods where we also suggest restaurants, theaters, and nightlife conveniently located to complete the New York experience.

ITINERARY

DAY 1

LOWER MANHATTAN - Tribeca, Chinatown & East Village

3PM: GALLERIES

Get on your walking shoes. Sidewalks in all neighborhoods are meant for people-watching, window shopping, sights and sounds, and street life, all adding up to the total NY experience. So drop your bags and head to downtown Manhattan. 

Take the subway to Canal Street and you’ll see a string of galleries: Nicodim Gallery, George Adams Gallery, PPOW GALLERY, HB381 GALLERY, and Grimm Gallery. Galleries close at 6 PM, however, some have openings on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday nights (between 6-8 PM).

6 PM: Getting hungry?

You’ll find restaurants and lots of Chinese Food - after all, you are in Chinatown. Notable Chinese restaurants to try are Potluck Club, Golden Steamer, Jiang Nan, Spicy Village, Uncle Lou, and Super Taste.

Not craving Chinese? Walk over to Lafayette Street and have a candle-lit French dinner at Lafayette Grand Cafe & Bakery, Italian at Vic’s or Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria, or Mexican at ATLA (reservations for these restaurants recommended). 

If you don’t want to splurge on dinner, pop by the newly renovated Essex Market which has a food court with great options. If you’re vegan, walk north and try Ladybird or Avant Garden for plant-based foods that even a carnivore would enjoy. Other notable vegan restaurants include Butcher’s Daughter for American Food, Cocoron for satiating Japanese ramen, Spicy Moon for Chinese, or Caravan of Dreams.

7:30 PM: Theater Experience

There are extraordinary opportunities to experience live performance at all price points so consider Broadway, off-Broadway, or off-off-Broadway. The Public Theatre is conveniently located next to two other theaters: Astor Place Theater and Playwrights Downtown. 

10 PM: Fancy a drink?

Walk further southeast and you’ll reach the  East Village where you can enjoy a glass of wine at Bibi Wine Bar or Bar Veloca. If you’re more of a cocktail person, stop by Please Don’t Tell or Berlin. And if you’re in the mood to move your hips, pop by JoyFace, Pineapple Club, or The Bowery Electric.

DAY 2

MIDTOWN AND CHELSEA

10 AM: Ready for breakfast? 

Grab a bagel to go or stop by Blank Slate or Le Pain Quotidien for a quick bit, or try brunch at Sarabeth’s, The Smith, or The Blue Dog.

11 AM: MUSEUMS

The first museum stop is the The Museum of Art and Design, located on Columbus Circle. It is a premiere space dedicated to contemporary craft in all media. There might not be a ceramic exhibition at the moment, but they feature mixed media across all crafts and designs.

TIP: Check to see what craft demonstration might be scheduled on the 6th floor. The gift shop also showcases crafts in all media. 

Alternate museum or in addition - if you have the energy - is the Museum of Modern Art. Head to the design floor where clay is featured as design inspiration.

1 PM: Lunch near MAD

Across the circle is an upscale shopping mall known as the Time Warner building. There is a Whole Foods supermarket on the lower level with a fresh food bar and a place to sit and eat. There are also many restaurants on the upper floors from moderate to expensive such as Momofuku and Per Se.

Additionally, a few blocks north on Broadway toward Lincoln Center is another museum gem, the Museum of American Folk Art.

Since you are now at  Lincoln Center, you can always find a ticket at the box office to the Ballet, Opera, Philharmonic, or Theater.

ALTERNATIVE LUNCH in KTOWN

Walk down to 32nd Street where KTown resides. If you’re feeling Korean BBQ, try Five Senses, Woorijip, New Wonjo, or The Kunjip. If you don’t care to sit in a cloud of cooking meat, BCD Tofu House is well known for their soon dubu (spicy tofu soup) and there are vegan/vegetarian options.

2 PM: Care to do some shopping for your ceramic collection? OR sit in a Park!

Head east to the New York Design Centeron 200 Lexington, a high-rise with 100 showrooms. Go to their website for their list of showrooms, but make sure to check out Guy Regal and Wexler Gallery.

If you prefer sightseeing over shopping, walk to Madison Square Park and enjoy their public art installation or Little Island, a public park on the Hudson River West. 

 

4 PM: More Galleries with Ceramic Artists

Chelsea is known for their galleries. You can spend the entire day going in and out of buildings (which have many galleries on each floor) and you still won’t see half of them. 

Refer to Ceramic World Destinations to find a list of 40 galleries in the area. 

Notable galleries: C24 Gallery, 303 Gallery, Nancy Hoffman Gallery, Kasmin Gallery, Gladstone Gallery, and David Zwirner.

TIP: Keep your eyes peeled for hot openings with an overflow of people on the streets.

If you prefer a museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art is in the Meatpacking District at the end of the Highline.

7 PM: Dinner (AND A LATE NIGHT WALK ON THE HIGHLINE)

Walking builds up an appetite so why not rest with food and a drink? Chelsea Market is a multi-leveled, space with a mix of food and clothing shops. It also houses many splendid food courts.  

If you’re craving pizza, try Artichoke Pizza, Mel’s, or Ovest Pizzoteca

The recently renovated El Quixote’s Spanish food is delightful. If you didn’t have Korean for lunch, try the Genesis House for elevated Korean Food. Again for the vegans, try Willow Vegan Bistro or Zizi’s for Mediterranean (they’re not vegan but have great options).

10 PM: Drinks? Dance? Jazz?

If you’re not exhausted, and in the mood for another round, stop by the Chelsea Hotel or Entwine Cocktail Bar for a late-night cocktail and The Standard or Soho House for dancing.

Prefer swinging to jazz? Walk towards Washington Square Park and stop by The Village Vanguard, Smalls Jazz Club, Bluenote Jazz Club, or Mezzrow

Want to laugh? Get tickets for the Comedy Cellar and have one last cocktail at the basement speakeasy Up and Up.

DAY 3:

UPPER EAST SIDE

10 AM: THE MET

Have your coffee and head up to the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art - While there are ceramic collections from every century at the Metropolitan, a good place to start is up the grand staircase. Walk around the mezzanine where there is a great cross-section display of 19th and 20th Century ceramics.

TIP: Another visitor entrance on the ground floor is less crowded and has a museum shop with discounted/clearance items.

TIP: Ground Floor Eatery is cafeteria style that is casual and efficient

Other museums in the area worth visiting are the  Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, The Jewish Museum, Guggenheim, Frick Madison, and the Asia Society Museum. All are located on or near Fifth Avenue. In fact, Fifth Ave here is known as Museum Mile.

1 PM: Central Park

Museum Mile (Fifth Ave) is parallel to Central Park so this is a great opportunity to stroll into the park!  Stop by a bodega, diner, cafe, or food truck to get a bite to go, and find an empty spot to sit in Central Park. Walk off lunch by getting lost in the expansive park with many routes and beautiful scenes.

Selected ceramic galleries in the Upper East Side to visit: Joan Mirviss Gallery, Gagosian Gallery, and the Zetterquist Gallery.

If you want an ocean breeze and the best views of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty, board the NYC Ferry which circumnavigates Manhattan for the price of a subway ticket. NYC SUBWAY MAPS


Want to see our next ceramic guide to a city? Amsterdam + Hague  and Brooklyn + Long Island City are next on our list. Subscribe to our newsletter for an update and send your suggestions to INFO@MOCA-NY.ORG.