Middle Ages

The text of reference for an understanding, supported by the ceramic recoveries, of the medieval period is “Antiche maioliche di scavo dalla Rocca Farnese in Valentano e altre sparse dal Ducato di Castro, sec. XIII-XVII” / Mostra a Valentano dal 26 settembre al 25 ottobre 1981, Viterbo, Agnesotti, 1981. (Ancient maiolicas of excavation from the Farnese Fortress in Valentano and others scattered from the Dukedom of Castro sec. XIII-XVII” / Exhibition in Valentano from September 26 to October 25th 1981.)

The pieces reconstructed and forming the section A in this catalog, coming almost entirely from the furnaces of Lazio and, with this a geographical indication, we refer to those shops who gravitated production of Orvieto, Viterbo, Acquapendente, Tuscania and the surrounding areas, two other pieces appear Tuscan production (perhaps by masters of that region moved with his own workshop in Lazio?), another perhaps Deruta and two others of Hispanic origin.

Ciotola con figurazione antropomorfa
Click on the image to enlarge

It is well decorated majolica, rich, imported: can only come from the exhaust of the fortress inhabited then by Ranuccio and Puccio Farnese, who were made Governors of Valentano in 1368 by Pope Urban V as an reward of the aid received when, assaulted by various Ghibellines instigated by the prefect John Di Vico, was able to repair first in Rocca di Viterbo and then to escape to Montefiascone unscathed.
Valentano, in those days, was a small medieval village with a history perhaps not too old, at least relative to the site on which now expands (also referred to as a city of Etruscan origin Verentum, but these are unconfirmed hypothesis). What is certain is that at the beginning of the XIth century, the country was already divided into autonomous municipality with its imposing tower became, in subsequent years, more and more high and solid for reasons of defense.
Other buildings surrounded by large walls and towers were then added to support this original tower and, little by little, it surrounded and around in an oval – located near deep and uncomfortable escarpments – which made it almost impregnable, with the only two doors: one to the east towards the loc. S. Martin and the other to the west towards the road to Rome (so much so that the ancient chronicles call Porta Romana).
In XIIth and XIIIth centuries, the country was torn between Viterbo and Orvieto in an alternation of agreements, skirmishes and perhaps even small battles. It was clear that the Apostolic Chamber could not bear such a state of things. In 1262 Urban IV ordered that Valentano returned under the jurisdiction of the Church of Rome and then, as we have seen, assigned to the Farnese family in the middle of the ‘300.
A new different deal started in Valentano. The municipality, perhaps too often unable to govern themselves, now had a dominus. The fortress was enlarged, inhabited assiduously and consequently, in this historical context, and well compatible the presence of a certain type of stove: that in fact recovered (are modest and related entirely to large jars acquarie, achromatic fragments present in the exhaust).
The fortune of the village grew with that of the Farnese family culminated in 1534 with the election of Alexander Pope, under the name of Paul III. The “fortunazza Pauline” so badly digested by rival families, was to bring then to the creation of the Duchy of Castro and County of Ronciglione: a big chunk of land in the heart of the ecclesiastical, almost at the gates of Rome, badly tolerated by the Apostolic Chamber.
But back to the past of Valentano is natural to ask whether there were any on-site furnaces for the production of pottery. The statute of the community manuscript dating from the second half of the century. XVI, written in the vernacular from the original Latin of the previous century, regulates the cap. XVI (Book IV-De Causes extraordinarie), the sheet 34, the activity of the kilns in this way: “we establish that those who lavoraranno the Kilns, and they must give the right job well done for them at honest prices  and not to sell to foreigners under penalty of ten libre for each time.”

Brocchetta ansata con lettere gotiche

The kilns mentioned in the statute, as also suggested by an analysis of other archival documents, are certainly only manufacturers of roofing tiles, bricks, channels. In the various contracts for the lease of the furnace (the first of which we have knowledge, which occurred between the Community of Valentano and Master Matthew from Latera, dating back to December 2, 1524) and in the records there is just reference to the making of artifacts by construction, so it should exclude the presence of any pottery maker, “boccalaro” or “majolicaro” if you prefer, although it is conceivable that in these furnaces could be produced pottery in common use, perhaps limited to the simple biscuit.
The kilns, in Valentano, lent his work under the control of the civic administration and their production was reserved exclusively for residents, and only after a series of requirements and calls, you could sell to strangers.
Was their an important activity. Suffice it to say that the countries were urbanizing so constant in the years following the establishment of the Duchy of Castro and every attention was placed by the Council (in this regard, there are numerous resolutions between the reforms of Valentano) because they were promptly executed, for the furnaces, all the work necessary maintenance and repair work in order to be guaranteed a continuous and urges production.(Luzi, Antiche maioliche di scavo dalla Rocca Farnese in Valentano, cit, p. 7-9)