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Sutri Etruscan vessel

The Art: Reproduction Etruscan vessel from Sutri, Italy

The Story: Although this may look like I unearthed it from some archealogical dig under Rome’s subway LineaA, it’s actually a small modern Etruscan reproduction I was given by an artist/potter I met in a little town outside of Rome called Sutri.

I had been looking for a gift for some time that would somehow represent what makes Rome my favourite city: the fact that the past, the present and the future all live together simultaneously in this Eternal City. Turns out I found the perfect thing while waiting for a bus in the tiny town of Sutri..

I was just killing time when I spotted a little pottery studio near the bus stop, so I wandered over and struck up a conversation with the artist who happened to be there. He was a young man who had a great interest in the Etruscan culture which pre-dated the Romans, and had followed this passion to Sutri. Here he had taught himself to create meticulous reproductions of their pottery, using their original techniques, materials and equipment, including a single-haired foxtail brush he used for some of the finer painting. He would painstakingly create and decorate his pottery and then (heartbreakingly, I thought), purposely damage each piece, to give it that patina of age. I told him how impressed I was with his desire for authenticity, and his passion for history and art, which obviously struck a chord, because he insisted I take this home as his gift to me.

For me, it is the perfect little symbol of everything I love about Italy – it’s a little old, a little new, a little damaged, and because of all of this, beautiful.

The Fact: If ancient cultures interest you, Sutri is a relatively undiscovered and beautiful Etruscan archeological site only an hour outside of Rome. And the characteristic town is well worth the visit.

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