The origins of Deruta, as shown by the numerous names taken over time by the region, are partly obscure.
Given the inclusion of a “rue” plant in the city’s coat of arms that surmounts a tower and a rampant griffin with a crown on its head, its name seems to derive from Rupto, Direpta, Diruta, a word that evokes the fires and devastation to which the city has been subjected over time.
Deruta has been a small village since the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, where the future artistic art of majolica is beginning to emerge and assert itself.
The medieval productions have typical shapes and decorations of the
Archaic period and are composed of popular and domestic objects.
Even the decorative motifs were very plain, alternating geometries, floral motifs or other small designs, mostly using brown and green; later blue was added (cobalt oxide).
For Deruta, the richest era was undoubtedly the sixteenth century, when its artisans took part in the Renaissance environment of artistic and cultural revolution.
A real “Deruta style” is taking shape in this era based on decorative motifs typical of the pictorial tradition of the Umbrian Renaissance, especially Perugino, Pinturicchio and Raphael.
It is also important to note the cult of the Madonna dei Bagni in the history of Deruta majolica, founded in 1657 when Cristoforo di Filippo di Casalina, a cup of majolica depicting the image of the Madonna with the Child, was discovered while walking.
Christopher, who had a sick wife, prayed for a miracle from Our Lady.
He learned when he returned home that his prayers had been heard and he set a votive plaque on the oak to thank the Madonna.
The devotion to the Madonna dei Bagni thus started, and the church contains over 600 tiles of majolica, each of which depicts a miracle.
In addition to being a testimony of the pottery culture, these tiles provide a unique image of customs and social changes over time, becoming key records for history and uses and costumes.