The Acerbo Museum is composed of 6 expositive rooms, and inside them there is the collection of Giacomo Acerbo, Baron. This ceramic collection is composed by 570 pieces, most of all belonging to the Castelli’s production, and are dated from the middle of the 16th century to the 19th century. The preparation has been made by the architect Leonardo Palladini, and the Museum was opened in the 1957 in the same building where is now.
In the first room of the Museum there are some prestigious pieces of the collection: some illustrated dishes realized by Francesco Grue in the 17th century. Next to them, the most ancient piece of the collection is exposed: a glazed brick with the picture of a woman’s profile, dated back to the middle of the 16th century, and was a piece of San Donato Church’s roof, in Castelli. On the left wall in the first room there is a charming, religious collection of majolica with pictures of Saints. Among these there is a work signed by Berardino Gentile dated 10 February 1672, interposed to it there is a showcase with holy water stoups dated from the 17th to 18th century. Among these stoups it is possible to recognize the canonical rappresentation of the Virgin Mary with her Child, and several images of Saint Catherine of Alexandria and pious monks. In the same showcase there is an elaborate banqueting saltcellar of the 17th century. In the showcases by the sides of the entry door there are pharmacy “albarelli” vases, bottles and jars decorated in a concise style. These vases were often used in the monasteries’ groceries, and it is demonstrated even by the pictures of saints settled in the flower frame of the vases themselves. In the first room, as well, there are dishes, tiles and tondi which show the decorations the 18th century Castelli’s artists used, known as “ornato a paese”. Of the same century are the tipical Castelli’s ceramics colours: blue, yellow, orange, green and brown, wonderfully used in vases with the top, shown in the central showcases, which represent the major expression of the style “ornato a paese” used to paint landscapes mixed to mythological and religious scenes.
The second room is opened towards the external landscape, that is reflected on a mirror settled in front of the balcony. Up the mirror Acerbo put a big ceramic dish that reproduces his family’s coat of arms: three hills with three cypresses, the Tavo’s river and an inscription in Latin “in Hostes Acerbus”. On the right of the mirror there is a tile of the 18th century that represents “the Shepherds in Adoration”, well decorated by the Grue’s workshop, as well the golden highlighted tile of “Susanna e i Vecchioni” by Liborio Grue.
The following room contains several works produced by Carmine Gentile and his workshop. At the beginning of 1700, Carmine Gentile, Berardino’s son, opened his own workshop and started to produce a series of different kind of subjects and two of them, which show mythological scenes, “Diana al bagno” and “Bacco e Arianna”, are now in the Acerbo Museum. Under the window there is a series of 5 tiles about the parable of the prodigal son, by Francesco Saverio Grue painted in the 18th century which show the characters dressed after the eighteenth-century fashion. In the showcases there are vases, bottles, dishes and cups, amphora and trays all about the 18th century. Of the same period is the tile with the picture of The Virgin Mary and the Holy Child made by the Grue’s workshop.
The fourth room contains the most valuable piece of the Museum: the frigidarium decorated with pictures about scenes of King David’s life, belonging to the Grue’s workshop. The basin shows that it has been made by several artists, because of the workmanship with which are made the storied panels, rich of shades and elegant floreal motif, enriched by a golden highlight that covers most of the space. On two of the room’s walls there are tiles painted with the Old Testament’s scenes, produced by the Gentili’s workshop around the midlle of the 18th century. In the fourth room there are works by Francesco Antonio Grue, as well: big albarelli about San Brunone; a pilgrim’s flask representing San Eustachio and some others with landascapes. On the left wall there is the “Madonna with Her Child and San Giovanni” tile, and on the right wall there is that with the Chinese Fisherman.
In the following room, there are the works of Gesulda Fuina, a ceramist who introduced the red colour in the Castelli’s majolica style, around the 18th and 19th century. With the “third fire” technique Fuina produced a new way of decoration: just few and small flowers which stand out against the large white surface of the object. To his workshop even belongs a serie of soup-tureens made in elaborated forms and with full relief grips representing apples, pears or chokes and pomegranates.
The last room contains big frames made by several tiles about the same subject: hunting scenes, water or religious subjects. Among the tiles about the hunting the least one is produced by Carlo Antonio Grue and shows a scene of deer hunting. In the showcases there are dishes, tureens, bottles rack by Fuina and four examples of cups decorated with differet landscapes and figures. In the room’s corners to complete the exposition, there are two elegant majolica coloumns, decorated with rural scenes and dated from the end of the 18th to the beginning of the 19th century.
Apart the collection, there is a big dish representing “la chiamata di Cincinnato” by Alfredo Santarelli (died in 1957), belonging to the Umbrian School, who produced it with the “lustro” (making it bright) technique.