An Italian Masterpiece

maria Maria's Blog

MasterPieceCut me and I bleed red, white and green. I’m putting it out there so you understand that what I’m about to share is not meant as judgment against all Italians.

This happened a few years back, I was in Rome with my Italian BFF Lauretta. We ended up in a place favorited by tourists and in spite of our ‘I’m not falling for it’ motto, we wandered around a few bancarelle, trinkets booths. Big mistake. It was our last day in Rome and since it’s not like we never go there, neither of us needed a souvenir—but. Yes, here comes the but.

This particular bancarella, was minded by a middle age woman, soft spoken, no heavy mascara—in other words, not your typical charlatan. We chatted, another big mistake, she had some hand painted china cups and some darling ceramic mugs, only two of them. One had a scene of Fontana di Trevi and the other one had the most delicate and beautiful rendering of a detail from the Sistene Chapel ceiling. She explained the beautiful hand painted ones were done by her younger sister, a once promising artist who could no longer paint due to some degenerating eye problem. This was all that was left of her work. And also the reason there were no product information marking the bottom of the cups/mugs. Hand made, you understand, right? We practically begged her to take our money.

I ended up with the Sistene Chapel one. I so cherished my Roman treasure that I never, ever used the mug. It sat in the cupboard among my most precious pieces. Yes, I collect mugs. My family knew better than to get a mug from that shelf. Last month I moved. The kitchen is smaller, less shelves. I had help unpacking. Somehow the Roman masterpiece got used and ended up in the dishwasher. By the time I figured it out, the only thing left of the hand painted design is what you see in the pic. I had to use tweezers to unclog the dishwasher drain from the pieces of colorful plastic that were stuck to it. I’m sure if that Italian vendor was reading this she would gently explain that the problem is not the hand painted part, but the American detergent I used to wash it with. Ah, Italia! Forever.

You May Also Like..

Memories of Christmases past

After moving into this home last Spring, I decided this was it…I’m not moving again. When I repeat this promise […]

The Italian Black Feathers

For those of you who follow my Facebook postings, you may remember a short video I posted back in September. […]

Italian Tweety

The bird in this very short video belongs to my friend Laura. Laura and I go way back. We both […]


  1. I bet her sister ‘hand-painted those plastic decals on the mug. That must have been more difficult than painting directly on the mug! This story was worth the price you paid for that mug too.

Comments are closed.