Deruta is a hill town in the Province of Perugia [pe-roo-jah] in the Umbria region of central Italy. Long known as a center of refined maiolica/majolica [muh-yol-i-kuh] manufacture. Maiolica is highly decorated earthenware with a glaze of tin oxide. While mailoica is made throughout Italy, only mailoica manufactured in the hill town can bear the stamp of Deruta.
The local clay was good for ceramics, whose production began in the Early Middle Ages, but found its artistic peak in the 15th and early 16th century, with highly characteristic local styles, such as the "Bella Donna" plates with conventional portraits of beauties, whose names appear on fluttering banderoles with flattering inscriptions. The lack of fuel enforced low firing temperatures, but from the beginning of the 16th century, Deruta compensated with its metallic lustre glazes in golds and ruby red. In the 16th century Deruta produced the so-called "Rafaellesque" ware, decorated with fine arabesques and grottesche on a fine white ground. Deruta, with Gubbio and Urbino, produced some of the finest Italian maiolica. This small town on a hill is world renowned for its ceramics, which are still exported worldwide even today.