A product of the technical and artistic experiences gained in over 50 years of handicraft, CERAMICHE AZZARO & ROMANO, abbreviated as CEAR, stays true to the ceramics heritage of Caltagirone. Its collections represent the triumph of the colors of Caltagirone (blue, orange, yellow and emerald green) which have made history in the ceramics from this Sicilian district. By drawing on what they hear from their customers, the artisans of CEAR distinguish themselves for their flexibility in organization and production, always managing to meet the market demands, increasingly honing in on high quality products with the right price.
CERAMICHE CEAR (CERAMICHE AZZARO & ROMANO), is the third-generation of artisans in the Romano family that continues to produce ceramics in Caltagirone, started 50 years ago by founder, painter and potter, Pino Romano. Around 1960 when Pino Romano opened a ceramics workshop in the area of Caltagirone it was home to just 12 ceramics companies. His artistic vein was focused on the portraying his beloved Caltagirone. In 1972 the business was passed down to his son, Marcello Romano, and today it is guided by the third-generation of Marcello's daughters and his son-in-law. Marcello's management innovated the company with the design of new lines for the table, while the third-generation maintained tableware as the strong point, increased the production of wall tiles, and added a new line for home decor. The decorations are designed and made exclusively by hand by Giovanna Romano; they are faithfully anchored to the traditions of Caltagirone and trade off with new floral motifs in the favorite tones of yellow, orange, blue and emerald green.
The artisanal skill of the Romano family distinguishes itself because the design of the finished product's forms and the creation of the semi-finished product are major steps of the production process at the company—not outsourced. The stages unfold in the following main steps: first firing, glazing, decoration, and the second and final firing of the finished product. The stage of decoration is particularly important, strictly done by hand with enamels and oxide colorants following the teachings passed down from generation to generation. The materials used are red clay and fire clay for the tableware, which is more resistant and suitable for use on burners and in the dishwasher. Plus, all the tableware is exclusively made with lead-free enamels approved for use with food.
Notable works and events
Caltagirone hosts many of the most important works by artist Pino Romano, which have become city heritage. One example are some panels that adorn the places and streets of the city—proof of the great artistic ability of the painter/sculptor—portraying historic events or personages of particular local important. There is an example in the Luigi Sturzo Gallery, that is, the largest ceramic panel ever made, where the master Pino Romano depicts the battle of Judica in which the citizens of Caltagirone defeated the Saracens. Today the company has important partnerships with restaurants in Arabian countries for the production of tableware, the strong point of CEAR's offering, and of indoor and outdoor wall tiles. In addition, the company has provided its quality products for some scenes of TV series broadcast nationally.
Caltagirone is famous for being an area rich in clay. This drove the thriving development of handicraft and the economy as early as the VII century BC and with the Arabs experienced its most flourishing period. CEAR runs a new plant of over 1000 m² in the industrial district of Caltagirone. Furthermore, it has joined in a project that for years now has fostered and spread the artistic and handicraft culture of the area. As part of the project it gives foreigners a free tour of the factory and the chance to watch all the ceramic processing steps. Ceramics workshops for individuals and groups of adults or students are also organized. That's why this production establishment has been outfitted for guided tours and courses, as well as offering a large showroom.