Mastro Cencio’s Masterpiece Reproductions

October 8, 2013 / Art & Archaeology
Civita Castellana
mastro-cencio8The workshop of Vincenzo Dobboloni sits on a quiet corner between Civita Castellana’s two major sites: the fortress of Pope Julius II, now a museum, and the Duomo with its magnificent Cosmatesque pavements. The workshop/showroom bursts with books on art and archeology as well as his creations, faithful copies of pottery in Greek, Etruscan, Roman and Renaissance styles.

Known as Mastro Cencio, Dobboloni’s workshop is easy to spot, for the façade is covered with a colorful frieze in the style of the Falsicans, the original population who, like the neighboring Etruscans, traded with the Greeks and produced fine art and architecture.

Mastro Cencio’s fascination for ceramic pottery began in childhood when he found pieces of ceramic shards in the countryside and along the ancient Roman Via Amerina. At age 14 he produced his first perfect Greek vase, a red figure ekithos, then he learned more secrets (when to use red clay, using a hare’s whisker to create fine lines) from artisans of Cerveteri and Tarquinia.


His historic reproductions of black figure Attic craters and red figure vases as well as simpler black glazed bucchero can be found in collections worldwide. Prices for faithful copies of painted Etruscan and Roman vases, Medieval pots and large Renaissance plates start from 80 /100 euro and rise depending on size, difficulty and how many days of work are involved. Smaller ceramic objects can be bought for as little as 15 euro.

Mastro Cencio’s workshop is a focal point for visiting artists and locals who regularly drop in for a chat. He is considered an ambassador for the area, having been awarded recognition by the Province and Region as a master craftsman. When not producing ceramic masterpieces he likes to explore nearby Roman roads, Faliscan sites and the picturesque gorges that surround Civita Castellana.




Mary Jane Cryan

by Mary Jane Cryan

Mary Jane is a historian, cruise lecturer, author and publisher of books on Italian history and central Italy has been residing in Italy for half a century.

See her award winning website and weekly blog posts on 50YearsInItaly for more about central Italy and to order books directly from the author.

14 Responses to “Mastro Cencio’s Masterpiece Reproductions”

  1. Venetia

    I love your postings. My Mom who is a 92 year old Sicialian Lady also enjoys your newsletter. I print them out for her and she keeps them in a folder. We have 3 years worth of your newsletters. I have tried to print out the last two postings, but get a message that there is a problem at your end. Can you fix it please. I would like to continue giving these to my Mom. Thank you (Grazia) Venetia

  2. Anne Robichaud

    Glad you’re back, Mary Jane (and Italian Norebook, too!) – thanks for the good note – an enticement to a visit to the Maestro

  3. All masterpieces, all worthy of a place of honor either in one’s home or the halls of academia… Signor Cencio is an Italian national living treasure!!!

  4. Kalisa Wells

    It is wonderful to have Mary Jane & Italian Notebook back. Thank you for this wonderful issue. How can I post it on FaceBook? Grazie.. Kalisa

  5. My high school Ceramics III students will love watching the video. It helps them to appreciate history and great craftsmanship. Grazie!

  6. Monique Quesada

    Beautiful, Mary Jane, hope to visit his workshop one day! warm regards from London, Monique

  7. It is no secret that Italy is going through tough times. Every day I hear about another small business that has to close or a friend who is leaving the country. Then I run across a beautiful story like this one, the story of a proud Italian, a talented individual, an artisan as well as an artist. Che meraviglia. Thank you, Mary Jane


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