San Donato, Castelli, (Teramo)
The church of San Donato, whose origins are unknown, rises two kilometers far from the town of Castelli, renowned for its ancient and precious tradition of ceramic art. The country-church, with a little porch on the front, probably meant to give hospitality to shepherds, was assigned to a Benedictine friar of the Orsini family, who had been lords of those lands for a long time. At the beginning of the XVI century he superintended the enlargement and the decoration of the church. He applied to the family Pompei, a dynasty of ceramic painters from Castelli and they handcrafted the majolica ceiling of the church, which was later removed and arranged on the ground before the altar. Nowadays the inside, consisting in a single room, is surmounted by roof trusses made up of seven hundred and eighty majolica tiles (re-arranged when the church was restored in 1968), carried out in the first half of the seventeenth century and representing for the most part secular subjects, especially human portrays, besides geometrical and floral patterns. A few of the ceramists who worked at the so called "Majolica Sistine Chapel" are known: Filippo and Giovanni di Francesco, renowned mainly for portrays and Stefano Cappelletti, who painted a big number of landscapes and animals.