Creativity, manual skills and talent. These are the 3 ingredients, making up one of our most passionate traditional specialties: craftsmanship. This activity, here among the villages, still enjoys an unusual artistic energy, which expresses itself in the form of ceramics, fine fabrics, precious objects and machined metals. Each created object has a story to tell and shows the identity of the people, which proudly recount centuries-old skills, passed on from one generation to the next. During your visit, you will realise that it is not just about tradition, but innovation as well: past and present merge evenly, thus stimulating the curiosity and the know-how of young people and adults.
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Those who consider craftsmanship a philosophy of life is the Cooperativa Nido Di Seta in San Floro. Driven by a great sense of affection for their own land, Miriam, Giovanna and Domenico, 3 youngsters from Calabria, decided to take up the ancient production of mulberry silkworms and redevelop the production process of the most prestigious thread in the world, silk. It is a centuries-old love story: between the XVIII and the XIX century, the area of Catanzaro became the most profitable silk production centre in Europe. All begins in the mulberry groves, the leaves of which represent the main nourishment of the silkworm. This small-sized larva, after having a copious meal, wraps inside the silk cocoon, from which the golden thread will be extracted. This valuable raw material is woven on ancient looms, for the creation of shawls, blankets, tablecloths and, even, jewellery. If you are curious to learn more about it, you may want to visit the Silk Museum, set up inside the regal frame of the Caracciolo Castle, in the centre of the village of San Floro. A chest, preserving past masterpieces, such as antique damasks, sacred vestments and wedding dresses.
Squillace, instead, is where one of the most ancient ceramic-making schools in Calabria originated, distinguishing itself for the use of a special technique, called “ingobbio a graffito”. This method was spread out by the Byzantines, who wanted to exploit the limestone conformation of the hills in the area, extracting kaolin clay, a perfect raw material for the implementation of the handmade products. The first step consists in coating the product with a veil of white clay and, then, engraving it “a graffio” (like a scratch) with a sharp point; after a first baking session, the clay takes over a reddish colour, with a pleasant contrast with the whitish embellishment. If you wish to bring home a souvenir, you just have so many to choose from, from dishes to vases, from bottles to flasks.
Just north, in the province of Catanzaro, there is a small town called Tiriolo. In this area, the vancali, the flagship products of the weaving production in Calabria, are produced: silk or wool shawls for women with a fascinating weave and a multicoloured wrapping, which nowadays are used as decorations on tables, sofas and walls. The weaving of each single vancale requires 10-12 hours of work and the ancient looms are still being used.
Among our villages, Badolato is where craftsmanship tradition is more abundant. Many elements and techniques relate to Greek art, of which shapes and colours are preserved. These artisan expressions provide for the use of tools, which range from handlooms to a small knife, from chisels to pottery wheels. The creations consist in drapes, embroidery, tapestry, blankets, bread baskets and baskets.
Unusual experiences and fun facts
When you walk around Guardavalle, you will realise that you are surrounded by a multitude of palaces, which bear witness of a prosperous past. These classy buildings are embellished with wrought iron works and granite, implemented owing to the skills of the craftsmen of Serra, working since Medieval times. Among these, we can admire the wonderful wrought iron gate of Palazzo Falletti, the front doors of the church of Madonna del Carmine or the front doors of some civilian houses, where granite and wrought iron stand out.
Another fun fact refers to the use of bergamot, the rare citrus, which originated in Calabria. Apart from flavouring desserts and liquors, this precious fruit gives birth to great fragrances, appreciated all over the world. Moreover, its peel is processed, thus giving birth to objects of rare beauty, which keep its perfume intact just as traditional snuff boxes.
The best period
There is no ideal moment of the year to venture in discovering craftsman traditions. This thousand-year-old art still lives in our villages as well as in our hearts, it is a form of identity that we love to display every time an occasion shows up. If you are curious to know about this world, we recommend you turn to us, local people. In Badolato Marina, you will find the Travel agency Ferdinandea Travel, which will definitely give you the right tips for getting to know the authentic craftsman universe. As a matter of fact, it is a circuit, out of the mass tourism one, a passion for few travellers. If you are among them, you just have to ask.
Navigate the map and discover our land
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