Sunday, June 17, 2012

Fashionable and Handmade in Etruria

City Hall  decorated for the festa  

In Northern Lazio's quiet towns the most important festivals  are all about eating and  food. 
Although equidistant from cosmopolitan Rome and fashionable Florence,  here in Etruria food and wine take precedence over bella figura and sexy shoes .  
enjoying  pizze fritte  at the festival of  San Antonio 

The Tuesday morning market brings  a weekly quota of fashion that is   brightly colored,  cheap and chic, but  mostly made  in China. 

summer fashion  blowing in the wind

one of the bancarelle at the weekly market
 Then for  two weekends  in June there is the annual  Cene in Cantine festival  and the entire town takes on a whole new look.  

handmade cloth dolls  

A flood of  visitors from all over the province and from Rome descend to partake of the excellent food  prepared and served in the underground cantine. 

  The main street becomes pedestrian, cars are banned and there may be a bit of havoc late at night due to groups of young people who have had too much wine.  

tapestry bags  handmade  in Vetralla

Vetralla is  also invaded  by a few dozen local artisans with  handmade  bags, fashion  accessories and artisanal handicrafts.  
Snow White and 7 dwarfs   
A wide array of  unique  handmade pieces are displayed  on tables along the one, central street and also in numerous  tiny shops of the centro storico. 
Graziella, Maria Flavia and Isolina  with their handicrafts

Most of these shops are usually closed due to lack of customers who flock instead to supermarkets and malls for their shopping needs.

crocheted  evening purse 
Many of the handicrafts and fashion accessories  on sale are comparable to those sold at much higher prices in boutiques located in  tourist meccas of Tuscany and  Sardegna's Emerald  Coast
coral and seashells  vase 
These festive June weekends are  another proof that the creative instinct  is very much alive.  

inexpensive caps 

Barbara 's handmade items clash with nearby Chinese shop

bags, bracelets and T shirts  from 4 to 25 euro

belts made to last  a lifetime

Martelletto's belts  
..and bags 

 Most of the artisans  are women, but I did meet a  sculptor from Viterbo  who also restores  antique furniture and accepts commissions for sculptures. 
Cristiano, wood sculptor 

He was working on a linden wood sculpture of a dolphin, a detail of  
from design to finished sculpture 
 a fountain in nearby Campagnano. 

tools of the trade

Hopefully the city administrators will give incentives  to craftsmen  and shop owners to keep the  premises open, giving craftspeople a place to work and display their wares and thus bring the historic centre back to life.

Do you like to visit artisans'  workshops? 
We need your ideas and comments to help convince our local administrators how important it is to have a lively historic center. Please share with friends through Twitter, Facebook and email. 


  1. I love artisan products...:)

    my favorite on this page is the wood scultor.

    love, Mery

  2. Thank you Mery, as a connoisseur of artistic works your comment is very important. Hope to see you soon on one of your cruises...

    Se vogliamo mantenere vivo il nostro artigianato dobbiamo metterlo in vista come è stato fatto durante la manifestazione di Vetralla e come mirabilmente viene fatto su questo blog.
    Complimenti per l'instancabile attività di promozione a 360* del nostro bel paese!

  4. Hi Mary Jane, thanks for using my image of Tuscanai with the poppies, it would have been nice to be credited. Great post with so much information about all that is happening. Christina

  5. Christina, I always credit photos when I know the author.(this was on a CD from 2009, who remembers?)
    Your name is now under the photo with an invitation for people to visit your garden blog too! Grazie!