Almost 4.400 enterprises in Liguria are small, family-owned artisan businesses (data by Confartigianato). In most cases, young artisans inherit the traditional craft from their parents. Their work, whether passed down from generation to generation or picked up by new entrepreneurs interested in ancient crafts, plays a fundamental role in safeguarding old heritage and traditions.
There is a small number of artisans in Portovenere: they proudly work in their workshops and display their creations to the wide public, either in the form of exhibition or as art crafts for purchase. Let’s meet some of them, in and around the beautiful seaside medieval village on the Gulf of Poets.
Crafts in the carrugio: artisans in Portovenere
The carrugio is the typical narrow street bordered by tall, colorful buildings in the historic center of most Ligurian towns. In Portovenere, the carrugio is packed with restaurants and shops.
Among these, you cannot miss La Bottega di Rena, a small “laboratory” or workshop where Renato creates ceramic objects using creativity, dexterity and good taste. Renato specializes in pottery, and all of his creations are handmade.
Halfway on the carrugio you will find a small shop with an oriental-sounding name… Tartalluga Sul Tatai. But in reality, the name unites two words as they were pronounced by the shop’s owners when they were children (Laura and her husband will be glad to explain further details personally to you!). In her workshop, Laura creates sea-inspired costume jewelry. In addition to her creations, in the shop you can also find silver jewels, ancient candles from Trentino, Moroccan lamps and handcrafted knives from Coltellerie Berti.
When you are in the land of pesto… of course, you are bound to find a dedicated shop just ‘round the corner! Bajeico is where Laura Massa works the basil leaves, which she harvests from her own plantation, breaking them down in the mortar and adding garlic, pine nuts, grated cheese and salt, for a delicious pesto sauce! Apart from fresh pesto, in this shop you can also buy basil plants! Note: the word Bajeicò means basil in Ligurian dialect.
Artists in the province of La Spezia
In the pretty medieval town of Sarzana, Enrica Barri creates unique jewels with organic forms inspired by nature. Her sculptures are handmade in silver or bronze using the lost wax casting technique. Her bottega, called Nyami, is both a workshop and an exhibition space.
Are you a glutton? Then the Chocolate Artisan (L’Artigiano del Cioccolato) will bewitch you in La Spezia. This chocolatier takes out of the oven delicious chocolate creations every day!
In La Spezia you also find the artisan laboratory of Arte Vetro, specialized in creating artistic glass walls, Tiffany glass and all sort of glass objects, including lamps, pendants and rings.
A video about artisanal pottery in Liguria
Are you traveling to Liguria and looking for cool artisan workshops (called botteghe in Italian)?
Have a look at Italian Stories – on this captivating website you can find stories of Italian artisans, most of whom also offer you the possibility of joining them in the creation of an art craft or an entertaining activity in their labs!