Scilla, in the province of Reggio Calabria, is one of the most beautiful and characteristic villages in Italy, destination of artists in every age and of every nationality. The origins are ancient, confused between mythology, history, legend and poetic images fed for millennia by the natural environment.
Tambourines and tammorre are framed musical instruments widespread throughout the Mediterranean area. The tamburrello, smaller in shape than the tammorra, is widespread in Calabria where it takes the name of tammurinu or tambureddu.
In the sector of musical instruments, Calabria boasts a quality production. In Bisignano there is still a historical factory of lutes, violins and guitars: the workshop of the De Bonis brothers, the last heirs of an ancient family of luthiers, who for centuries have built instruments characterized by a particularly sweet and vibrant sound, due to a combination of elements (choice of woods, proportions, glues used).
The ancient maritime tradition, together with the industriousness of the population living in the coast is documented by the particular manual and engineering skills of the so-called “ax masters”. Among the boat builders, the most famous are those of Scilla and Bagnara, who combine great technical ability with special care, always respecting tradition. The knowledge of the sea, the main stage of adventures, riches, deprivations since Calabria’s most remote times, is expressed in the hands of the “ax masters”, like a caress of love. So sweet, concave wooden forms are born, light as a nutshell, swinging and fast, more than tuna, more than swordfish, more than the song of the sirens that can still be heard in the Scilla wind
In Calabria, the presence of craftsmen who produce chairs is very old. This sector of woodworking is flourishing throughout the region, an example is the characteristic straw chair of Serrastretta. This typical chair so original in materials and shapes, combines the ability in modeling wood with the processing of straw. The module follows the typical one of the chair of common use of the ancient local tradition. The processing is done by hand. One of the most used woods in the production of chairs is beech, of which Calabria is rich.
Works of terracotta and the decoration of ceramics were crafts from ancient time. It is no coincidence that there is an excellent craftsmanship of fire-glazed crockery, with milk white and sky blue colors, which are inspired by the chromatic effects of the Magna Grecia pottery. Ceramics is the most important form of craftsmanship in the region as it satisfies both everyday use and art. The production involves furnishings and souvenirs of various kinds where the craftsmen show off the best of their technical and aesthetic skills.
A separate reference must be made for the artisan workshops of Seminara as they prefer the creation of objects that refer to the symbolic forms of popular tradition: from masks to drive away bad luck to the so-called babbaluti, anthropomorphic bottles decorated with faces with an ironic grin and almost wary.
When we talk about craftsmanship, recovery and enhancement of ancient crafts, we come across a very particular market, made up of admirers and collectors as in the case of pipes but also of those who love objects of particular value. The rediscovery of crafts, in addition to containing an appeal towards a more human-friendly life system, is closely linked to appreciation of traditional techniques for the creation of artefacts and typical local products. In the case of pipes, tradition has significant value within local communities for centuries.
With the wicker and straw produced in Calabria, traditional “cannistri” are prepared, that is, containers for the collection of fruit, “panari” or “fulazze” for the sun exposure of tomatoes, figs or aubergines. A place of honor in this sector belongs to Soriano where there is a differentiated and relevant production also from a quantitative point of view. Straw chairs, baskets and utensils are produced there, including the beautiful fan to stoke the fire.
The Costa dei Gelsomini is a coastal area in the province of Reggio Calabria, washed by the Ionian Sea. The Riviera takes its name from the typical cultivation of the jasmine plant, beautiful and delicate, but also robust and climbing. The species cultivated along the coast is the “Jasminum grandiflorum”, of Indian origin, one of the most beautiful species. It has large, sweet-smelling flowers that open from June to October. Jasmines were collected by women (called jasmines), sold by weight and exported to France to prepare perfumes.
Jasmine work began in the early hours of dawn and ended around eleven in the morning. It was once a good source of income for local families, although the effort was enormous. Three hundred kilos of jasmine flowers were needed for a kilo of essence.
The oldest of the textile fibers is linen. The etymology of the word “linea”, from the Latin linum, derives from flax, as the term “filo” derives from the Greek λίνον [linon].
Today linen is still loom woven by a few elderly women but only in the Calabrian hinterland. Flax fibers are used for fabrics, paper, felts; flax seeds while its oil is used for food, paints and linoleum; other partsof the plant are used for gardening, isolation, bedding or potting soil. Every part of the plant can be used actually.