If you are planning a trip to Salento, in Apulia, ceramics and food are two authentic “Made in Italy” products that should be on top of your shopping list.
Salento is the “heel” of the Italian “boot” and encompasses towns like Lecce, where you can admire amazing Baroque architectural monuments. Besides the cities, there is an array of beautiful little villages, surrounded by breathtaking beaches.
Wandering in the narrow streets of Gallipoli, or Ostuni, you will find gorgeous linen, paper maché statues, wrought iron objects, and the typical Lecce stone productions, which is a particular kind of limestone.
Given the variety of beautiful products made by small artisans in this region, it was not easy to pull together a list of “must buy” items for you. We think that ceramics and food are the best choices to take home for family and friends, and also unique souvenirs for yourself.
Ready to discover our pick of the best ceramics and food products?
Ceramics works are a fundamental part of the Apulian craftsmanship tradition. Grottaglie is the most popular town to find ceramics, although shops and family workshops are scattered all around the Salento area. Ostuni, Polignano, San Pietro in Lama, Rutigliano, and Cutrofiano are just some of the other stops to do when traveling to Apulia.
The typical decorations of the Apulian folk art represent prosperity, fruitfulness and life. Each object have also a function of good wishes, happiness and luck, and thus it is perfect to gift.
The “Pumo” – or pine cone – is a colorful ceramic bud, usually placed in pairs at the ends of balconies, windows and terraces. Today it is consider a collectible, and it is a very chic decorative element of interior design. Pumo is even used as a precious home fragrance .
The “Figuli“, terracotta whistles, are real little masterpieces with different shapes and bright colors. Each of these small objects is the result of a complex manual processing. Figuli is a famous fair of terracotta whistles, It is held every year on January 17th in Rutigliano, during the celebration of Sant’ Antonio Abate, protector of animals. Don’t miss it if you happen to be there!
Pottery is distinguished by the famous rampant rooster décor. The other typical decoration of the Apulian ceramic is a blue little flower. Shapes are very particular, especially for the soup&pasta bowls. They are designed to best enhance the unparalleled taste of the “orecchiette”, as well as of all the other traditional recipes.
This could be a never ending list! Salento is the region of tomatoes, olives, and burrata. Unfortunately it is hard to bring them home.
Alternatively, some exclusive delicacies, absolutely lasting and easy to pack and carry home, are: friselle, taralli and EVO oil.
Friselle are kind of bagels made with durum wheat flour, cut in half before they are cooked, and then put back in the oven again in order to make them rusk. Follow Elizabeth Minchilli recipe to prepare them.
Taralli are crunchy dough rings for snacks and aperitifs. Savory taralli may be flavored with onion, garlic, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, fennel, pepper, chili or just salt.
Regarding EVO oil, there are tons of top producers in Apulia. We have selected Mimì for you, a multi award winner factory based in Modugno.
Photo credits: 2puntozero, Masserie Maresca, Deliziosavirtù via Instagram and Bautisterias on flickr