Postcards from Italy
THE BLOG OF CIU TRAVEL

Authentic Amalfi Coast: Traditional Ceramics from Vietri sul Mare

The Amalfi Coast is one of the most popular destinations in Italy, and it’s easy to see why. With its dramatic coastline, colorful fishing villages, crystalline turquoise waters, and hidden sea coves and grottoes, this stretch of coast south of Naples is simply stunning. That said, after more than half a century of intensive tourism—the masses began rolling in after the post-war Jackie O/Brigitte Bardot jet set put this area on the map—it can sometimes feel as if the local culture of this historic coastline is buried under layers of grand hotels, luxury yachts, and chic cocktail bars from Positano to the island of Capri.

Travel slightly further afield, however, and it’s easy to discover the more authentic side of the Amalfi Coast, including its stellar cuisine, scenic donkey paths-cum-hiking trails, and, of course, traditional artisan crafts. Among the most storied of these artisan crafts is ceramica di Vietri, or hand-painted ceramics from Vietri sul Mare.

Vietri sul Mare(Photo by Elicus via Flickr)

Read More…

Buying Leather in Italy: A Guide

Long before savvy travelers discovered the joys of collecting hand-painted ceramics from Deruta or Caltagirone, gathering pungent truffles in Alba and Umbria, or choosing fine linens from Anghiari or Perugia, leather was one of the most popular and sought-after specialty items from Italy. Italian leather has been famous for its quality and durability since the Middle Ages, when Florence became the capital of Europe's artisan leather workshops and the Oltrarno neighborhood was thick with craftsmen making everything from shoes and accessories to decorated saddles, leather armor, and even ornate book bindings.


From these roots, a thriving leather production spread that continues across Italy in everywhere from tiny hill town artisan workshops to urban designer boutiques, and Italian leather is considered the best in the world still today. There are important rules of thumb to keep in mind when considering purchasing a leather jacket, bag, or pair of shoes during your next trip, however, to ensure you are choosing a top-quality piece that will last for years. Here are a few tips and guidelines: Read More…