Arrivederci Amalfi! You have been one of the most amazing place I’ve ever been in my life, without a doubt. Early in the morning we get our car from the garage in the centre of Amalfi and drive outside the town on the coastal road that unwinds right on the cliff revealing a new view at every corner. Our driver (my dear husband) is patient, brave and careful, I would never dare driving there.
We stop to by some fresh and enormous lemons and take pictures on the way, later we arrive in Sorrento, a stop highly recommended by the locals in Amalfi. Sorrento is the city version of the villages on the amalfi coast, it is historical, charming, real, vibrant. I am captivated by the food stalls on the streets, the churches, the local crafts (coral jewellery), the romantic hats, the mini supermarkets and the beach resorts built on platforms and rocks (cause the beach is almost non existing here).
We then remained hypnotized by the crafts in a workshop found by chance in the piazza. This is the Calemma inlaid wood workshop and it showcases the famous and prestigious “intarsio sorrentino”. A bit of history. The word “Tarsia” (better known as intarsio) comes from Arabic “Tarsì” (a precious decoration).
Its origin dates back to the Carthusian Monks, when their works were inspired by the Arabic marble works. The craft of Inlaid wood made with this technique fascinates people for its brightness and liveliness.
The inlaid wood items are a decorative work performed by cutting, layering and pasting together various sheets of woods, with chiaroscuro effects obtained by the different colours of veneer. Each inlaid item is unique which increases its value over time. These wooden handicrafts have always possessed a special charm due to the combination of warm and delicate colours that characterize these artistic creations. All decorations are made of hundreds of small pieces, finely cut first and then reassembled by the skilful hand of the craftsman. This skill and technique cannot be replaced by any machine. The shades are made by various hot sand baths and, where needed, with details hand finished with ink. The raw material used is a careful selection of precious woods such as elm, walnut, poplar, rosewood, ebony, natural and stained Maple, in order to obtain the desired polychrome effect.
This traditional technique has become so popular that it is also used for furniture, religious panels, wall plaques etc.. The craftmen of Sorrento have become the most talented and famous masters and well known all over the world. They are able to create an elegant embroidery from a slender piece of wood.
With time craftmen have become famous for their patient and delicate work.
Grazie Mr Calemma for letting me into this fascinating world and showing me the exhibition.
We now leave Sorrento, a four hour drive separates us from my home town in Abruzzo and it’s time for us to hit the road. Our holiday finishes here but more days in Abruzzo await us.
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