4 Handmade Excellences That Must Be in Your Luggage When You’re Back From Lake Como
We like to think that craftsmanship is all about men and women who live creatively: men and women who honor Beauty every day with their work.
Do you already know what specific products we are famous for, at Lake Como? If not, read on and be ready for a bit of healthy shopping!
#1 Como’s silk
The textile sector is an ancient art in Como: a symbol of quality, prestige and refinement at international level.
Como produces the 95% of all the silk of Italy: 3.200 tons. If China didn’t come into the picture, Como would have a complete worldwide monopoly.
The entire silk production process can be observed at the Como Silk Educational Museum (Via Valleggio 3, Ph./Fax: 031-303180. Open Tues-Friday from 9:00-12:00/15:00-18:00, Saturdays by appointment only), opened in 1990: this is the the only museum in Europe that shows the whole silk production cycle, from silkworms to looms.
More than 4.000 examples of silks and velvets entirely made in Como are hosted at Ratti Foundation Museum in Como (info and bookings email: firstname.lastname@example.org; ph: +39 0313384976): this is a non-profit organization born from the passion for the fabric and art of its founder, Antonio Ratti, eager to make something personal accessible to the whole community. Housed in the beautiful Villa Sucota, in Via per Cernobbio, the elegance of silk translates into two exhibition halls where to retrace the history of fabric and technique.
The historical origins of silk processing in Como date back to the 16th century, but it was only with industrialization in the second half of the 19th century in Lombardy that the city of Como conquered the European leadership of the production and export of precious fabrics. The biggest peak has been in 1972 when Como conquered the absolute primacy in the production of silk, definitively surpassing China and Japan.
A shopping tip? Drop by Azalea shop, in Salita Serbelloni 31, Bellagio: you’ll find a surprising selection of colorful silk for all tastes and budgets.
#2 Laces and wooden furniture from Cantù
Cantù is just the kingdom of handmade wooden furniture.
Worth noting is the School of Art, founded in 1882, the Gallery of Design and Furnishings, and the Museum of Wood, which shows the collection of projects and prototypes.
Cantù is also internationally known for laces, a production that dates back to the 11th century.
The lace-making was asserted in the 17th century when some nuns taught folk girls to use bobbin lace. The women began to produce lace bartering them for basic necessities. From that moment on, bobbin schools were born throughout the town and the Pizzo di Cantù became a high quality product known worldwide.
Interestingly, the Cantù lace is a candidate to be included in the list representing the Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO.
#3 Metals and wicker from Lecco
Between the 19th and 20th centuries, after the Industrial Revolution, the city of Lecco established itself as one of the main industrial centers specializing in metallurgy and steelmaking: that’s why it’s called “the city of iron”.
Lecco is also renowned for the handcraft workmanship of the wicker finalized to the production of baskets.
Metal and iron working in particular is perhaps the longest-standing and most typical craft activity in the Lecco area. In the heart of the Lecco valleys, in Premana, the metal-working activity is still alive for the production of famous knives and scissors exported all over the world.
#4 The magical blown glass of Bellagio
Bellagio is famous not only for its superb villas and its legendary Punta Spartivento, but also for its artisans of glass: here you can buy all your Christmas decorations in blown glass!
In the "Christmas shop" in Via Roma 26, for example, you will find a vast assortment of Christmas decorations in glass fusion, collectable spheres and figurines in mouth-blown glass and decorated entirely by hand.
In the atelier Laved (Via Garibaldi 60), you will discover objects of furniture, plates, glassfusion masks and high-design glass lampwork jewelery. In addition, an exclusive selection of objects by the great masters of blowers in the ancient art of working with Murano glass.
Other shopping tips
Need inspiration for the souvenirs you want to bring to your friends from Lake Como? Here are our tips:
Akuaduulza jewels. Each jewel is dedicated to one of the multiple souls of our lake: its winds Breva and Tivano, the wrought-iron gates of the delightful waterfront villas, Villa Carlotta and its colorful azaleas parks, Varenna and its shining colors.
In Gioielleria Pietro Colombo in Menaggio (Via Lusardi 14), a few steps from our office, you’ll find nice necklaces and bracelets inspired by the iconic boat Lucia, the symbol of our lake.
If you are wandering around the timeless hamlet of Vezio (district of Varenna), don’t miss this hidden gem: Le Ceramiche di Vezio (Via al Castello 3, Vezio - ph: +39 348 8224104). The owner, Denise, produces unique pottery pieces with the oriental Raku technique. Really amazing!
In Varenna you could find something really nice (mainly potteries with a lake-inspired style) at Il Tornio (Via Contrada Pirelli 18, Varenna).
Looking for a perfume inspired by Lake Como? At Profumeria Bellagio (Piazza della Chiesa 6, Bellagio) you can find “Acqua di Bellagio”, an eau de toilette with Bergamotto and Lavanda scents.
What about a handpainted bookmark for your booklovers friends? There’s plenty at Original Watercolors di Masits Agnes, in Salita Monastero 16, Bellagio.
Are you planning a trip to Lake Como for your house hunting and you need helpful tips to enjoy the best of the lake?