August 1, 2012 / Places
Sorrento, Campania
Unfortunately we all know that the speed of modern life can make it difficult to appreciate and give proper due to the old traditions and know-how of cabinet makers, inlayers, embroiderers, upholsterers, restorers, ceramicists, and shoemakers, among others. Artisans, their traditional workshops, and thus a small piece of history are unfortunately slowly disappearing throughout Italy.

Well, rather than lament the state of affairs, our new friends at Botteghiamo (an untranslatable, made-up word; roughly, “Let’s artisan workshop/ing”) have decided to do something about it. Their admirable goal is to foster an until now non-existant link between the traditional artisans and the global community through the web, social technologies, and the increased awareness of this priceless and irreplaceable legacy. Their first project?

Together with the Unione Artigiani Intarsio Sorrentino (Sorrento’s inlayers association), Botteghiamo-Intarsio is a modern hands-on journey into the workshops, old traditions, and know-how of these incredible wood-working artisans.

As of June through December 2012 (and hopefully beyond), Botteghiamo and the intarsiatori of Sorrento have set up shop, showroom, and workstations inside the ancient defense walls of the town. Work from each and every one of Sorrento’s intarsiatori is on display, and four artisans at any given time are on location all day creating their beautiful masterpieces right before the eyes of any and all friends (that’s us!) who are invited to stop by to witness firsthand the breathtaking art and technique of these maestri. The video below (after all the images) says it all, really.

Botteghiamo has also done events with the artisans of Rome, and will be expanding there as well as in other cities throughout Italy that are centri di eccellenza artigianale (centers of artisanal excellence). Keep an eye out for copies of their city maps, (printed from a hand-painted original, obviously!), available at tourist information booths in Rome and Sorrento.

ItalianNotebook fully endorses Botteghiamo’s mission, and we look forward to more collaborative work with their team, proud to be an international mouthpiece and strong webpresence by their side. Auguri! (If you agree, help us spread today’s Note via facebook and twitter!)


by GB Bernardini

Editor, Italian Notebook

18 Responses to “Botteghiamo?”

  1. Thanks for this interesting post. We need to preserve these skills-too much chinese and other imports! It’s wonderful that there is such a large community of artists in the Sorrento area.
    Here in Sardinia, there are plenty of artigiani (baskets, knives, ceramics, tappetti and all sorts of linens-masks, launeddas and other antique products -in addition to the honey, torrone, oil/wine– theres NO END.
    I am sad that the ceramic artists seem to be suffering in this economy…have friends who make beautiful things which haven’t been selling like they once were. There certainly seem to be enough tourists! I don’t see them unless I leave home, but last week they were all over Cala Gonone. Still, the restaurants didn’t seem to be that busy.

  2. I have a box that my Mom brought back from Sorrento over 25 years ago and I cherish it. Can’t wait to visit one day and add to my collection.
    GB my friends Sandy and Barbara from NJ turned me on to the Notebook and I Love It!

  3. joanne duetsch

    loved this video….brought back memories of Sorrento…visited the artist studios..oh yes, and bought my beautiful box….

  4. Lucile Stachowiak

    What artisans, absolutely beautiful. When I was in Italy, we stopped for a brief visit to Sorrento before going to Capri, I bought several inlaid pieces, but none for myself, to this day I regret it. Maybe someday I will return and reward myself. Thank you for all your e-mails/pictures.


  5. Peggy and Bob Corrao

    This was fabulous, GB. We love Sorrento and have friends there, and support all efforts to hold onto the beautiful handmade artisan creations. Nothing can replace those treasures. I loved this article, and once again applaud you and continue to enjoy your site. All the best to you and your family.

  6. Wonderful post! Nice to know how the little inlaid box I bought in May in Sorrento was made.

    Always look forward to these emails about Italy.

  7. Mary Jane Cryan

    The woodworkers of Sorrento, the museums (both Correale and Intagliatori) …cant wait to go back in September. Must add some boxes to my collection.

  8. Ondina Reid

    I never thought there was so much work involved in the making…..I do apreciate my gift box now so much more than ever!

  9. Anne Robichaud

    Long live the artigiani, wherever they are, whatever their artisan masterpieces.
    Grazie mille, GB, for promoting a rare treasure

  10. Virginia Griffith

    Thank you for the marvelous video and for providing a place where talented artisans can work their craft and others can come to appreciate their rts.

  11. Joan Schmelzle

    Great post! I have seen some of this work in Sorrento before, but would certainly like to see the displays and workrooms when I am in Sorrento again in December 2012. However, I don’t think I know where the ancient defense wall of the town are. I will be staying for parts of three days on Corso Italia near the center of town so I am hoping the walls won’t be difficult to find. My Sorrento map is buried under books, etc about other towns I will be visiting or I would look right now.
    Thanks for the heads up of a “sight/site to see.”

  12. joan mcmahon

    I have been to Sorrento and have seen some of these magnificent works. I don’t know when I will be back again but would love to be able to purchase on line. Wish there were a website to do so.

  13. Pat Carney Ceccarelli
    Pat Carney Ceccarelli

    Bravo and bravo!! what a wonderful contribution from Italian notebook (and our fine editor!!)

  14. Paolina

    I love my Sorrento music boxes. Started collecting almost 20 years ago. Buy them for my grandchildren for special occasions. Sharing the beauty and workmanship. Thanks for article and pictures,spread the goodworks !

  15. I agree with all the wonderful comments. I love my Sorrento music box and remember well our tour of the artisan workshops. Itwould be a great tragedy to lose all of our fine craftsman and their amazing work. Thank yo for the note!

  16. Jill Essery

    Last October 2013 we visited the fascinating little museum in Sorrento, devoted to the intarsia tradition there, with room after room showing fine examples, with careful explanations of the historical changes, and the processes of the craft. A totally unexpected delight.


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