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Matera by day

Journeying with James Bond to Basilicata

Even if you were living under a rock (more of those later), you would have heard about the much-anticipated James Bond Film, No Time to Die being released this month. 007 fans will no doubt have noticed 2019’s European Capital of Culture, Matera feature as one of the stars of the film.

In fact, it seems it wasn’t just James Bond who felt inspired to visit Basilicata, Mel Gibson also brought his production of Passion of the Christ to Matera – with the city doubling as Jerusalem in many scenes.

Matera at dusk

Located in the Basilicata region, the city of Matera was granted UNESCO World Heritage status due to its striking stone architecture. Known as Citta dei Sassi (City of Rocks – I told you there would be more of those!) this winding maze-like neighbourhood of cave dwellings, points directly to the artisanal way of life of the city’s inhabitants dating back to the Palaeolithic period.

At Creative Italy we are always in touch with the artisan’s adventure. What it is that links the artisan to the land, history and culture. It got us thinking, what if James Bond had decided to spend a little longer in Basilicata?

An Ancient Tradition

If you really want to delve into the traditions of local artisans here, you can’t get more authentic than the art of papier-maché.

This material has been used throughout the ages for religious artefacts and carnival parades. If you happen to make it to Matera during the feast of the Madonna della Bruna you will see fine examples of the artistry on display through the medium of papier- mâché.

During this festival, the Madonna della Bruna is paraded through the city on a carriage made of papier- mâché. At the conclusion of the parade the papier- mâché carriage is torn apart by spectators –with those coming away with a piece of the papier- mâché believed to be afforded good fortune.

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Handmade bracelets

Bond’s Jewels

The traditional art of papier- mâché, coupled with the craft of jewellery-making is something unique to the territory. You will learn first-hand the artisan techniques passed down from generation to generation.

Using natural organic colouring, sourced from local plants, flowers, vegetables and herbs, our artisans will teach you how to turn papier- mâché creations into lasting pieces of jewellery. With designs inspired by the landscape surrounding you– our handpicked artisans will introduce you to a truly eco-sustainable handicraft.

Course Duration: 3-4 days courses available
Prices from EUR 400,00
*contact Creative Italy for your personalised quote

Step Back in Time

Terracotta doll – Photo credit K.Patel

For centuries whilst out in the Appenine Mountains, shepherds whose lives were dependent on nature drew on the links between the lifecycle of the natural world and the divine feminine. Local shepherds handcrafted dolls or Pupae. Making carvings in intricate detail using skill and artistry in their production.
Meanwhile in ancient Citta dei Sassi, townspeople ensured their homes contained a terracotta cucù whistle to ward off evil spirits. The cuckoo, symbolising the sun and good luck is practically an emblem of Matera. You will still find a cucù in many homes today, they are also popular gifts on holy days and religious festivals.
For an authentic creative experience we recommend getting your hands on the world famous local clay – terracotta! Decorating traditional pupae, or your very own cucù you will learn the history, heritage and techniques handed down over centuries.

Course Duration: 4 hours
Prices from EUR 46,00
*contact Creative Italy for your personalised quote

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