is extremely rich in handicrafts and local products that are
descended from the countless rules that alternated over the
centuries, the Saxons of Frederick II, the Spanish Bourbons,
the Greeks, and the Muslim Turks. This melting pot of races
and cultures set the stage for the development of their traditions,
which were then absorbed and adjusted by Apulians, as it still
happens now with refugees coming from Albania.
As far as craftwork is concerned, there follows a short outline
of the numerous arts and crafts.
Characteristic of this region are cane
and olive branch workmanship for basketry; (as the famous
baskets used to keep curled octopus), nets, trebuchets (a
sort of hanging net used in the Gargano), or manikins (of
Arab influence) and real works of art. The majority of craftsmen
work in Acquarica del capo, Pezze di Greco, San Marco in Lamis.
Straw-bottomed chairs made using cane, straw and olive branches
are conversely very common around Castellaneta, near Taranto.
Besides, pottery is mainly manufactured in 3 areas: San Marco
in Lamis near Foggia, where craftworks are very plain and
simple for terracotta is mainly used; Grottaglie near Taranto
that is the main centre, where you may find glazed pottery
in countless colours and shapes: here more than 30 producers
will be ready to show you a great variety of styles, including
wonderful reproductions of vases and masks used in theatre
by the Greeks. Very characteristics are the capasoni, very
big jars used to keep wine and oil. Pottery is also very common
in Cutrofiano, whose production of glazed ceramics however
is definitely more limited compared to Grottaglie.
Equally important is the manufacturing of Lecce's tuff. Here
papier-mâché is also processed for religious
and pagan icons.
Finally, wrought iron in the areas surrounding Bari, namely
Locorotondo, Alberobello, Fasano and in some villages of Salento's
Greece; just to mention a few examples, here you may find
rail fences, headboards, gateways, chandeliers and weathercocks.
In Fasano in particular, there are still some craftsmen who
work beaten copper for plates, hand basins, signs, etc..
Besides, tinplate is worked in Locorotondo to make chimney
pots shaped like barnyard fowls, down pipes, hand basins,
buckets, and pails to sort out capers or other seeds.
In Putignano, San Marco in Lamis and Gravina di Puglia the
manufacturing of terracotta whistles of countless shapes and
colours is well-known all over the country.
In Depressa di Tricase and other small towns and villages
in the southernmost point, hand-painted wood is processed
to make small ornaments, plates, trays, chandeliers and many
Lace manufacturing for bedcovers, embroidered sheets, curtains
and bottom drawers in general is widespread all over Apulia,
in particular in Locorotondo and Alberobello, Triggiano and
Capurso near Bari, Tiggiano near Lecce.
Antiques markets are held every Sunday in many towns and villages,
where you may find all the abovementioned products.
As far as gastronomic specialties are
concerned, we can boast of a great variety of products: the
canestrato (hard hot cheese) and cow's milk cheese; the bread
of Altamura and Potenza baked in 5-kilo loaves that can be
preserved even for two weeks and can be found in many baker's
shops all over Apulia; jams and preserves; salami and brawn,
sausages, belly of pork produced around Valle D'Itria, Cisternino,
Locorotondo, Martina Franca.
Products preserved in oil such as aubergines, courgettes,
red peppers, wild onions, tassel hyacinths, etc. as well as
salted or pickled wild capers. Dried tomatoes, dried figs
with or without almonds, mulled wine used for sweets and Cartellate
(local Christmas sweets); rosolios and liquors made with alcohol,
sugar and lemons, green lemons, pomegranates, tangerines,
laurel, olive leaves, cherries; home-made egg pasta with semolina,
emmer, or grain flour, or the famous orecchiette or cavatelli.
Our local sweets include the bocconotto of Martina Franca
stuffed with cream and sour black cherries, the Pasticiotto
Leccese, the typical ice-cream of Polignano a Mare, ricotta
cheese and fruit tarts made in our Masserie del Faso.
Fishermen near Savelletri, Mola di Bari, Otranto produce the
so-called fish spreads: salted anchovies or in oil, bluefin
tuna in extra-virgin olive oil, sea urchins to be served with
pasta, grey mullet eggs and tuna.
And finally, the famous extra-virgin OLIVE OIL, made with
hand-picked olives with fruity, sweet or aromatic flavour.
More than 200 olive varieties are used to produce it. Besides,
olives are also available in the form of pâtés,
or pickled, in lime, hot or spiced etc.