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San Gandolfo Festival
The 7th Wednesday after Easter and the 3rd week end in September
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The Most Holy Crucifix
Starts May 1st
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La Sagra delle Nocciole (The Hazelnut Festival)
Always in August usually after the 15th, a moveable date

Lo Sfoglio
Late August

Santa Lucia
December 13


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Artisans of Palermo and a Den of Ropes

Posted by Suzanne on 21 Nov 2014

In Palermo’s historic La Kalsa quarter there are areas, dotted with young artisans at work. Piazza Aragona and Via Aragona are just two of these spots where small innovative workspaces can be found tucked in under old palazzi.

Belonging to ALAB, the association of Independent Artisans/Artists Balarm (Palermo), the artisans commit to the promotion of handmade art and ancient craft with a serious nod to the environment.

Just down a few paces and around the corner from the capital’s Gallery of Modern Art (GAM) Piazza Aragona and Via Aragona are quietly buzzing.

Laboratorio CIATU " Creativita e Respriro":

At number 3 Piazza Aragona, CIATU works with leather, recycled materials, rubber tubing, plastics and PVC to create an array of fabulous products.

Founded by three young artisans it is a store of individually designed things; jewellery in leather and PVC, bags, coin purses and accessories; a deep brown leather coin purse made of a single piece of leather folds into a triangle and a bronze metal stud clips it shut. And handbags created from old rubber boots and necklaces made from used bike tubes fill the shelves.

One of the founders Fabrizio Lisciandrello, works leather totally by hand and old craftsmanship, like dyeing with natural tannins, it is stated, is important.

His business card reads Profumo di Cuoio, The Scent of Leather.

Container Movimento Eco Creativo:

Around the corner at number 4 Via Aragona, Container is a treasure trove. Totally committed to making great design objects from recycled bits it has a bent towards interior design and art. It gives a strong nod to the “ecocreative movement” which ALAB notes is “freedom to choose expression and creation” with a respect for the environment.

Container does this with ease; from the cylindrical shaped lamps multi-coloured and handmade with papier mache to old chairs reupholstered in eclectic pieces of fabric and the dented tricycles.

Once lighted the tiny cut out windows in the papier mache lamps stream with light. It is a bit of magic.

Time worn armchairs covered in strips of fabrics, recycled toys used as lamp bases, quirky wall light stencils, necklaces, naked bulbs strung on long pieces of coloured rope and crocheted bags and lamp shades reflected in a worn mirror are an invitation for a long browse.

The space behind the counter is used to store and work; things are stacked to rework. Container is serious about recycling creatively.

An old office chair with chrome feet, recovered in a heavy recycled vinyl fabric with the letters EUG boldly printed on its back was a purchase. It is now in the library at The Sicilian House’s Palazzo Notar Nicchi.

Torretta Vito & C:

Across from Container, just as Via Aragona curves, there is a shop at no 15 where the entrance is strung with cords and ropes and strips of colourful canvas.

It is not an ALAB studio space like CIATU and Container but it is a den of wares.

Packed from floor to ceiling with ropes, cords, braids and strings, and rolls of waterproof canvas, cane baskets from towns like Gangi in Sicily’s Madonie, wooden pizza paddles and brightly coloured tassels and bells Torretta Vito & C is intriguing.

It is reminiscent of a small shop in a souk and, Palermo’s Arab heritage.




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