Craftsmanship on Lake Garda has a long tradition; being a marginal land, the entire area has been strongly populated, during the centuries, by people interested in learning arts from neighbouring countries, or just in order to commerce.
Since the Roman Empire, in the age before the wars against Barbarians, Latins and Gallic Cenomans, a population native from the area north to the lake, shared thier knowledges. Obviously the war ended in tragedy the cultural process into this area. In spite of that, starting from the late Middle Age, the cultural exchange lived a new and stronger expansion that has never stopped.
But what kind of Craftsmanship can we found on Lake Garda during our trip? Besides food Craftsmanship, Lake Garda has developed an high ability in marble cutting and manufactoring. In Peschiera, Desenzano, Salò etc, you can find many marble craftsmen, usually exposing their operas into local markets.
For example, in Peschiera, during the first Sunday of every month, you’ll be able to see some of these artists at work. If you have the opportunity, buy a marble sculpture; even if they are definely expensive, their value increase constantly year after year.
On the northern side of Lake Garda, due to the presence of mountains, wood craftsmanship is higly developed; chairs, tables,chest of drawers and even more elaborate creations like cuckoo clocks can be bought in Riva del Garda, or Nago, or Torbole. Near Valle San Felice, you can also find people expert in manufactoring balsa wood, one of the lighest existing kind of wood, used for flying kites, wands and other particular and technical products.
Moving to the Brescia side of the lake, on the west coast, lace and wool craftsmanship is higly developed; take a look to cities like Moniga del Garda, or Manerba, you’ll be able to buy, expecially during sunday markets, very interesting products. Probably the most interesting hand made garments you can find are the cashmere goods. This kind of wool is extremely warm and soft.
In addition, buying directly from the manufacturer will cut down the cost. In this way you’ll be able to save at least 30% compared to city shops. But be careful, look for 100% wool garments made in Italy. In recent years, lots of foreign sellers have come to this area, promoting foreign products made in the East, instead of Italy.These products are usually waste products and have nothing to share with the Italian craftsmanship market.
Lots of the original craftsman, today, have joined together, giving life to important factories that can assist you even for the most advanced project. Anyway, we strongly prefer the traditional handmade art of the craftman, expecially when is possible to see them on the job during festivals and various events.
Finally a suggestion; if you want to buy local craftsmanship products, the periods of massive tourism should be definely avoided. In these periods, lots of sellers from everywhere come to Lake Garda, usually palming off goods that have a complete different provenience. The best period in order to find real craftsmanship, expecially if you buy in markets instead of shops, is during Spring and at the beginning of the Autumn. In this way you can be assured you are purchasing somthing that really comes from Garda Lake.
Image Flickr Creative Commons license courtesy by: Bluecherry1408