Archaeological digs have revealed that pots, pitchers and plates for domestic use were created in Calabria by Phoenician settlers 3,500 years ago, while figurines and statues were later produced by the Greeks and Romans for religious purposes. Today, many Calabrian towns still have working ateliers.
The foremost destination for ceramics is Squillace, 17 miles southwest of the region’s capital, Catanzaro. The terra-cotta pottery produced there has been well-known for centuries and is a handicraft sought after by visitors. Objects made according to the tecnica dell’ingobbio are particularly appreciated; this technique involves covering a terra-cotta piece with a fine layer of white clay and then removing it in lacy decorative patterns. One of the best ceramics shops in Squillace is La Bottega d’Arte Il Tornio, which carries a variety of ingobbio pottery, plus colorful glazed pieces.
La Bottega d’Arte Il Tornio
Viale Fuori Le Porte 46/48, Squillace Antica
In Seminara, a town about 25 miles northeast of Reggio Calabria, artist Enzo Ferraro produces both traditional baroque-style designs, including babbuini pottery featuring grotesque figures of animals and flowers, as well as contemporary ones. Studio visits are by appointment only.
Via Luzzati 1, Seminara. Tel. (39) 347-001-1846
In Tropea, ceramic artist Benito Badolato creates Nativity scenes and delicate figurines representing the traditional occupations of Calabria, including orange-picker, fisherman, cheesemaker, farmer and others. His work has tremendous charm.
Via Pietro Ruffo di Calabria, 9. Tropea. Tel. (39) 338-945-7304