Portrait Winner – Lisa Chiodo From Renovating Italy

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All photos copyright Carla Coulson

I feel as though I have known Lisa Chiodo for years.

We have been following each others blogs and lives since Italian Joy landed on the shelves in 2005.

Recently Lisa hit the road with her husband and children to go live a dream in Italy, renovate an old house and live a new life….and we get to live it vicariously through Renovating Italy.

Lisa’s name came out of the ‘cat’s biscuit dish draw’ at the same time as the beautiful Gabriella Pirisi’s name (you can see her shoot here) for a portrait in Paris with the whole sheebang including final edited files and fine art prints in a GORGEOUS linen box tied with a big, fat bow. On a whim I decided to give-away two portraits with the whole SHEEBANG…

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Lisa was a joy to shoot as was her daughter Carina.

I felt a great responsibility photographing Lisa after see her video and reading this post when she won. I wanted to enhance her natural beauty without changing her  relaxed style. I ask every woman I shoot to tell me a little bit about themselves and what they want to come out in the photos and Lisa’s 5 words kept running through my mind as I was shooting her..

“Freedom, Sensuality, Joy, Movement, Adventure”

 “I want photos full of laughter, movement and showing my spirit of adventure. I’d love something that anyone who knows me could say “YES that is Lisa”……for my children to see how I see myself rather than just nagging Mummy, tired Mummy, I want this for them to keep, to record me, that I lived, so that future generations, grandchildren, great grandchildren will get a sense of who I am from these images” 

So it was with these two beautiful women with a shining connection between them, on a beautiful sunny day in Paris and with these words we created these photos.

I hope it’s the ‘Lisa’ her friends and family know and love!!

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All photos copyright Carla Coulson

Lisa told me during the shoot that a friend had told her it would be a ‘life-changing experience’.

I felt honoured her friend would say that but somewhere inside of me I hope it was truly that for Lisa. I hope she sees herself the way we see her from now on.

You can follow Lisa, Sam, Carina and Luca on their journey here.

“Taking joy in living is a woman’s best cosmetic.” Rosalind Russell




Auto-Immune..Going, Going Almost Gone

Carla Coulson Loc Boyle

Me by fab photographer Loc Boyle

I have been meaning to write this post for the longest time.

I know many of you are in the same auto-immune boat as me although you may have a different auto-immune condition such as fibromyalgia, vitiligo, sarcoidosis or one of the hundreds of auto-immunes see here (staggering).

I have received loads of emails and questions from my original posts here and here about my progress with my new way of eating and my wholistic approach to Graves Disease, Alopecia Areata and Lichen Sclerosous.

Before I go on, I am not recommending anyone on medication to stop. If you want to change your diet you need to do it with the supervision of a good naturopath or Functional doctor.

One of the stand-out things I have found about auto-immune conditions is that we are surrounded by them, it seems degenerative disease is our generations gift for eating way to much processed food, living a fast lifestyle and not listening to our bodies and not taking enough time out. Ask a friend, family member, work colleague and you will be surprised who is suffering.

I have tried to quantify this diet and my lifestyle changes since January by having regular blood tests and the results have been overwhelming. So overwhelming I kept going.

As a reward after my recent holiday I had a blood test and the news was so fab I wanted to share the results with you.

Thyroid problemResolved!!! When I started this diet back in January my TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) was almost nonexistent. In December 2013 my TSH was 0.005 and as at Mid August it was 2.240 (so in the range it’s scary). Do the math (cause I am a photographer and not very good at it) but that is a massive jump. See comprehensive test results at the end of the post with monthly moves..

Auto-immune Antibodies – Down from 11. 9 in December to 4.8 in August. They need to get under 1.75 to be home free (in remission) so not there yet but getting closer

Alopecia Areata – Hair growing in all 3 bald spots. Gawd this makes me happy. Lovely little black and grey hairs 3 inches long filling all three baldies!

Lichen Sclerous – Prior to March I was still having problems with Lichen Sclerosous. I ended up in this private forum and discovered Oxalates. A word I had never heard before and one that has changed my life. I added a Low Oxalate diet to my Paleo Diet and I believe going on the Low Oxalate diet was the thing that hastened healing of all three auto-immune conditions.

Is the Low Oxalate diet fun? NO, but neither is Lichen Sclerosous or any of the others AI’s. I had almost instant results once I started this and then my thyroid values moved enormously so I have a sneaky feeling Oxalate is the new black. I think Oxalates are to blame for auto-immune as much as Gluten.. And I never believed in detox symptoms till I met Mr. Oxalate..

Without a doubt cutting Gluten and processed foods out was the first great step I took but discovering the Low Oxalate Diet was the second one.

There is so much great information out there and I will try and share as many links here as possible but all Auto-immune disease stems from a leaky gut so the important thing is to heal your intestine and then your body will heal itself. World expert Dr. Alessandro Fasano explains it here

Snapshot of Auto-Immune

  1. Leaky Gut – We all have compromised digestion thanks to years of processed foods and food intolerances. Sarah Wilson explains it simply here
  2. Inflammation – Is the root of all auto-immune and most disease. Things that cause inflammation are sugar, coffee, refined foods, alcohol and processed foods. Dr Mark Hyman explains it here 
  3. Food Intolerance –Weakens the immune system..seems a large part of the human race is allergic to lactose and gluten.. more info here
  4. Give your system a break – By taking away irritating foods and flooding it with nutrition from whole foods and supporting it with complimentary holistic treatments such as acupuncture, massage and shiatsu.
  5. Get Moving – One of the best anti-imflammatory of all time, you don’t need to run or go to the gym. Walking is great.
  6. Practice deep relaxation – Such as yoga, meditation and long walks
  7. Be patient – Let your body heal itself naturally.. We took a lifetime to get into this situation its going take time to get out of it.

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The Way I Eat

No Gluten

No Dairy

No Coffee,

No Alcohol,

In general no grains or legumes but I do eat rice a couple of times a week

No Sugar (sugar is in everything once you read the labels) this includes almost all sauces

No processed food, this pretty much knocks out everything on the supermarket shelves

Organic fresh fruit and vegetables, a small amount of nuts, organic eggs and meat and wild fish (I eat meat once a week)

Good fats, such as avocados, organic butter, cold-pressed olive oil and coconut oil – this is really important.. I have learnt fat doesn’t make you fat. I have never eaten more fat in my life and it has had no impact on my cholesterol only my waist (it’s thinner).

I started eating fermented foods 

Most auto-immune diets also knock-out nightshades, I reduced them but still put capsicum in salads and ate the odd tomato.

I Stopped:

Using all perfumes and non-organic body products including hair shampoos, body creams

Flouride toothpaste

Being connected 24/7 to social media and working like a maniac

Got rid of all cleaning products in the house and replaced them with eco versions.

I Started:

Walking everyday for 45 mins (exercise is the best anti-inflammatory there is)

Getting 15 mins of sun where I could (to help with low Vitamin D levels)

Meditating twice a day

Making bone broths to substitute eating meat.

Drinking filtered water

Drinking herbal teas, Rosehip for Vitamin C and Nettle for Iron

Bought an earthing mat for our bed – these videos are interesting

Reduced stress and my workload


These are some of the natural supplements that were prescribed to me by my naturopath. I would suggest seeing a great naturopath for your specific health needs.

Cod liver Oil once a day – a teaspoon



Vitamin B12


Vitamin D3 1000 u

Grapefruit seed oil

Symptons of Auto-Immune:

Chronic tiredness (like falling asleep at lunch)

Heart palpitations (thyroid)

Anxiety (thyroid)

Chronic Candida

Muscle fatigue (I could hardly climb to the 2nd floor without feeling like it was Mount Everest)

Sleep problems (thyroid)

Baldness 3 totally bald spots on my head (Alopecia Areata)

Itchiness and lesions (Lichen Sclerosous)

Brain Fog and a sense of not being here (thyroid)

Itchiness on the front of my shins

Bumps on the backs of the top of your arms


Millions of small pimples that look like a heat rash but were discovered in the middle of winter

There are a million other systems but these were some of mine.

Some Frequently Asked Questions:

Was it difficult to go on the Paleo diet? and how much meat to you eat? No. I have always loved eating well and had previously bought organic food but was almost exclusively vegetarian unless eating at someone’s place and I didn’t want to cause a fuss. I was eating loads of carbohydrates and almost no protein. When I made the switch I found I was rarely hungry and no longer had sugar highs and lows thanks to the whole food diet and eating good fats and protein. I eat pastured raised meat once a week and make bone broths to put in soups and stews. For me the focus is on fruit and vegetables and I eat a lot of eggs.

What was the hardest thing to give up? For me it was coffee, I love coffee and even now my morning doesn’t feel like it ‘starts’ because there is no coffee ritual. In the past couple of weeks on the weekend I make a big deal of going out and finding a great coffee in Paris and enjoying it like it is truly special instead of using it like a crutch as I did before.

Any setbacks? Yes. Once early on when my system was very fragile I kicked off the Graves again by eating lots of sugary fruit (bananas, pineapple and mango together). I did the same thing this summer when I ate an enormous gelato (first one in 8 months) and nothing happened so I ate another one the next day and then thyroid was off and running again with heart palpitations and exhaustion for a week.

How do I handle travel? I travel regularly for work and take my own food stocks. When I worked in the mountains in Italy for a week I took canned sardines, pre boiled eggs, avocados, baked banana bread (I substitute the almond flour with chestnut flour and go light on the honey) and fruit in case I couldn’t access what I needed when I arrived. Guess what? I couldn’t..

Do I eat out? I rarely eat out preferring my own food!!! Gluten is in everything, in Thai sauces and other foods I love. I eat Japanese and take my own gluten free Tamari, chose things like Omelettes or ask how the fish etc is cooked. Have been caught out with batters and breadcrumbs many times.

If and when I go into remission will I go back to eating gluten? Getting off Gluten has been one of the greatest and liberating experiences in my adult life. I no longer need to walk into the local bakery ever again and the bonus has been a slimmer waist and better health. It has allowed me to reconnect with real food and cooking it in a respectful way.

Any health bonuses you didn’t imagine? I have been plagued with headaches my whole life. Since changing the way I live and eat I haven’t had a headache for 6 months and I have lost four kilos. My husband who has had chronic ‘wake you up at night’ Eczema since he was a teenager has lost 12 kilos and his eczema has gone. He wasn’t convinced about the diet till he saw this film. Now he is the world’s number 2 fan (after me).

Where there any times you felt like giving up? There was a day afterI had been on the Low Oxalate diet for a couple of months when I realised there wasn’t a lot of fun in my life at the time. I had read everything I could on diet, I was not only gluten, sugar, alcohol, coffee, processed food free but also free of almonds, sweet potato, chocolate, figs and many other heavenly foods I loved. I was miserable, from that day forward I decided to lighten up and have more fun, have a massage, go to the cinema and forget my oxalate obsession for a while and be kind to myself.

Is it expensive? Yes, without a doubt I am spending twice the amount of money on food that I previously did and wholistic practitioners aren’t covered in the health care system in France. I cart home a shopping caddy full of fresh fruit and vegetables twice a week but being sick is also expensive. I am investing in my health now instead of later and seeing the benefits makes it worth while.

Any Tips on making the change? The toughest thing about eating this way is that you need to be organised and always have food handy. This means thinking and preparing in advance, always having the fridge stocked and something in your camera bag or handbag.

What reactions do you commonly have when you tell people how you are eating? The most common reaction is suspicion. People tend to not believe you and think you are slightly kooky. Try telling an Italian that the pasta they have been feeding their child it’s whole life is causing him/her harm! It’s like saying the very fabric of their culture is turning on them. Much easier to walk away from it than believe it.

Anything else you would like to add? This has been one of the most empowering experiences in my life. Seeing that my body can heal itself with kindness, good food and love is a powerful feeling. We all make such a big deal about eating like this but it’s simply returning to the way our Grandparents ate.

Want to learn more:

The perfect Human Diet – A documentary that explains the concept of Paleo eating

The Wahls Protocol - Written by the doctor who had MS and was in a well chair for years) after one month on her diet she could walk with crutches, after 5 months she rode a bike and after 1 year she rode 50kms. This book explains degenerative disease in simple language and gets into the details of what to eat.. Wonderful.

Minding Your Mitochondria – Terry Wahls Ted Talk on diet and disease

Sarah Wilson – Sarah has a section on her blog discussing auto-immune here

Practical Paleo – A great practical guide to understanding your particular auto-immune condition, what to eat and some great recipes.

Nourishing Traditions – One of my favourite books recommended by a dear friend and tells us the traditional ways to prepare foods.. Love this book

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration – If you want to go the whole way this is a study done in the thirties by Weston Price. He travelled the world to find people who were still eating traditional diets untouched by white man’s food. I loved it.

My Blood Results from December to August

Red Means the values are out of the range

TSH – The accepted Range is from 0.270 – 4.20

23/12/2013 – .005

4/2/2014 – .005

22/4/2014 – .770 (woohoo in range)

14/8/2014 – 2,240 (woohoo in range)

T3 – The accepted range is from 0.93 – 4.40

23/12/2014 – 5.6

4/2/2014 – 4.5

22/4/2014 – 2.50 (woohoo in range)

T4 – The accepted range is from 9.3 – 17

23/12/2014 – 20.1

4/2/2014 - 16 (woohoo in range)

22/4/2014 – 12 (woohoo in range)

Auto-immune antibodies - The accepted range is under 1.75

23/12/2014 – 11.9

4/2/2014 - 7.54

22/4/2014 - 6.49

14/8/2014 – 4.86

 If you are wondering why I have gone to the trouble of adding my test results its because throughout these eight months its the one piece of information I couldn’t find on the internet. Nobody had quantified their results and shown their progress although many spoke of healing.

I did this for all of those like me who were searching for an alternative to the doctor’s standard response of ‘its incurable you will have to live with it for the rest of your life.’

I believed it was possible and I can see it is.

Wishing you all good health and happiness.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Hippocrates



Please share for the good health of those we love..x

Wild Child – A Private Portrait

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Private Portrait Copyright Carla Coulson

I loved this job! This gorgeous gal’s mum kindly gave her a portrait for her 20th birthday and we decided to celebrate all the emotions and feelings of being that age.

She wanted something modern and unfussy, simple and down to earth and surrounded by nature. Down along the Seine we found just the spot.

For me it was easy, being 20 felt like it was yesterday and it is so clear and bright in my memory and senses that feeling of being on the verge of something new, full of fun yet still innocent, willing to be a little crazy but still unsure of your sensuality and feeling free, so free.

Voila the beautiful Marine…

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All photos copyright Carla Coulson

Hair and make-up Veronique Marot

“Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; it is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips and supple knees; it is a matter of the will, quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions; it is the freshness of the deep springs of life.” Samuel Ullman

Wishing you the most fabulous day..


Please feel free to share

A Greek Island Dream House

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 Claire Lloyd and  rescue dog Mavrula copyright Carla Coulson

Any of you who have been following along for a while know that I am nuts about the Mediterranean in particular Greece and Italy. Well this summer I travelled to beautiful Lesvos and stayed in a very special guesthouse owned by the fabulous designer Claire Lloyd and partner artist Matthew Usmar Lauder.

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Felix passes the Iron bed made with antique linen copyright Carla Coulson

I knew I was going to love this place as I know Claire has a beautiful eye from all those years working as an art director in London and I adore her  beautiful book My Greek Island Island Home. Throw into the mix Matthew’s divine art and his knack for creating individual pieces of furniture and objects from found and recycled products and it was sure to ignite something big inside of me.

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Loungeroom from the front door copyright Carla Coulson

But as a photographer I have learnt that the photos never do something really beautiful its true justice. It’s all those other dimensions that bring on the love rush, like the scent of jasmine, the exquisite view to the sea, the textures of floorboards under your bare feet, the sound of a home-made wind chime tinkling in the breeze.

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A corner of the lounge room copyright Carla Coulson

You all know since the day I left Italy a piece of my heart has been hankering to go back to a simpler, slower  way of living with a little vege garden out the back and to belong to a community. To belong to a community has been my life long ambition!  I feel very fortunate to belong to a cyber community of wonderful people scattered around the world and for this I will be forever grateful.

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 Beautiful bedlinen and Matthew Lauders.. Copyright Carla Coulson

So here in this exquisite house not only did Francesco and I have a chance to relax and enjoy the fabulous scented candles, the fridge stocked with Greek Yoguhurt, local fruit and delicious local wine but we had the chance to taste what it would be like if we left our lives and went to live on a Greek Island.

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 Loungeroom copyright Carla Coulson

There was nothing touristy about this experience. We were in a small hill village about 4kms from the sea in a part of Lesvos that has no tourist shops or noisy bars just the local tavernas and a rich daily life.

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Matthew’s art, a found table and vintage Turkish runner copyright Carla Coulson

I loved heading down to the Platia which is in the centre of the village, a wonderful tavern sits under a 100 year old tree (they just had the party to celebrates it’s birthday) which is akin to the village outdoor lounge room. Everything happens here, you can drink coffee, play cards for the entire day if your desire, eat lunch or dinner, check your Instagram or wile away the hours swapping stories with the locals.

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Detail Loungeroom Copyright Carla Coulson

And right next door was the vege garden of my dreams. I adored watching the man tending it dressed in white collecting the biggest zucchini flowers I had ever seen.

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 Corridor Downstairs Copyright Carla Coulson

And going on long walks with Claire and the dogs and dropping into’s Matthews heavenly studio (blog post coming soon) to see what he was up to.

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Traditional Wooden box to display treasured icons Copyright Carla Coulson

I have long been in love with Greece, Francesco and I have spent the past 6 years trying to find the most out of the way Islands, to get as faraway as possible from our busy lives in Paris to recharge with long days swimming and resting.

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Kitchen Copyright Carla Coulson

But this was the first time I felt like I actually was living there, when I dared to ask myself ‘what if..?”

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 Beautiful ceramic plates in the kitchen copyright Carla Coulson

What if we had the courage to walk away from the security? What if we could live a simpler life like the one like we had all those years ago in Florence? What would we do and how would we do it?

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Francesco’s Hat on the kitchen chair and local woven rug Copyright Carla Coulson

What if we could give our cat a better life?? LOL!

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Bedroom with antique French Linen sheets Copyright Carla Coulson

Together we explored the island, had long lunches down at Kalo Limani and long dinners where there were just the four of us, a setting sun and simple Greek fare of grilled calamari, fresh fish and local veges.

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 Corner of the bedroom – Copyright Carla Coulson

Matthew and Claire’s generosity has no limits, they took us to their favourite beaches, we ate in their favourite restaurants all over the island and showed us the wonderful co-operatives where local ladies make traditional products.

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Corner of the Bedroom Copyright Carla Coulson

I adored popping down the road to see them, like we had all lived their forever, swapping ideas and advice on all things creative and practical and talking about our hopes and dreams.

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Bedside table detail Copyright Carla Coulson

Matthew’s studio in the centre of town is filled with his beautiful artwork and found treasures. It’s also filled with curious locals who can’t help sticking their heads in to see what was going on.

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Bathroom Copyright Carla Coulson

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 Collection of local plates in the hallway Copyright Carla Coulson

Lesvos is so close to Turkey we even jumped on the ferry for the day and went to Avyalik on bazaar day. It was a frenzy of photos and shopping before we took the evening ferry back.

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View from the terrace to the sea copyright Carla Coulson

I wanted My Greek Island Home experience to go on forever!

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 Felix and Fluffy Boy catching up on a little sleep Copyright Carla Coulson

Oh and for a cat lover missing her baby, not a problem there were a couple of stand-ins to help out..

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 Claire in the courtyard Copyright Carla Coulson

So to dearest Claire and Matthew the stay at your house was not only the loveliest experience yet to happen for us in Greece it was something bigger, it was a catalyst just like that Thai Takeway all those years ago in Darlinghurst that set me on a life of adventure and going after the things that really mattered to me in life.

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 Courtyard Copyright Carla Coulson

Even though I have left my life once before it was beautiful reminder of what I hold dear. Thank-you for allowing me to see that again and experience your beautiful island and lives through your eyes.

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Front door Copyright Carla Coulson

The beautiful My Greek Island Home Guesthouse has it’s own lovely website and if you would like to rent the guesthouse you can get in touch with Claire and Matthew here

Claire Lloyd is the author and photographer of My Greek Island Home and Sensual Living and you can check out Matthew Usmar Lauder’s work here.

“True generosity is an offering; given freely and out of pure love. No strings attached. No expectations. Time and love are the most valuable possession you can share.” Suze Orman


Please share if you dream of another life or love beautiful homes

Grottaglie A Ceramics Town – My Addresses

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Grottaglie from the terrace of Mimmo Vestita Ceramics

All photos Copyright Carla Coulson 

Imagine a town that has survived for hundreds of years on making beautiful hand-made ceramics. Add a twist of Southern Italian charm, workshops dug into soft stone to form grottos (grottaglie – that’s where the name comes from) and hundreds of artisans turning clay into pots, jugs, plates, cups, saucers, statues and other works of art – then you would have Grottaglie.

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Ceramics  La Grotta Ceramiche  Copyright Carla Coulson

I discovered Grottaglie a couple of summers ago when Francesco and I were at the beach and it became too crowded so we decided to head inland for lunch (no Italian in their right mind would do this in August) but this is one of our tricks to finding something magical and real.

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Ceramics  La Grotta Ceramiche  Copyright Carla Coulson

And that is exactly what happened. We found the magical Grottaglie.. I could hardly wait to finish lunch to start snooping around the hundreds of ceramic workshops.

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Hand turned vases at Fratelli Ciro e Grazio Monteforte

And we didn’t walk away empty handed…

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Hand turned pots  La Grotta Ceramiche  Copyright Carla Coulson

So when I started planning the Caravan Travel Photography Workshop I started to think of all the things I loved about Puglia and Grottaglie sprang to mind.

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Carmelo takes a break at Mimmo Vestita Ceramics

I decided to include the things I would do if I was to shoot a story on a region, include the things that I love, that visually excite me and I knew would make for interesting pics.

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Collection of antique water jugs Mimmo Vestita Ceramics

So back I went to Grottaglie and with the help of Francesca Frisa we toured many beautiful workshops and met many great artisans.

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hand painted plates in the workshop of Giuseppe Patronelli

Grottaglie has been inhabited since the Paleolithic age and is just up the rode from one of the first Greek settlements in Italy, Taranto.

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Wash basin Mimmo Vestita Ceramics

The local stone is called tufo In Italian and is soft enough to be able to dig into.  Since Medieval times there have been caves dug around what is now the castle and slowly they were taken over and used as ceramic workshops.

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Seconds on the terrace Mimmo Vestita Ceramics

Many finds around Grottaglie date back to the Classical age and the Museo Delle Ceramiche in Grottaglie has the whole story!

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Mimmo Vestita painting at Mimmo Vestita Ceramics

But on any given day you can turn up in Grottaglie and walk the area known as the Quartier dell Ceramiche and go from one workshop to the next and see artisans turning clay, painting, dipping statues in white and creating every imaginable statue possible.

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 Paints and brushes at Giuseppe Patronelli

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Ceramiche Domenico Caretta di Pietro Caretta

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 Workshop of Giuseppe Patronelli

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Antonio La of La Grotta Ceramiche  Copyright Carla Coulson

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Exterior  La Grotta Ceramiche  Copyright Carla Coulson

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 Fountain Casa Vestita

Whilst walking from workshop to workshop with Francesca she told me about Mimmo Vestita who had an incredible Mediterranean garden right in the middle of town and who recently whilst renovating the garden had discovered the floor of a Roman Villa and a byzantine crypt.

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Antique Mediterranean garden Casa Vestita

I had co-incidently seen his garden and crypt in the beautiful magazine Cote Sud and begged to have a look.

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Ancient wine pots in the  Mediterranean garden of  Casa Vestita

It was a garden like I had never seen before. So beautiful in it’s simplicity and it’s devotion to the Mediterranean climate, plants and his collection of over 4000 pieces of ceramic.

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 Mimmo Vestita in his splendid Mediterranean garden Casa Vestita

Mimmo generously opened his garden to the ‘Caravaners’ and kindly showed us the floor of the Roman Villa his renovator found whilst restoring the garden.

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Byzantine fresco in the crypt at Casa Vestita

He also lead us down in to the exquisite Byzantine crypt that had been closed for over 400 years.

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Part of the byzantine crypt at Casa Vestita

Whilst restoring another part of the garden and pulling away broken debris and trees the gardener found a carved column. They called in the archaeological society and together they went on a magical mystery tour and found a true treasure the underground crypt.

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 Grottaglie’s Mediterranean garden in front of the castle entrance.

If you are in Puglia don’t miss a visit to beautiful Grottaglie. She’s real, she’s artistic, she hasn’t been trussed up for the tourists and there are many wonderful photos to be had.

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A giant vase inside the Ceramics Museo della Ceramiche Grottaglie

The fabulous Ceramics Museum has a collection of ceramics from the beginning of time, it’s a journey through history and habits, of simplicity, decoration and form and…. it’s free.

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 A view of the castle from Mimmo Vestita’s terrace

All photos Copyright Carla Coulson 

A giant round of applause to the all the artisans who gave their time and talent to us, who allowed us into their bottega’s to see how they work, create and maintain an ancient tradition. True southern hospitality at it’s most generous. I look forward to showing the participants work soon.

By the way, try leaving empty handed!

My addresses:

Casa Vestita

Via Crispi, 63


This is a private Mediterranean garden and the best one I have seen to date. Mimmo Vestita, the owner has a ceramics workshop up the road and not long ago unearthed a Byzantine Crypt underneath his garden and the floor of a Roman Villa. He opens the garden to the public for a small fee in August from 6pm to 10pm and regularly has exhibitions of some of his 4000 pieces of antique ceramics. DON’T MISS IT!! Follow on Facebook here.

Mimmo Vestita

via Santa Sofia


Mimmo’s bottega is up a little set of stairs and removed from the street but worth sourcing out. He sells beautiful objects for the home, vases and water jugs.

Antonio La Grotta Ceramiche

via Papa Leone XIII, 9

74023 Grottaglie

Antonio La Grotta comes from a long line of ceramists and still hand paints beautiful traditional design in all forms.

Guiseppe Patronelli

via Crispi, 23


Specialises in hand painted plates and pure white dinner services (I bought one)

Fratelli Ciro e Grazio Monteforte

via Salita Camini, 1


Beautiful Maolica pieces with colourful traditional designs

Cocci D’Autore

via Santa Sofia, 11


Heavenly white statues dipped in white

Pro Loco Grottaglie

This is the local tourist office and one of the most helpful in Italy. This should be your first stop when you arrive in Grottaglie to gather information on what you are looking for and where to eat!

You can follow the fabulous Casa Vestita here



“Each has his own happiness in his hands, as tehartist handles the rude clay he seeks to reshape it into a figure; yet is is the same with this art as with all others: only the capacity for it is innate; art itself must be learned and painstaking”. Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

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