Category Archives: Italy

Travel Photography Series Part 5 – Colour Palettes

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Octopus Panino Polignano A Mare Copyright Carla Coulson

For those of you who love travel photography I started a Travel Photography series a while back. The series was in four parts and covers food, people, architecture and events and if you missed them the links are at the end of this post.

I have been meaning forever to add a chat about colour palettes as it is important when creating a travel story so I have added a fifth part to this series.

Colour is one of the most powerful tools we have to use in photography. And when you look around life just serves up the most extraordinary colour situations and is often repeated in the strangest of subjects. Love this!

The way we use colour in our images talks about what we want to say, what mood we want to create, what feelings we want to heighten and it can also speak of your style. Just the way painters choose a colour palette when creating a canvas we can do the same thing with photography.

Some photographers will go out of their way to avoid a certain colour or go in search of their favourite colours across a range of subjects.

The language of magazines and the way an art director will put together a story revolves around the way images sit harmoniously together and it all depends on the colour.

Here’s a quick look at some colour palettes:

Neutral Colours

Nordic photographers are famous for their simple colour palettes based around white and neutral tones of beige and grey which bring a sense of calm, serenity and cleanliness to their images.

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Neutral Colours of blue, terracotta and green at Masseria Cimino Copyright Carla Coulson

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Neutral colours of white beige and brown repeated in statues in a workshop and the baroque streets of Martina Franca

Copyright Carla Coulson

Spot Colour

Shooting a spot colour can be loads of fun, like going on a treasure hunt. You can focus on one particular colour that appears in all sorts of different situations with a neutral background.  It could be red repeated in a jumper, a sign, scarf, or a door or in the case below the green doors, curtains and shutters against the white backdrop of Puglia. It adds a pop of energy to your images.

Green

 Spot colour on the streets of Ceglie Messapica and Door Martina Franca Copyright Carla Coulson

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 Neutral colours of white and blue repeated in the streets, shirt and umbrella

with a spot colour of yellow repeated in the tie and doorway

Local boy and a street in Ceglie Messapica Copyright Carla Coulson

Bright Colours

Bright, strong saturated colours bring a sensation of energy to a photo if combined harmoniously. When I was shooting the pics below on different days in different locations I was surprised at the repetition of royal blue and orange..

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Beach Polignano A Mare and San Vito Polignano A Mare Copyright Carla Coulson

There are loads of other colour palettes you can choose to photograph including beautiful pastels, serene blues, dark colours to add mood or quirky colour combinations.

Depending on your aesthetic as a photographer as to which colour palettes you will find pleasing.

If you would love to hone your travel photography skills and shoot colour palettes to your heart’s content you might like to join me and my ‘Caravan’ and travel to the yet to be discovered part of Puglia in Southern Italy (where my hubby’s from and in the pics above) with like-minded souls. It’s gonna be fun! All details here.

If you want to read more travel photography posts you might like these about Food, People, Architecture and Events.

My Favourite Gear

Canon EOS 5D Mark III 

Canon EF 24-70mm 

Canon EF 35mm 

“Own only what you can always carry with you: know languages, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag.” Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

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How To Shoot An Event As Part Of A Travel Story – Procession in Ceglie Messapica

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The ‘main event’ the statue of San Antonio di Padova in the streets of Ceglie Messapica copyright Carla Coulson

I love the feeling of arriving in a new place, my ‘photographer’s antenna’ on overdrive at all the wonderful nuances and differences of that town or country. I am endlessly fascinated by the food, the architecture, the scents, feelings and excitement it all inspires.

I have always loved to travel and it was by no accident I passed the first 12 years of my photography career as a travel photographer. I knew in my heart the day I started photography school that was what I wanted to do.

One of my favourite aspects of travel photography is shooting a cultural, sporting, musical, religious or fashion event that is particular to that place.

There are many great reasons why you should shoot an event as part of a travel story. When we are photographing a place we are trying to tell a story of that place, it’s people, it’s culture, they way they live, eat and enjoy life.

An event inspires powerful feelings. As photographers to tell a great travel story means more than a sun setting over the sea, it means showing emotion, belief, joy, happiness, devotion and connection of the people to that place. Lots of these emotions naturally occur at events.

It’s also a great way of using the place as a backdrop whilst something rich is going on.

An event often has deep historical significance, it’s part of a tradition that can go back for centuries and the whole town turns out in their best outfit for it!

Oh and there are fabulous costumes, brass bands, fairy lights and a whole lot more depending on the particular event.

Before I shoot an event, I research it.

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Shooting around the event nun arriving at the church copyright Carla Coulson

These are some of the things I take into consideration when I shoot an event:

1.  What’s its history, what is the story or legend behind the event?

2. I want to know how the event ‘works’. What time it starts and finishes. This is really important in regards to shooting it as often events are held at sundown or night and this needs to be calculated when planning your equipment and degree of difficulty.

3. Where it is and is there a particular route it follows? I walk the route if this is possible looking at all sorts of vantage points where I could shoot from.

4. I do light tests if an interior venue is to be used..

5. What’s the main event? In these pictures the main event is the men carrying the statue.

6. What’s going on around the event? This often is more interesting than the main event. It could be people arriving, worshipping, selling things, children together playing. All sorts of things happen around the main event and there are many beautiful storytelling  moments to be captured.

7. I am constantly looking, scouting around to see what I can find that isn’t the ‘main event’. I have learnt throughout the years that often the best shots around to be found in the streets around the main event, backstage or afterwards when everyone is relaxed.

8. When someone points something out or suggests something I will go and check it out.

9. I have fun.. cause an event feels like a big fabulous party..

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Shooting around the event copyright Carla Coulson

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A new perspective copyright Carla Coulson

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Shooting around the event copyright Carla Coulson

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 The main event and a side story copyright Carla Coulson

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Shooting around the event, lady waiting for the procession copyright Carla Coulson

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Shooting around the event.. cat waiting for procession copyright Carla Coulson

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The boys in the band copyright Carla Coulson

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A new angle on the main event copyright Carla Coulson
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The Boys in the band during a break copyright Carla Coulson Carla Coulson procession ceglie messapica puglia san antonio di padova 0018

 The statue of San Antonio di Padova just before it leaves the town copyright Carla Coulson

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 The statue leaving the old town copyright Carla Coulson

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Shooting around the event.. fairy lights that decorate the town copyright Carla Coulson

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Families who join the ‘after party’ copyright Carla Coulson

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A selfie with the lights behind.. copyright Carla Coulson

All these photos were shot during last years Caravan Travel Photography Workshop in Puglia Italy. If you would like to eat, breath and  live travel photography for 7 days next June in beautiful Puglia please click here for more information.

I hope you enjoyed this insight into travel photography.

“As a young boy growing up in rural India, most of what I knew of the world was what I could see around me. But each night, I would look at the Moon – it was impossibly far away, yet it held a special attraction because it allowed me to dream beyond my village and country, and think about the rest of the world and space.” Naveen Jain

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Caravan Travel Photography Workshop 2015 – Puglia

Caravan TPW 2015 flagsmall new 10-17th june 2015

CARAVAN – PUGLIA ITALY 10-17TH JUNE 2015

I am super excited to announce that the second edition of the Caravan Travel Photography Workshop will be held in beautiful Puglia in June 2015. This year we have added an extra day and night so you can squeeze one more day out of beautiful Southern Italy.

Join my ‘caravan’ on a road less travelled to the boot of Italy, in the beautiful region of Puglia. A journey to the Valle D’Itria region that will make your heart sing and take your Travel Photography skills to a new level. Puglia was once the road that linked Rome to other Mediterranean civilizations and has a tradition of rich culture, history, agriculture and a knockout cuisine.

Seven incredible days of tuition and travel, photographing beautiful Martina Franca, Cisternino, Ceglie Messapica, Grottaglie and Masseria Cimino whilst learning the essentials of interiors, portraiture, life photography, landscapes, cityscapes, food and still life.

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Travel has been part of my photographic journey and I have invested the past 13 years of my life learning how to capture photos with soul and to craft a story with a photo.

Learn my methods of taking travel photos with emotion, how to tell your story of a place in a unique way, create your own style so you can stand out from the crowd, how to master natural light and to take authentic portraits in a yet to be discovered part of Italy.

Each day we will spend up to 2-3 hours on the theory of a particular theme of travel photography in the classroom and on the streets and the rest of the day on location capturing images. Each participant will be encouraged to send a small portfolio of images to be critiqued prior to starting the workshop and to present their favourite 10 image on the last evening.

You will have an experience of a lifetime and walk away with confidence in your photography and a beautiful travel portfolio.

Full details here 

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain

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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.

My Greek Island Home Carla Coulson Claire Lloyd Matthew Usmar Lauder

 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

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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

Grottaglie

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

Grottaglie

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

Grottaglie

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

Fratelli Ciro e Grazio Monteforte

via Salita Camini, 1

Grottaglie

Beautiful Maolica pieces with colourful traditional designs

Cocci D’Autore

via Santa Sofia, 11

Grottaglie

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

THANKS GROTTAGLIE, WE LOVE YOU!

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“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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