What to bring home from Sardinia - The top 6 best souvenirs from Sardinia!
What can you buy to take some of the magical atmosphere of Sardinia home with you?
In Sardinia, as in any other tourist destination, it is possible to find souvenirs such as postcards, magnets and keyrings but, wouldn't you rather bring home or gift an original artwork that truly represents Sardinia?
Sardinian handicrafts are the ideal souvenirs to bring home from the island. Handicraft arts have ancient origins and were influenced by the civilizations that attempted to conquer the island. Today, artisans still create these objects using traditional techniques, making ideal souvenirs that will remind you of Sardinia's magical atmosphere.
In this article, you will find the must-have souvenirs.
Baskets - “Scarteddu” in Sardinian
Basket weaving is an important form of art that has been practiced on the island since prehistoric times. Shepherds', farmers', and craftsmen's homes were modestly furnished but abundant in baskets used for a variety of purposes. The baskets were typically hung on a wall or placed on chairs. The baskets are made from different types of materials, including wheat straw, asphodel, cane, and dwarf palm.
If you wish to learn more about this art, there is a museum dedicated to it at Castelsardo, on Sardinia's northern coast, called the Museo dell'Intreccio Mediterraneo.
Traditional masks - “Màscaras”in Sardinian
Traditional masks symbolize the Sardinian carnival, the atmosphere of this carnival is less bright and festive than that of a traditional one. This is because Sardinian Carnival incorporates old agro-pastoral and rural ceremonies that symbolize the relationship between humans and nature. The masks are carved in wood and vary from area to area. Among the Sardinian masks, the best known is called 'Mamuthones' which is associated with the Mamoiada Carnival. These figures wear black wooden mask, dark sheepskins, and a woman's headscarf. Twelve Mamuthones (one for each month of the year) parade through the streets of the village, jumping rhythmically and ringing in unison the 30 kilos of cowbells tied to their backs.
Sardinian masks are typical of the central part of the island, buy them for an ancient flavour of Sardinia. If you want to know more about these masks you can visit the Museo delle Maschere mediterranee.
Knives - “Arresoja” in Sardinian
Given the abundance of metals in Sardinia, the fabrication of cutting blades as everyday utensils is a tradition that may be traced back to the Nuragic era. These knives are now valuable collector's items. The classic Sardinian knife is a switchblade with a hardened, stainless, or carbon steel blade.
The handle is typically composed of bone; the type of bone varies from mouflon horn to mutton horn, and in less valuable variants, goat horn.
While “arresoja” is the local term for these knives, they are also known as “pattada,” which is the name of the village where they are primarily made.
Taking a knife home as a souvenir is only possible if you are checking a bag.
Cork boards - “Talleri” in Sardinian - and other cork objects
Cork is found in abundance in Sardinia thanks to the cork oak forests in the Gallura region (northeast Sardinia) an area that alone covers almost two thirds of Italian cork production. Cork serving boards are normally made with a concave shape, as their function is to hold food, and they are especially used for serving salami, ham and cheese but also roasts or other cooked foods. In addition to the 'talleri', corks, jugs, bottle holders and other objects are also traditional items made of cork. In modern times, cork is also used to make shoes, bracelets, clothes and bags, which are usually embellished with beads, charms and stones that make them an elegant and unique fashion piece.
The most original souvenirs can be bought in Gallura. If you want to learn more about the art and history of cork-making, check out the Facebook page of the Cork Museum of Calagianus which is the island's major cork production area.
Filigree jewellery - “Prenda” in Sardinian
According to legend, it was the Janas (fairies or witches) who, by weaving golden threads in the moonlight on their magic looms, created Sardinian filigree jewellery. Traditional Sardinian jewellery’s delicate and elaborate designs, inspired by Egyptians and Phoenicians, have remained unchanged for generations. Nowadays crafters twist long, thin wires of gold or silver into earrings, rings, pendants, and bracelets. Their jewellery may be found in little boutiques all throughout the island.
The legend of the Sardinian wedding ring originates from the requests of young lovers who begged the Janas to create a ring to give to their loved ones: a jewel representing the two lovers (the two threads), the indissolubility of the bond (the weaving and the soldering), and prosperity (the wheat).
Ceramic plates “Prattu” in Sardinian
Ceramics, like all other traditions, has remote origins in Sardinia; the island's most important archaeological museums house artifacts dating back five thousand years. Thanks to the workshops of local artisans, this ancient art is still alive. The most popular ceramic objects are plates of various sizes and shapes with decorations inspired by local fauna and agricultural traditions.
If plates are not to your taste, there are other objects that might interest you like jugs, bowl used for dough, vases for preserving food, lamps, and little sculptures.
If you want to bring home souvenirs from the best local craftsmen and artists but don't have the time to travel all over Sardinia to buy these directly from the artist, Delizie di Sardegna, located in Cagliari's historic centre, is the place to go because here you will find the best traditional Sardinian handicraft products and much more
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