What can lovers of traditional crafts find in Genoa? Genoa’s handicraft culture is above all Liguria’s traditional craftsmanship, starting with its fine silk and damask fabrics, which are still produced by hand in the workshops of Liguria’s eastern Riviera.
A traditional fine craft product of Genoa’s inland areas – especially Campoligure – is silver filigree, an ancient technique whereby the skilled hands of craftspeople create jewellery and other items. Another inland craft tradition is to be found – this time in Mele – in the paper made by hand using ancient techniques by a master paper-maker working in the former paper mill that has been converted into a museum. In the inland areas to the east there are still slate quarries where the black stone is extracted primarily for use in the construction industry. However, small craft workshops can be found selling souvenirs made from the material.
In Genoa, especially in the old town centre, there are many shops where visitors can buy hand-made articles, often unique items of high value, although not always traditional local craft items in the strict sense: tailor’s and dressmaker’s shops, shops selling jewellery and items made from paper, ceramics, wood and glass workshops and small shops selling design items. Visitors can buy household or gift items that cannot be found elsewhere, such as marble mortars with wooden pestles for making pesto alla genovese in the traditional manner, copper pans for baking farinata in for wood-fired ovens, or mezzeri, large cotton sheets decorated with flower motifs and drawings, which are a very common item in Genoa’s houses and can be found in fabric and drapery stores.
Food, on the other hand, is everything in one: craft, Genoa and tradition. Jars of pesto, chocolates, fondants, candied fruit and pasta are just some of the specialities to take home as a souvenir of a city which is a feast for the eyes and the palate.