In Conversation with Ceramists Giovanna Alò and Enza Fasano
Puglia is certainly known for its unique geological landscape, but the town of Grottaglie in Taranto is particularly renowned for its ceramic production. We spoke with mother Enza Fasano and daughter Giovanna Alò, fourth and fifth generation ceramists respectively, about the artisanal traditions of their hometown. Their company bears the name Enza Fasano Ceramiche and was established 10 years ago, but the rise of this artisanal family begins with Enza’s grandfather, and its story dates back centuries, suggesting a long-time refinement of the local craft.
Address: Via Caravaggio, 31, 74023 Grottaglie TA, Italie
Best time to visit: Visit by appointment
How does the ancient town of Grottaglie influence your work and creative expression as ceramicists?
Well, our region has always produced ceramics for daily use – since medieval times at least. In the 16th century, however, ceramists began to make objects in a more ornamental and refined style. This particular region influences our work because it has a massive repertoire of traditional forms and decorations that we have since carried forward, reinterpreted, innovated, and given a more contemporary character. We keep our tradition and culture alive by working with the forms that make up [Taranto]'s great archive.
What makes the place where you live special to you?
Above all, this historic quartiere delle ceramiche – the ceramics district, in which such objects have been produced since the Middle Ages. It is one of the oldest ceramic-producing neighbourhoods in Italy, perhaps even in the world.
If friends from abroad were visiting, where should they go for a local dining experience?
We always suggest Ceglie Messapica, a town about twenty minutes away. It is essentially the gastronomic capital of Puglia, and you can eat very well – all sorts of authentic, typical foods in a very charming historic centre. It’s like diving into history.
What about a morning coffee?
In Grottaglie? A coffee in Piazza Regina Margherita after they visit the ceramics district!
Where would you go for a quiet, rejuvenating escapade?
We particularly like Locorotondo: it’s a small settlement on a little hill, but very lovely, peaceful and relaxing. The name [which means “round place”] derives from the circular structure of the city perched on the top, as seen from the bottom of the hill.
Is there a local dish that you think best captures the soul of your city?
Something that Grottaglie makes very well are our orecchiette with rapini, known as orecchiette con le cime di rapi.
Any a local tip you could share?
We would suggest visiting the ravines in the area, particularly that of San Giorgio, and the many caves that have been around since prehistoric times.
"We keep our tradition and culture alive by working with the forms that make up [Taranto]'s great archive."
Giovanna Alò and Enza Fasano, co-owners at Enza Fasano Ceramiche
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