Made in Italy :: AbruzzoCreativo, New-Fashioned Heritage

What do Fellini’s favourite scriptwriter, an exquisite filigree jewel and a typical fishing device like the trabocco have in common?

The AbruzzoCreativo workshop in Pescara | photo: ©MateldaCodagnone
The workshop in Pescara

They are all icons from the same region, Abruzzo, and they feature “Abruzzo Creativo” items. The mind behind the brand is Paola Mucci, an architect by trade and a creative soul at heart. Paola is deeply in love with her region (the Abruzzi), where traditional heritage is still strong and cherished by their people.

The Architect Paola Mucci and her Presentosa Glassware

The first idea came from the Taranta blanket, a  woollen matted fabric that is manufactured in the village of Taranta Peligna, Chieti. Paola’s intent was to use its unique pattern and weft in furniture design, but its exploitation proved to be difficult.
The creative spark fired after a trip to Sardinia. Sardinia’s crafts and cultural floklore have been updated in so many different ways. Why not to try with Abruzzo? These two regions share many traditional features and the bottom line was to rethink the cultural heritage of the land into a modern way. “Tradizione contemporanea” – new-fashioned heritage – was the the right key and production started with “the mug” series.

Mugs show Abruzzo icons: Ennio Flaiano’s portrait – journalist, humorist and Fellini’s best scriptwriter, the Presentosa – a filigree pendant jewel – and the trabocchi, (a fishing device). The challenge is to bring up to light Abruzzo treasures, especially the ones that are little known and even less promoted. A natural outcome of this is the “Provincia” series, four mugs bearing four “hidden” treasures of each Abruzzo province: Roman mosaic floor in Vasto, Atri Cathedral rose window, Scanno typical women’s dress and Pescara Ponte del Mare (i.e. Sea bridge).

The path was set and Paola thought about new subjects, all of them with a strong and direct link to her region: Bruno the brown bear, the sheep and the “papalina” (a type of oily fish) and kitchenware production includes walnut chopping boards, glasses, pot mats, and coffee cups. 

"i so' d'abruzz" - Bruno the brown bear and the bird | photo: ©ockstyle

Abruzzo Creativo knows how to combine long-standing cultural heritage with a modern style; because only if you know your roots, you will be able to express yourself in an original way. And that is exactly what Abruzzo Creativo does with its products.

Deliciously Abruzzo @ La Grande Quercia

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Cooking tools @ La Grande Quercia | photo: ©Lonza65

At La Grande Quercia, dishes follow season cycle, so menus change according to the produce available. Don’t forget to ask for their signature lamb dish, “agnello incaporchiato” [anyello incaporkiato]. It requires a few ingredients: a leg of lamb, extra-virgin olive oil, white wine, rosemary, a couple of cloves of garlic.

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Prepping “agnello incaporchiato” @ La Grande Quercia | photo: ©Lonza65

This recipe comes from the old days when people did not have meat very often, so when there was the chance to cook it, they used to put another pot on top (incaporchiato), so that the smell could not go out and tell the neighbours that something good was on the stove. At La Grande Quercia a heavy lid is used instead, and the stewing is perfect.

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Deliciously Abruzzo :: Mamma Maria @ La Grande Quercia | photo: ©Lonza65

The true secret is mamma Maria’s cooking mastery – and the weight of the stones…

Read more about La Grande Quercia :: Harvesting time and family recipes

Portrait of a Blacksmith :: Filippo, Iron Man 72.0

In these days the Adriatic coast around Pescara is flooded with 2000+ participants to the IronMan Italy 70.3. Someone who, in a reasonable time, can swim about 2k, bike for 90k and run 21k can be regarded as an “iron” man (or woman). But someone who handles iron as if it were modeling clay and is able to create a piece of art from some scrap iron, he well deserves the name of “Iron Man”, too.

Filippo Scioli - Blacksmith in Guardiagrele, Chieti, Abruzzo photos: © Matelda Codagnone and © Lonza65

I met Filippo Scioli in his workshop in Guardiagrele, (Chieti, Italy), a mid-sized village nesting at the foot of the Maiella massif. Filippo is 72 and, when I asked him to describe himself, he just said “I am a blacksmith”. However, it is quite an understatement, since from Filippo’s anvil and hammer unique masterpieces come out. His father was a farrier and his grandfather’s job was farming tool maker. His main feature is that his artistic works (be it a dog, a rose or an andiron) do not need soldering because he just need one single piece of iron to accomplish his idea. He just need to hold some scrap iron in his hands and he knows exactly what he can obtain from it.
photo: © Lonza65
He likes to say that he is a “cittadino della Terra” (citizen of the Earth) because he does not like labels or definitions. “We’re all citizens of the Earth”, he says. And that is enough for him.

His works can be admired in Texas, Canada, Czech Republic and many other places, his presence is required at the most important arts and crafts fairs and Filippo rarely says no.

Just like the real great artists, he is not jealous of his skills, he willingly teaches everyone who is interested how to forge iron.

His workshop frequently hosts classes of students of every age, but Filippo’s eyes sparkle when he tells me about the disabled students that, on regular basis, visit his shop. “I don’t care if they don’t hit the iron, I am happy to teach them the things I can do.”

Filippo is like a river in full spate. While we talk, he is busy forging a rose with his hammer. I immediately realize that there is no noise inside the shop, but sound. And indeed, the hammer falling on the anvil creates a rhythm that Filippo composes every time he forges a new item. He says “iron talks, the hammer sings”.

You might think that this man in his Seventies is a laid-back guy. Not in the least. He radiates energy and stamina in every single move, his favorite music is country music – two cd players work at full blast in the shop and his favorite singer is Johnny Cash. This larger-than-life blacksmith is a man of parts. Besides being a talented craftsman, a big-hearted man, a great entertainer, he’s a poet, too. When the rose is finished, before we say “arrivederci”, he says these words.

photo: © Matelda Codagnone

“Come vedete, questa rosa non ha spine. Questa rosa non appassisce, non muore mai. Potremmo dire che è una rosa perfetta. Ma ahimè, al mondo niente è perfetto, anche questa ha il suo difetto. Il difetto che ha è che non profuma. Comunque, io c’ho messo il mio cuore di artigiano per farla. Chi la compra ci metterà il suo profumo.”

“As you can see, this rose has no thorns. This rose does not wither, it never dies. We can say that it is a perfect rose. But, alas, in this world nothing is perfect, this rose has its flaw. It has no smell. Anyway, I made it with all my craftsman’s heart. Whoever buys it, they will choose its fragrance.”

Next time you see some scrap iron, try to look at it with Filippo’s eyes. It may conceal a rose. And a fragrance, too.

Contact: Maestro Filippo Scioli
Mobile: +39 335 6073140
Telephone: +39 0871 86349
email: filipposcioli@email.it
Workshop: Via Occidentale, 21 – 66016 Guardiagrele (Chieti)

Spaghetti alla chitarra di zio Francesco

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Lanciano, Abruzzo: Once upon a time there was a very good flour…

A great Sunday lunch fully homemade by zio Francesco and his family, and here are the pictures of some the delicious food we’ve enjoyed…

Travel Bites: Spaghetti alla chitarra, a project of Travel Abruzzo


  • Pallotte in the making for Spaghetti alla chitarra di zio Francesco | Photo ©OrsolaCirielloKogan
  • Pallotte for Spaghetti alla chitarra di zio Francesco | Photo ©OrsolaCirielloKogan
  • Handmade Spaghetti alla chitarra di zio Francesco | Photo ©OrsolaCirielloKogan
  • Handmade Spaghetti alla chitarra di zio Francesco | Photo ©OrsolaCirielloKogan
  • Plating Spaghetti alla chitarra di zio Francesco | Photo ©OrsolaCirielloKogan
  • Making Spaghetti alla chitarra (and the sauce) di zio Francesco | Photo ©OrsolaCirielloKogan