Piana degli Albanesi is a small town set among the mountains of Palermo's hinterland. It is known for its lake, nature trails, Easter season celebrations, and the best cannolo in Sicily (by many accounts!).
This small town is also proud for being one of the most significant Arbëreshë language communities in Sicily, Albanians who moved to southern Italy after the Turkish conquest of the Balkans, passing down from generation to generation a handicraft production.
On this private handicraft tour, you will learn about the history of this community and meet women and men who still devotedly carry on goldsmithing, embroidery, and the art of sacred icons.
Golds from Piana degli Albanesi are an institution across the island. For generations, the most beautiful jewelry continues to be crafted with timeless style. We’ll go into a workshop in the heart of the town, that is a kind of "Wunderkammern," a small treasure chest where we'll admire necklaces, belts, and earrings that women wear during the Easter season.
Afterward, we will be enchanted by the skilled hands of the embroiderers, who work on the golden thread on traditional costumes, true masterpieces. Maria and the other embroiderers will welcome us into their home to attend the creation of unique pieces.
Finally, we will get to know the art of iconography that flourished thanks to the initiative of a few who became celebrated in the village for their extraordinary skills. The icons adorning Byzantine-rite churches were made by artisans who still paint inside their home studios, in rooms where time seems to have stopped.