On the hills a few miles from Salerno CilentoLab is waiting for you: discover a special place where pottery comes to life in your hands
It is about a thousand years old, but it doesn't show it at all. The art of pottery is one of those unbreakable landmarks when we refer to the craftsmanship of our Bel Paese, a skillful mixture of technique, creativity, patience, passion and attention to detail that allows us to bring to life precious objects, creating pieces that are unique, unrepeatable, like a fingerprint.
If you find yourself in the multi-colored Cilento region, you should know that about 30 kilometers from Santa Maria di Castellabate you will find Orria, a small village 500 meters above sea level, which hosts CilentoLab, a reality that has made a mission out of artisan passion.
In Giulia Marzaro's retreat, you will find fine jewelry and refined homewares, but you can also challenge yourself by participating in creative pottery and sculpture workshops: an original and satisfying way to spend your free times on vacation, but also to re-establish an authentic manual contact with Mother Earth.
A tiny paradise in the heart of Cilento
Imagine being in a corner of another world, where rhythms are noticeably slower, city chaos seems a far-off memory and any noises you may hear belong to the surrounding nature. This place really exists and is called Orria, a tiny village that sits on a hilltop in the Cilento, Vallo di Diano and Alburni National Park, surroundend by the salty scent of the sea and the crisp smell of fir trees.
This area is just one of the many faces of Cilento, a Mediterranean pearl that offers breathtaking views, between the woods and the Tyrrhenian Sea, well-known vacation destinations such as Paestum, Palinuro and, of course, Castellabate, a charming town that was the location for the film "Benvenuti al Sud".
But above all, this land is rich in ancient enchanting and attractive villages unfortunately experiencing depopulation. Just to overcome this unfortunate phenomenon, young natives of these places are trying to set up occupations that not only enhance the territory and its fruits, but also adapt to the lifestyle of the people who live there, taking up artisan traditions that are now the preserve of a few. It is an attempt to reconnect with the past, but with an optimistic look toward the future.
And here this link is literally visible in the center of Orria, a town of just under a thousand inhabitants, more precisely in the district of Piano Vetrale, where a series of murals that have now become famous pay homage to the rural customs, identity and history of the village.
In order to maintain the beauty of these villages and push them into the future, it is important to divulge and preserve the ancient crafts: that's precisely the mission of CilentoLab, which takes the raw material for its activities precisely from the land.
CilentoLab: the house of pottery
Some pottery crafts in CilentoLab
We could imagine a common thread between murals and Giulia's pottery, a special connection between antiquity and modernity on different supports but coming from the same matrix: the soil.
Both the street art and the artifacts, indeed, are the result of the handiwork and creative flair of their creator, they are able to give a new and unique face respectively to the facade of a building and to a pile of clay, and both bear an imprint of immediacy and uniqueness: no two murals or two objects are perfectly the same.
We might think that somehow the creative energy in Orria has captured and attracted the owner of CilentoLab there.
Giulia comes from Venice and after studying art in all its forms (drawing, sculpture, architecture, restoration, and goldsmithing) she had lived in London and in many cities in the United States, absorbing the beauty of these places and making it her own. But finally, in 2021, she picked Cilento as her place of the heart and decided to give birth to her creature right here.
CilentoLab is a two-sided space: a store where you can buy beautiful handmade items but also a creative lab where you can challenge yourself as well.
The preciousness of ceramics
CilentoLab is Giulia's venue for carrying on a thousand-year-old and still currently vigorous tradition, the one of working with pottery and clay.
In the retail store and online shop, you will find beautiful earrings and necklaces and a line of fine accessories for home and kitchen, such as cups, glasses, bowls, aperitif sets, jugs, trays, plates, vases and tableware, all shaped and painted by hand.
If you love unique examples that can enrich your everyday life or you want to give a special present to your loved ones, all you have to do is take a look at the rich collection signed CilentoLab and buy your favorite item.
The workshops: now it's your turn
CilentoLab handcraft pottery workshops in Orria
But CilentoLab is above all the perfect place for anyone who loves to challenge themselves and create. If you love working with pottery, making sculptures, painting and drawing and wish to discover the secrets of these arts in touch with an expert, all you have to do is make a little pit stop in Orria and book your workshop on your vacation in the province of Salerno.
During the art workshops held by Giulia you will learn all the techniques involved in working with ceramics and clay, starting from the basic to the most sophisticated ones.
These courses are dedicated to adults (but also to entire families), beginners or experts, lasting a minimum of 4 hours up to the whole day and allowing you to create, paint, bake and finally take your object with you.
The aim of these workshops is to help you discover your inner artist, but also to allow you to relax in an alternative way, to unplug by focusing on a creative activity, to improve your manual skills, and above all to make friends with other art lovers. Courses accept a minimum of 4 up to a maximum of 8 people at a time, in order to allow Giulia to follow and support everyone with care and attention, but individual formulas are also possible upon request.
CilentoLab awaits you on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 2 to 6 p.m. or Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Moreover, if you want to spend a different evening, join in the creative aperitifs: you can make your own pottery craft or painting while sipping a glass of wine and admiring the beautiful Cilento sunset, a unique experience to be enjoyed alone, in couples or with your friends; just book a date and show up in Orria, loaded with ideas, at 7 p.m.