We The Italians | Italian handcrafts: The Art of Goldsmithery in Crotone

Italian handcrafts: The Art of Goldsmithery in Crotone

Italian handcrafts: The Art of Goldsmithery in Crotone

  • WTI Magazine #118 Aug 19, 2019
  • 521

The tradition of the art of goldsmithery in Crotone is certainly not as ancient as the city, which was founded by Greek settlers in 710 B.C., but it can still boast of roots that extend far back into history. It also draws its inspiration from Magna Graecia, as demonstrated by the typical filigree and gold work that still bears traces of the style and form of the jewellery from that time. 

Crotone's goldsmithery is an art that has an immortal charisma and is perpetuated with unchanging freshness in the workshops of the local goldsmiths.The Greek western colonies were famous for the production of items made from bronze, as well as other precious metals, such as gold and silver, which were often used as votive offerings to the gods. In the last two decades, archaeological excavations have discovered artefacts dated between the sixth and fourth centuries B.C., including masterpieces such as the winged sphinx, the gorgon, the siren, the Nuraghic Boat and the Golden Tiara: all votive offerings from pilgrims to the mythological Sanctuary of the powerful Hera Lacinia, protector of herds, prosperity and fertility.

The Sanctuary of Hera Lacinia, which is now located 12 km from the city of Crotone, was one of the most revered in the entire Mediterranean basin, and each year thousands of pilgrims would bring their most precious donations to offer them to the goddess, to ensure prosperity and fertility for their descendants.

Greatly respected well beyond the borders of Italy, the art of goldsmithery in Crotone still has multifaceted fields of application: from high fashion to the world of entertainment, from public award ceremonies to ecclesiastical gold work and jewellery.

In addition to the model provided by Magna Graecia, the goldsmiths in Crotone treasure the other stylistic elements that have characterised the artistic history of the province of Crotone and Calabria in general, often returning to Oriental, Arabic, Byzantine and Baroque influences and embellishing the gold work further by adding coral, pearls and precious stones.

The Art of Goldsmithery

The art of goldsmithery still preserves all the traditions from antiquity, and the origins of the area as well as the Byzantine, Arabic and Baroque influences can be traced back to traditional goldsmith craftsmanship.

Internationally renowned, the master goldsmiths of the area combine gold and silver with various kinds of precious materials, including pearls, carnelian, coral and precious stones, creating wonderful jewellery and examples of sacred art. 

The fame of the Crotone goldsmithing school is due to the artisan goldsmiths who work patiently every day, refining their work in their elegant boutiques and creating the jewellery that symbolises the noble tradition of made in Italy goldsmithery.

The Local Area

The city of Crotone is a seaside city with a wealth of history and culture. As a city known for its good food, it offers visitors a vast heritage, ranging from findings from Magna Graecia to Aragonese fortifications, with a historic centre from the medieval period rich in ancient sites of worship and noble residences of considerable prestige. 

The history of the city has its roots in the eighth century B.C., when it was founded under the name of Kroton by Greek colonisers, who found a mild climate and fertile land there, as well as a strategic position on the Ionian Sea, which still makes the city one of the most tactically important in the Mediterranean. 

Recently established as a province, Crotone and its territory offer visitors a natural landscape that is complete and varied, ranging from the mountain panoramas of Sila Park, to the unspoiled sea, which is home to the Capo Rizzuto reserve, the largest in Europe, with around 36 km of protected coastline, inhabited by rare species of flora and fauna. Known by the Greeks as Heraion Lakinion, the promontory of Capo Colonna houses ancient objects of inestimable historic and artistic value in the Archaeological Park.

By Camera di Commercio di Crotone with Unioncamere