Castelsardo is famous worldwide for the production of hand-woven baskets.
In the streets of the town, it is not rare to see women hard at work weaving colourful baskets, or fishermen stitching the traps that are lowered onto the sea floor to catch shellfish.
The local production of baskets is characterised by numerous shapes and decorative elements: the most characteristic baskets of Castelsardo are the ones with low borders used in break-baking, and the coffinus used for sweets.
Large baskets with a cylindrical or sack or bag shape are used as umbrella stands, magazine holders, or linen hampers. Other baskets have an ornamental function as table centrepieces or trivets, or are hung on the wall, where they decorate and recall the local traditions.
Baskets represent one of the first objects that originated as an essential accessory of family life. Together with ceramics, they were produced by the first primitive communities and followed the entire evolution of the human species over the centuries, never varying substantially in their structure or use.
The current Sardinian models no longer correspond to those used by the primitive inhabitants of the island; today’s production is more closely tied to the needs of modern life.
The materials, too, have been adjusted to the type of use, with straw giving way to the rougher but more uniform asphodel, and even synthetic raffia. This fibre has sometimes been used in place of palm in periods when the cost of this raw material was higher, and is also used for decorative purposes. Designs and decorations can be created with colourful raffia as well as with natural fibres, selected according to the different shades and types.
The various weaving techniques and the objects produced are on display at the Museum of Mediterranean Weaving located in the rooms of the castle.
Getting to know the traditional techniques and materials can also be useful as a guide for purchasing authentic and perfectly executed handmade products.