Budding balconies in Grottaglie
Grottaglie in Puglia’s Taranto region is famous for the production of ceramics and pottetry, as illustrated by the symbolic budding balconies.
Italian balconies are generally an elaborate affair with a picturesque profusion of plants, flowers and other kinds of life. Potted basil and sage serve as makeshift kitchen gardens; there’s storage room for strings of onion, garlic, tomatoes and chilli; chairs for stringing beans and chatting with a neighbours; baskets on a line to heave up groceries; and colourful orgies of potted plants and flowers balancing delicately on the wrought iron railings.
The first times I visited Italy, I walked the streets in fear of concussion and skull fracture in case a casual elbow or a gust of wind should send the terracotta pots tumbling. Then I discovered the giant spikes keeping the potted flowers in place and felt more safe. I actually started to enjoy looking for the tiny, well-trimmed hanging gardens, and in the Puglian town Grottaglie my attention was particularly rewarded.
The Symbolic Meaning of Budding Balconies
The inhabitants in this ‘Città della Ceramica’ decorate their balconies with ‘lu pumu’. A ceramic flower bud placed on the corner spikes of balconies as a good omen. Whether these glazed buds that supposedly bring luck, fertility and abundance spring from old superstitions and folklore, I haven’t been able to find out. They may also be a successful result of commercial product development in one of the local potteries. Anyway I think it is a pretty tradition.
If you are planning to visit Grottaglie, you might also like these posts