If you’re in Sicily and are looking for some quirky Christmas gift ideas for your family and friends back home, ditch the souvenir shop and go straight to one of these places! They are some of my personal favourites.
1. A hand-bound book from Liber
These awesome young ladies have brought a forgotten tradition back to life. They can literally bind anything using any material they find; books, photo albums, sketch-books, diaries, even tiny little books you can use as pendants. Really worth checking them out – their store is right in the city centre of Palermo.
2. An original hand-made pupo by the Cuticchio brothers
Sicilian puppet theatre (Teatro dei Pupi) is one of the oldest traditions still alive in Sicily. The Cuticchio family is one of the historical families of pupari and they host seasonal shows in their small theatre in Palermo. They also make their own puppets in the little bottega opposite the theatre. This is not a shop as such, but if you ask them well in advance they might create a hand-made pupo for you – you would take home a real piece of history.
3. A unique piece of fashion designed by Siculamente
These guys are geniuses. And I’m sorry I can’t explain just how awesome they are, because all of their designs, slogans and creative concept are based on very local old sayings and cultural references that are impossible to translate even from Sicilian to Italian. Basically, they take all the things your gran would say and mix them up with fake English words and tongue-in-cheek visuals puns. Here’s an example (pirati no cool sounds like the Sicilian for ‘kick in the ass’).
4. A classic coppola from La Coppola Storta
If you’re looking for something a little more traditional, but still unique, head to this store and check out their many versions of the original Sicilian hat – coppola. Here’s where you can find them.
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5. Sicilian patisserie to go
And finally, something for your sweet-tooth too! This traditional Sicilian cake (cassata) was made by Oscar, but there are lots of very good patisseries out there that will be happy to give you a fligth-proof packaging for your precious dessert gifts. Just ask!