I met Marcella Cazzato through Instagram and her passion for Puglia’s slow lifestyle is inspiring and intoxicating. A freelance stylist, content creator and photographer based in The Netherlands, Marcella has Italian roots and founded Tre Gioie dalla Puglia together with her mom during the pandemic. The brand was born to bring the southern Italian lifestyle into your home through handwoven linens and beautiful accessories.
“People really relax when they gather around the table with their friends and family. I want to inspire people to pay attention to this special moment to help them understand slow living — something the Pugliese locals are masters at,” says Marcella.
What inspired you to start Tre Gioie dalla Puglia?
I have always been fascinated by the local artists in Puglia. When I was younger, my parents brought me and my sisters to my father’s hometown in Puglia every summer to visit old friends. In Puglia, almost everyone works with traditional handicrafts. We visited olive oil producers for our oil, local ceramicists for our plates, and visited many antique dealers for vintages vases. I was lucky to discover so many beautiful arts and I fell in love with them.
Two years ago I met Massimo, who had recently taken over a tessitura (weaving studio) from his father, and he showed me his fabrics. They were beautiful! At that time, I was working as a stylist and marketer at a resale company for second-hand designer clothing, so I was immersed in the fast fashion world with its terrible production processes. It was refreshing to see a small factory where everything was produced locally on a small scale, under the right working conditions and above all, with a lot of passion.
This philosophy isn’t only important during the production process, but it also influences consumer behavior. The way we shop now has a lot to do with our lifestyle, and I believe we need to switch to more conscientious consumption. After I met Massimo, I resigned from my previous job and founded Tre Gioie together with my mom. With Tre Gioie we focus on ethically and “slowly” made products that will stay with you for a lifetime.
I love your brand because you’re really helping to safeguard southern Italy’s traditions. Tell me a little bit about the artisans you work with.
We only work with local makers from Puglia who are masters of their craft. Massimo’s family has producing linens since 1950 using traditional machines that only produce 40 meters of fabric a day. The quantity is limited, but the quality far exceeds anything industrial machines can create nowadays. The details are handmade hand by Massimo’s wife, and his brother also works in the factory. It makes me so happy to support this beautiful family business.
This year we are also launching a straw bag collection created by one of the few women left who practice the traditional art of manual weaving. “Giunco” is an important art in Puglia dating back to 1880. Unfortunately, because of the plastic industry, manual weaving has almost totally disappeared and is in danger of extinction. These stories remind me how important it is to support local arts. We think we want everything cheap and fast, but the trade-off means losing creativity, craftsmanship and tradition. With this new bag collection, we want to invest in local arts and help contribute to rebuilding this industry.
What are a few of your favorite places in Puglia?
Santa Maria di Leuca is my favorite place for sure. When I am in Puglia, I like to go there in the afternoon to have a swim when the sun is going down. The lightning is stunning so it’s great for photos. Afterwards I love to go to a beautiful restaurant called Boccaccio, which serves dishes with ingredients that were grown within a 2-km radius. They only have three types of pasta on the menu and they are always delicious. Then I always go for a “passeggiata” to visit markets with artists and music in the evening. Walking in a long, breezy dress with a gelato in one hand and my handmade bag in the other is my favorite way to end the day.
I also love to visit Presicce, my father’s hometown, because he always shows us hidden gems in his village. Each summer the locals organize open gardens and you can walk around all the ancient courtyard gardens with lots of history behind them. It is breathtakingly beautiful! Presicce also has underground olive mills that span hundreds of square meters under the town’s historic streets.
Ostuni is a bigger city which has a great vintage market on the second Sunday of the month. If you are looking for vintage ceramics, this is the place to be. There are also many nice traditional and modern restaurants. One of my favorites is Osteria CasaCiacca, but there are many more to discover.
What is a mantra you live by?
“I am going to make everything around me beautiful — that will be my life.”
This is a quote by Elsie de Wolfe, one of the first female interior designers, and it sums up the life I want to live. I have a great love for everything beautiful and I feel that very deeply. I’m a passionate person, and beautiful art often moves me to tears. I think it’s also very Italian, to live a life filled with appreciation for music, art, fashion, interior design; but also simple pleasures like food, sunsets, flowers. Italians are so passionate about these things, and that is why I feel this strong connection to this part of my roots.
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