If you’ve already had the chance to wander on our website, you might have noticed that on Putia.eu the items you wish to purchase aren't added to a cart, but to a panaro. If you happen to know what a panaro is, then maybe you even smiled at our little joke. If not, the big picture above probably clued you in.
“U panaru” (in the original Sicilian) is a handmade basket made of interwoven stripes of wood (usually reed or wild olive), traditionally used to carry bread, eggs or fruit. If you walk in small towns or even in big cities, you can still see it being tied to a rope and lowered from a balcony, only to be pulled up again after it’s been filled with stuff.
Like most things of an old-fashioned taste, the making of a “panaro” is at risk of becoming a mere show for tourists' exclusive entertainment, losing its actual value.
We’re talking instead of complex techniques, passed on from one generation to the next, to make something with a specific function, rather than an object of beauty.
The panaro itself comes in different shapes and sizes depending on its use (for example wide and short to carry fish, tall and narrow for eggs or fruit). It’s not however the only type of handmade basket you can find around here. On the contrary, it’s part of a much bigger family. Just to make a few examples: we have the “cartedde”, small or medium size, with or
without handles, the “fascedde”, without
handles, traditionally used to drain freshly made cheese, the “cufini”, large and deep, the “cannistri”, oval-shaped and short, used to “display” the food (the “cannistri of Palermo” for example are quite famous and are exchanged as a gift on November the 2nd, full of sweets and traditional pastries).
The list could go on and on, like each use has a specific basket and each basket a specific name, but you got the idea.
A panaro is apparently a very simple object, almost uninteresting, yet beautiful and well made. But much more than this, it’s part of a way of life that has almost completely disappeared, an authentic piece of local tradition which still survives up to this day.
If you want to experience what is left of this tradition, you can stop by our shop: here in Putia, you'll find a panaro waiting for you at the entrance, ready to accompany you on your journey through Sicilian handicraft and be filled with beauty and creativity. In the end, you can leave it or buy it together with your other purchases, the choice is yours.
Or you can simply take a look at our website, and add everything you like to your virtual panaro!
Cover picture: siciliafan.it