The Sawdust Carpets of Camaiore
by Lloyd Burgess — 16 July 2019
Being new to an area, or, in my case, a whole country, I’m always on the lookout for new things to see and do in the local environs. I moved from the UK to Italy, specifically Lucca in Tuscany, earlier this year and I can categorically state that there’s been no shortage of distractions so far!
I was idly flicking through local social media on Saturday 22 June seeking new adventures when I came across a rather intriguing post on the "Friends in Lucca" Facebook page. The post detailed an event involving ‘Tappeti Segatura’ or sawdust carpets in the nearby town of Camaiore the next day.
According to the post every year the entire length of the main street is festooned with numerous intricate images 'painted' using coloured sawdust by groups of artisans. The idea really intrigued me as I’d never heard of anything like it so I decided to cycle over the next day to take a look as Camaiore is less than 30km away from my base in Lucca.
The town of Camaiore is rapidly becoming a favourite destination as there are plenty of diverse and interesting events and I love the fantastic weekly market on a Friday. I’ve also found that I’ve been rather spoilt for choice by Camaiore’s enticing array of cafes and food shops and as expected, some of the best parts of Italian life are most definitely gastronomical.
I started out bright and early on Sunday morning as Facebook had warned that the 'carpets' would be destroyed by a procession by late morning. Once I arrived and saw the street in the flesh I was blown away by the sheer detail, variety and vivid deep colours in the ‘carpets’, the hours of painstaking work that must have gone into creating them was seriously breathtaking. I spent a good couple of hours admiring them and as you can see by the photos, the effect really was stunning.
After the procession had inevitably done it’s worst and the stomping of hundreds of feet had sadly obliterated the transient artworks I decided to carry on and cycle to the nearby coast at Lido di Camaiore, as it wasn't too much of a stretch. It was a lovely hot, sunny afternoon and the beach was heaving with people so I didn't feel disposed to hang about for very long but made a mental note to come back during the week when it would hopefully be less crowded.
I set out for home stopping only for an obligatory gelato en-route to help with internal cooling (well, let’s face it, it would have been rude not to!)
It really was a fascinating and rewarding day out and including a not unimpressive round trip of about 65km on the bike. I’m currently plotting my next excursion into the Italian unknown so watch this space….