The Thriftist: The sentimentality of souvenirs
By Heloisa Righetto

From artisan finds to mass-produced items that are so distinctive of certain cities, WGSN Lifestyle & Interiors Editor Heloisa Righetto shares her favourite keepsakes

Oct 27, 2015
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souvenir WGSN Heloisa Righetto
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I love travelling and – for me – the planning stage of exploring somewhere new is almost as exciting as actually being there. Truly – the process of buying travel guides, researching blogs and booking everything.

And then, when I return, there’s the  joy of downloading pictures and writing all about it on my blog. But, most importantly, I absolutely love finding spots for my brand spanking new souvenirs.

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t travel to shop. But, a good souvenir can transport you back to that incredible moment in Greece, that beautiful day in Spain. 

Don’t believe me? Let me introduce you to a few of my favourites…

souvenir WGSN Heloisa Righetto
I’m a sucker for pottery. If a region is known for ceramic production, you’ll find me there trying to convince my husband we need 34 handpainted salad bowls. Or another set of coffee cups. Anyway, these little cups are from a city called Santillana del Mar in the Cantabria region of Northern Spain. They are made for drinking wine and all of them are inscribed with a drunk-related saying, such as “bueno es beber pero nunca hasta caer” (translation: “drinking is good, but never until you fall”).  

souvenir WGSN Heloisa Righetto
These two large prints decorate one wall of my guest bedroom. I bought them from the shop of the National Museum in Stockholm on the last day before it closed for refurbishment. You can see on the one to the right – the closing date of the exhibition, February 3, 2013. They cost something like £5 and I preferred them without frames so used the same glue used for the wallpaper. Over two years on, they still look amazing.

souvenir WGSN Heloisa Righetto
I admit it – this is not an amazing find. But it’s so just damn cute and I’m a bit obsessed with the work of Alphons Mucha. It’s a metal tray you can find in any magazine/newspaper kiosk in Paris and they’re mass produced, therefore affordable – I paid something like 10 euros for three trays.

souvenir WGSN Heloisa Righetto

souvenir WGSN Heloisa Righetto
In my last Thriftist post, I wrote about a trip to Sorrento in Italy and the fact it’s known for its tradition of inlaid wood. This is my souvenir of that – a picture of nearby Positano made of perfectly placed bits of wood. I bought it straight from the artisan Mr. Michelli (you will find his atelier Calemma – at Via Santa Maria delle Grazie) and his son was kind enough to explain the process to me. I love that it’s a family tradition, something passed from father to son. 

souvenir WGSN Heloisa Righetto
I dare you to go to the Amalfi Coast and come back home without at least one ceramic piece. Even minimalists will fall in love with a small, sleek and white mug. I opted for this miniature of those beautiful, old washbasins. I considered buying a life-sized one for my future mansion, but then I thought “when I have a mansion I’ll just come back here and buy it…” The narrow cobbled streets of cities like Positano and Amalfi have loads of ceramic shops – don’t ignore them.

MORE: The Souvenir Project – a celebration of slow living and craft

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