Looking for great gifts, new family heirlooms, or a makeover for your dining room? In Lagartera you can find all that, and support a dwindling community of artisans.
Lagartera embroidery is a world-famous style of embroidery and pulled thread work. The village of Lagartera is a 1-hour, 45-minute drive from Madrid on the A-5. It is just 2km from Oropesa, which has a lovely Parador.
The town of Lagartera has a municipal museum (open Tuesday-Saturday) with displays on the town’s history, and artist Marcial Moreno Pascual. During the feast of Corpus Cristi, which takes place each June, every doorway is converted into a mini shrine with wallhangings, and statues. Everyone dons the traditional, elaborate costumes.
The village has a cafe, a restaurant, 2 banks with ATMS,and a variety of shops selling embroidery along the main street calle Fray Juan de los Angeles.
At #20, is the shop of Julia Pino and her daughter Paloma Suela Pino. They specialize in the most traditional Lagartera designs and can create custom orders to match your good china, at amazingly good prices.
At #18, is Bordados Garcia, run by Antonio Garcia Sanchez and his brothers. They offer an extensive inventory of tablecloths in a range of colors with more modern/neutral designs.
At #61, avenida Maestro Guerrero just as you enter town is Bordados de Lagartera. This shop carries heirloom-quality table and bed linens. Prices are correspondingly higher for these intricate and beautiful items, but still a bargain when you consider the number of hours required to make them.
A pottery town close-by is Puente del Arzobispo. Spanish ceramics galore. If you get an early start and manage your time well, you can squeeze in a stop to “Puente”, just a few miles from Lagartera. Puente is home to a dozen or so ceramic factories/showrooms of Talavera pottery. The most popular/well-known designs are blue & yellow, medieval hunting scenes, and delicate florals. If you arrive during the lunchtime closing period, many of the showrooms have a sign/buzzer and someone will come to open up for you. Fabrica de Ceramic Cruz is one of the most well-known, and periodically sells at craft bazaars in Madrid.
Back in Madrid, seek out, Antigua Casa de Talavera: Ceramics Nirvana. Located on Calle Isabel la Catolica in Madrid, near metro stop Santo Domingo, this is a family-run shop in operation since 1904 and run by the family’s 4th generation. If you are looking for a special souvenir or are a certified ceramics maniac, don’t miss this shop. It carries the most extensive collection of all of Spain’s best Talavera ceramic producers — many now out of business, casualties of the economic crisis. It has many unique pieces in a wide variety of styles: yellow & blue, medieval blue, Toledo “dry cord” designs, Granada Moorish patterns, copper/metallic glaze, cobalt & green, and many more. The owner can tell you the history behind each design and the artist who made it. Prices for individual pieces ran from 12 euros to several hundred, depending on: size, intricacy of design, age/rarity of the piece, and the artist.