The art of the traditional costumes of Metsovo
You will be reading often from greeklandtraveller.com articles about Epirus, as it is one of our bases in Northern Greece. This time, the occasion of our first reference here to this part of the country was our recent short visit to the village of Anilio (Sunless), in the municipality of Metsovo. Although short, our visit was long enough to provide us with more knowledge about the diverse beauty of this place.
The local Vlach-speaking population call among them their village ‘Kiare’ and it still means ‘sunless’. The village is located at an altitude of about 1.100 metres, in the shadow of the peak Fatzetou of Pindos – and that’s where it gets its name from. Anilio is 6 km away from Metsovo, while via the Egnatia Odos, Ioannina is just 20 minutes away. Nowadays, the village has a population of about a thousand persons, all of which have as main occupation the farming and logging. Some of the most famous products of the village are the barrels and the hives, all made by local hands. The latter years there has been an attempt to create a ski resort in the area, without much result until now. (Incidentally, the village appeared recently in the press because of a rather popular profile page in Facebook, that was created by a journalist).
We got there though for a short visit to the hospitable traditional grocery shop of the Delfas family, a shop that first opened its doors about 70 years ago. The lady of the place, Mrs Anna, welcomed us warmly – she was trying on her grandson a new traditional costume that she was making for him and, just like that, we were found entangled in the strings of the famous for the delicate and rich embroidery costumes of Metsovo.
Stitch by stitch Mrs Anna told us her own story: she was just twelve when she sat on the side of her cousin to learn the art of dressmaking. Then she took what she learned and started working as a seamstress in the village. As the years passed she came to learn the most difficult art of the embroidery of the traditional costumes which requires endless hours of cautious and patient work. She tamed the art of the gilded threads, the most expensive material she used. Before her time, when the use of the traditional costumes was widespread, there were experts who would do that job only, embroider the gold and silver parts of the costumes.
Nowadays, the 69 year old woman is occupied in family grocery but she never stops working on a costume. Besides, maybe the locals have left aside these ornamented clothes during the common work days, still they are widely worn on Sundays, festivals, feasts, weddings and all sorts of other official circumstances. Mrs Anna says she longs to pass her knowledge on to someone young, she realises herself that her art is disappearing rapidly in the modern world. This is one of the subjects that we intent to cover in our journey with the greeklandtraveller.com, the professions and consequently the lifestyles that are being lost with the passage of time.
Article written by Calliope Alahouzou