Whether it’s for yourself or someone who couldn’t make the trip, taking home a trinket from abroad is a fun way to commemorate a vacation. Ditch the last-minute airport gift shop finds and make sure to pick up these five authentic souvenirs on your next trip.
Tuscan leather — Florence, Italy
(Photo via Scuola del Cuoi)
Although purchasing leather in Italy isn’t exactly groundbreaking, quality wallets, bags, and belts shouldn’t be overlooked the next time you find yourself under the Tuscan sun. Make a day of it and pay a visit to the Scuola del Cuoio, a Florentine institution of leather artisans founded after WWII to give the war’s orphans a chance to learn a viable trade and earn a living.
Dala horses — Dalarna Province, Sweden
(Photo via Hemslöjd)
These Scandinavian figurines have been carved for centuries, although their exact origins are a little murky. A popular story is that Swedish woodcutters, deep in the forests of Dalarna, spent their time carving the toys for the children they were missing back home. The little equines add a cute décor touch—they’re even said to bring good luck.
Talavera pottery — Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico
(Photo via Rustica Gift & Pottery)
This intricate, colorful style of pottery is created using Puebla techniques that have been passed down for centuries. A little town about 45 minutes outside San Miguel de Allende, Dolores Hidalgo is one of the world’s foremost purveyors of the style. Talavera Vasquez, a popular Dolores Hidalgo pottery shop, uses clay that’s mined from around the town itself, and much of the pottery-making process is still done by hand.
Native blanket — Whistler, British Columbia
(Photo via First Nations Museum)
Though Whistler is renowned for its world-class skiing, it’s also the heart of the culture of many native peoples—1 in 6 of native Canadians lives in the province. On your next trip to Whistler, pay a visit to the First Nations Museum to pick up an authentic gift and help support the tribes. This blanket was designed by Jaalen Gwaai Edenshaw of the Haida Nation, a tribe whose territory encompasses the Haida Gwaii islands along British Columbia’s Pacific coast.
Brazilian hammock — Ceará, Brazil
(Photo via Classic Accessories)
Hammocks have played an important role in Brazilian culture for centuries—some northeastern Brazilians still opt to sleep in them instead of a bed. The Hammock Artisans of Ceará, a coalition of women who weave traditional Brazilian hammocks on a loom, pass on the art to their daughters and granddaughters so that the tradition is never lost. See and purchase their work in the coastal state of Ceará on Brazil’s northeast side.