The great many legends on the birth and history of lace in Apulia testify to the local importance of this type of artisanal craft, locally known as pizzilli. The earliest written evidence of this comes from a document held the Bari Historical Archives, which mentions lace manufacturing as early as 1583. Almost all lacemaking techniques were in use in the region, depending on locality. Bobbin lace was particularly popular in Noicattaro, Gravina, and Bisceglie; tatting, filet lace, and the so-called punto strega in Martina Franca; needle lace production was concentrated in Maglie. The lacemaking tradition has continued uninterrupted in Apulia, and many schools founded by local women ensured that the precious art of pizzili was passed on from one generation to the next. The promotion and revival of this ancient tradition is helped by frequent cultural events organized by local associations and administrations throughout the region, especially during the peak tourist season in summer.
There are no museums dedicated to lace in Apulia. Nevertheless, a passionate amateur in Gravina has put together an extensive collection of artisanal items, which she exhibits in her home. Reflecting Apulia’s boundless creativity, she has earned a silver medal at the Italian championship of artistic lace held in the Tuscan town of San Sepolcro for two years running.