Basket Making in Sardinia: The Asphodel Baskets of Flussio

Visit artisans in a sleepy Sardinian village

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Near the towns of Flussio and Tinnura traditional baskets woven from the leaves of the asphodel plant represent the local traditions. Asphodel grows wild here along the sides of the road in spring. Locals pick them, leave them for two months to dry, and then they’ll be brought into the laboratorio and woven into baskets. Many Sardinians purchase small baskets to give away at weddings.

You can drive through Flussio to see baskets drying in the sun, or women weaving them in the shadows. Politely express an interest and they will likely show you their work and sell you what you’d like to buy.

flussio baskets
Baskets drying on the sidewalk in Flussio, Sardinia.

An afternoon in Flussio

The Sardinian sun shown brightly as we drove along on the road from Tinnura. Baskets spread to dry on the sidewalk caused the driver to brake furiously. We’d arrived at Flussio Art: Laboratorio Artistico Dell’Asfodelo. A woman worked tirelessly. A wedding was on the horizon. Every couple would get a small basket as a memento of the occasion.

The basket-making tools were simple. A cattle shin-bone awl called su raju makes space in the tight rows to allow for the weaving of asphodel stem. A sharp knife artisan’s teeth separated the stems into multiple units to be woven, some dark and some light to make the designs you see on the baskets shown below. To see the process in a video, click here.

basket working
Separating the stem into narrow pieces to create the weave.

Baskets in Castelsardo

In the town of Castelsardo the basket will likely be fashioned from palmet or dwarf palm. Ancient Phoenicians used Palm leaf for their baskets.

You’ll find the Museum of Intreccio (Museum of Basket weaving arts) inside the Doria Castle, built in the XII century by the Doria family from Genova on top of the fortifications of the town that dominated the whole northern coast of Sardinia.

How to Get to Flussio

Flussio shares a main street with Tinnura, the mural town. You can walk from one to the other easily. The nearest large town is Bosa on the coast.

In late April a festival celebrating the asphodel harvest is held, Tirende isciareu. Also, Sardinians make asphodel honey. Nothing here is wasted.

Along the main road is the Museo Dell’Asfodelo – MUDAS – Flussio, the Museum of the Asphodel.

The road is also part of the Strada del vino malvasia di Bosa, the Malvasia wine road. You can taste at the Planargia wine cooperative in town.


At A Glance

A small basket may cost you around 20 euro


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