FIA: The return of a summer classic

Summer is here and that, to me, means eating ice cream, going to the beach, enjoying longer days and, of course, going to FIA Lisboa – Feira Internacional do Artesanato, i.e., International Handicraft Fair.

FIA has been a favourite summer event ever since I was a kid. This year they’re celebrating the fair’s 30th edition, which makes me feel a bit… old! Going to FIA as a kid would mean an afternoon well spent in the middle of the chaos of adults, incense, foreign languages, beautiful objects and a cold drink towards the end.

In the Portuguese pavillion, some of the works present in the previous 29 editions.

This year Beyond Lisbon was, once again, one of the fair’s partner blogs, which was an honour to me. And to top it off they invited the partner blogs for lunch – what’s not to like about it?!

Fun lunch in FIA with the fair’s blog partners. We talked about the fair, our blogs, tarantulas, “pimba” music and cinema! (Photo by Liliana Navarra)

A few facts about FIA:

– the fair takes place in Parque das Nações, in Lisbon, always around this time of the year. If you happen to be in Lisbon right now you can still visit the fair until july 2nd.

– there’s one pavillion fully dedicated to Portugal, one other for the internacional exhibitors and a third one just for food and drink.

– this year’s guest region is Pampilhosa da Serra, in Central Portugal, and the guest country is China.

– every day there are small concerts, workshops and other events taking place.

Two sides of the Pampilhosa da Serra stand

One of the great things about FIA is the possibility of watching handicraft being made right in front of you. One of my favourites this year was seeing replicas of Conimbriga tiles made using Arraiolos stitch, which is typical of Alentejo. I had seen some of these replicas a couple of years ago while visiting Conimbriga and it was great getting to meet the person behind these works (yes, a man doing traditional needlework… deal with it!).

Photo previously published on Instagram

One other craft which is always a hit is “rendas de bilros”, an intricate kind of embroidery. Check out this small video I uploaded on Instagram:

The Azores stand is very original, as usual.

See you again next year, FIA! 😉

The website:

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  1. yep, bought some cool stuff there… this time they have a catalog of the exhibitors, which is nice if you want to contact them later on…

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