The grolla and the friendship cup are the most famous craftwork items in the Aosta Valley
The grolla is the most famous craft item in the Aosta Valley.
It is a wine chalice with a lid, carved out of a block of precious wood, standing on a short stem that comes up from a large flat base. The bottom of the cup is surrounded by an annular strip that, giving rise to an indentation, makes holding and opening it easier.
It starts on the lathe then the craftsman's skillful hands elaborate it and add decorations. Once the engraving work is complete, it is immersed in boiling wine, an operation that gives it a reddish shine, enhancing it and making it more valuable and ready for use.
Its roots are a mix of religious and convivial: from Early Christian legendary grail chalice, to peasant's cup. It has preserved elegance, shape and elaborate decoration from its distant origins.The word grolla comes from "graal" that in the langue d'oil means chalice and takes its origins from the Latin word gradalis or cratalis and the Greek word, krater.
The grolla was kept for convivial drinking on special occasions, while for everyday use a wooden bowl was used, some in the typical shape of a bowl, others fitted with two handles, others still more elaborate and with a slight spout and the edge split into several parts by segments of wood that partially covered the upper part, creating geometric motifs.
The friendship cup
Deriving from the grolla, but stumpier and paunchy, with several spouts and generally with the lid carved into clusters, the friendship cup is used for wine, but above all for “valdostana coffee” (coffee mixed with grappa, sugar and spices and served flaming). As a symbol of friendship, it is used for convivial drinking à la ronde.
The friendship cup comes in a wide variety of interpretations, with simple lines and a few decorations or highly sculpted and engraved.