“Pittota or “Venice” embroidery needle lace (reticella type)


Athienou Municipality, Athienou Kallinikeion Municipal Museum 

Communities Concerned – Bearers of the element:

Athienou Municipality, Athienou Kallinikeion Municipal Museum, lace-makers

Domain of Intangible Cultural Heritage:

Traditional craftsmanship

Date of inscription:



Geographical location and range of the element:

Athienou is one of the communities where the reticella-type of embroidery under the names of “pittota” or “pittes” lace is made.  In the early 20th century, the community of Athienou along with other villages, such as Melini, Skarinou, Kato Drys, Vavla, Vavatsinia, Ora, Tochni, Louroudjina, Tremetoushia and Melousia, contributed largely to the making of the “pittota” embroidery lace in order to respond to increased demand for this type of lace from abroad. Various scholars and researchers refer to the “Lefkaritika” or “Lefkara Lace” which was very much in demand abroad and describe it as a “reticella” type of embroidery art. According to international bibliography “reticella” lace was made in Venice since the 15th century and also in Lefkara since the Venetian Rule in Cyprus. “Reticella” embroidery laces were also common in many Greek islands which were also under Venetian Rule.     

Brief Description:

The “Pittota” or “Venice” embroidery needle lace from Athienou, an Italian «reticella» type of lace, is hand-embroidered using cotton threads on a special pillow which acts as a base. At the beginning of the 20th century, an increasing number of women started lace-making in Athienou, depending on the demand by the Lefkara lace-merchants and later on by the Athienou merchants. The tradition of lace-making is still alive today in Athienou but to a more limited scale. There is a centre in the community which is dedicated to the promotion and teaching of this specific craft. The lace-work is embroidered onto an underlying linen fabric, in freestyle motifs with geometric patterns: square, triangular, circular and given characteristic names depending on the resulting designs, whilst the lace-maker follows no particular pattern. A characteristic lace design made only in Athienou was the freestyle lace-work made on the special working pillow without using any fabric but simply based on the lace-maker’s inspiration. The motifs in geometrical forms are known as “pittes” and were made from memory. The non-geometrical lacework is known as “oloploumes” (full of embellishments) is fully embroidered lace made on a special pillow.