Often the people you meet on your travels influence your understanding of a place. During our recent Indagare Journey to Peru, we met with many such individuals in Lima. Here are a few of our favorites.
“Lima is my passion,” explains Gonzalo Torres, who has spent the past 14 years exploring his native city for an award-winning TV show on the city’s neighborhoods and residents. “I love the history and the architecture, and I love the stories behind them.” As we explored the ancient ruins of Huaca Pucllana; the colonial center; and a private home that has been in the same family since 1535, Gonzalo explained everything from prehistoric ceremonies and life under the Shining Path to hipster culture in Barranco. He has worked as a clown and a stage actor, but most of the Limans who stopped and stared and asked for a selfie with him know him from his TV show on Lima. Imagine touring a food hall with Anthony Bourdain, and you have an idea of touring Lima with Gonzalo.
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“We work with Peru’s incredible fabrics like pima cotton and baby alpaca and great artisans, but also focus on no waste and sustainability,” explains 31-year-old Guiliana Macciavello, co-founder with her sister Chiara, of stylish clothing brand Escudo. The Peruvian pair studied and worked in fashion in London before returning to Lima to create their four-year-old line, which is now carried in small boutiques in the U.S., Mexico and Europe. “Everything is handmade,” she explains, with much of the fabric created by a rural community on hand looms in Huancavelica province and then finished in the studio in Barranco. Each garment marries folk traditions with a modern sensibility and a commitment to keeping heritage relevant. “It’s hard work,” she says, “but it’s cool, because we are getting another generation involved.”
Related: Lima Insider: Guiliana Macciavello
is a shop and gallery of Peruvian folk art and crafts, located in a fabulous 18th-century colonial house. It is filled with treasures that its owner, Welsh expat Mari Solari, has collected over thirty-plus years. “I fight for quality, and I try to work directly with the artisans so you are not paying for middlemen or advertising,” she explains. She moved to Peru when she married in 1966, and her mother-in-law first introduced her to Peruvian folk art, including the traditional belts and weavings that can be read. The crafts on display range from antique colonial clothing to folkloric paintings, weavings, ceramics and jewelry. Many of the artisans she met at carnivals or in travels in rural regions, and she has worked with some families for more than three decades. The gallery space includes multiple front rooms but just off of the interior garden is a room with her private collection that should not be missed. “My favorite collection is my stone collection. My amulets,” she says, “but I also love my weavings, which it took me much longer to understand.”
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Anthropologist turned chocolate entrepreneur, Amanda Jo Wildey first fell in love with Peru when she studied in Cusco during college. She returned to Lima to earn her master’s in anthropology and worked on a cacao farm while finishing her thesis on cacao, so it only seemed natural to open what she calls a “chocolate library.” El Cacaotal opened last year in the trendy Barranco neighborhood and she is so close to the product that she sells that she can tell you about the individual farmers behind most bars. We came to taste and left with an education on cacao flavors and Peruvian culture—and chocolate bars, of course.
Related: Lima Insider: Amanda Jo Wildey
Jallpa Nina, which mean earth and fire in the Quechua dialect, is the name of ceramicist Marilyn Lizarraga’s artistic workshop. “Peru, source of inspiration for the pre-Columbian pottery, is the origin of my passion as a Peruvian ceramicist,” she says, “and together with craftsmen from different regions, we use our art to create utilitarian and artistic pieces which burn at high temperatures.” In her Miraflores showroom, you may recognize designs that have been popularized by style maker Jonathan Adler such as Buddha heads and contemporary vases as well as collections inspired by colonial designs, but each piece is hand-made in the nearby workshop. “We are inspired by the richness of our millennial art,” says Marilyn, “the oriental sobriety, and the elegance of minimalism.”Related: Lima Insider: Marilyn LizarragaContact Indagare for assistance booking a trip to Lima. Our travel specialists can match you with the right hotel for you, plan great meals and activities and arrange behind-the-scenes access.
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