Now That’s Italian!
In addition to trains, planes, taxis, subways, and rental cars, I have visited advertisers by bicycle in Aspen, scooter in Bermuda, chauffeur-driven Nissan in Tokyo, private junk in Hong Kong, and, recently, a vaporetto and a gondola in Venice.
Accompanying me on the trip to Venice (in addition to Milan) was NYC&G Account Director Melissa Groher. As it was the off season, we enjoyed quiet, unhurried meetings with Italy’s finest manufacturers and exhilarating factory tours. Starting off in Milan, we saw Flexform, Donghia, Promemoria, and Boffi, after which we drove to the Brianza region to drop in on Living Divani and Glas Italia (and stop for lunch at the world-famous Villa d’Este on Lake Como, just two days before its winter closure—an unexpected bonus!). Venice is Rubelli country, and we were treated to a first look at the construction under way to relocate the Rubelli showroom to the first two floors of the family’s 14th-century palazzo, featured in NYC&G’s December/January 2015 issue. (Andrea Rubelli’s treasured puparin racing boat will remain moored on the ground floor.) Later, on the Grand Canal, we bumped into designer Matthew Yee, who accompanied us to the island of Murano, where we took a private tour of the famous glassworks at Barovier & Toso.
Back in Milan, on the last day of our trip, we met C&C Milano president and CEO Emanuele Castellini in the company’s beautiful showroom on the Via Bernardino Zenale. Castellini’s cousin’s family owns the famed Casa degli Atellani, where Leonardo da Vinci once tended a vineyard while he was in residence painting The Last Supper across the street at Santa Maria della Grazie. There was no better way to end our Italian sojourn than a leisurely stroll through the circa-1500 vineyard, where vines have been replanted and restored, as has the adjacent 16th-century palace, now a museum. Be sure to visit it on your next trip to Milan.