A basilica tour, aperitivi and a helicopter ride to the Italian Alps—we did it all.
We’d be lying if we said we weren’t truly missing our extraordinary days in and around Milan for this year’s Salone celebrations. This week, we’re indulging in a little recap of our two pre-fair days on Lake Orta, hosted by the fabulous folks at Fantini.
We started off the first leg of our adventure by meeting at our hotel, Casa Fantini, to better get to know each other over lunch, enjoy the views and just settle into “Italian time.” Then we crossed the water to tour the Isola San Giulio. The tiny island is famous for the Basilica di San Giulio and a 19th-century seminary that’s been a Benedictine monastery since the 1970s. We had a private tour of the basilica, kindly arranged by Fantini, followed by a walk around the island, which enchanted us with its practice of quietude. All around are signs to remind you that Isola San Giulio is an “island of silence.”
After the island excursion, we returned to Orta and explored the town—happily playing tourist with a group photo in the park. We also enjoyed a local wine shop, where we had a wine and prosciutto tasting, and then it was back to Casa Fantini for an evening with Daniella Fantini.
We began the day with a tour of Fantini’s factory and offices, meeting their staff and seeing things first hand. Russ also gave us a talk on the differences of European plumbing and things designers and architects should consider when using international products: water allowances, wall thicknesses, etc. (It was so well received by our group that we’re planning similar talks for here in LA!) Fantini’s award-winning offices were designed by architect Piero Lissoni—more on his studio in a future post, who also designed Casa Fantini. We finished the visit with a viewing of a video on Fantini for Africa, the company’s humanitarian initiative that helps deliver clean water to the community of Masango, located in Burundi, Central Africa. It was powerful to watch, and we encourage everyone to learn more about the “100 Fontane” program—and how you can help.
From there, we went on an extraordinary excursion, thanks to Matthew Rosenberg of M-Rad Architecture. One of his current projects is the creation of a ski resort in Foppolo. Through his friend, legendary mountain climber-turned-helicopter pilot, Simone Moro, we arranged to fly to the site for a preview and, as we’re wont to do, more aperitivi. What a gift it was to get a sneak peek at this incredible project and to just hang out in such a stunning location.
Then we were helicoptered back to Casa Fantini. We gathered and walked to Daniella’s country home in the nearby village of Egro for dinner. We stopped along the way, taking in the sites, before being welcomed with unforgettable feasat of homemade Italian food, including focaccia, deviled eggs with anchovies and tiramisu. Amazing. It was the nicest way we could have ended two magical days. Grazie, grazie, Daniella!
Over the coming months, we’ll continue to look back at some of the highlights of this year’s trip. And keep an eye on our social media accounts for information on Salone 2020, as we begin planning another spectacular roster of events!