WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ITALIAN CITY AND WHY?
AB: Rome of course…but I am a little prejudiced! The light, the life, the history, the architecture, the art, the food, the fact that all these are experienced together every day without fault. I love to try new paths and get lost to discover new parts of my hometown each time I am home. And amazingly because of the layers and layers of history I am still able to see something new each time!
CS: I love the magic and mystery of Venice. Even with so many tourists, the city can easily cast its spell on you.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO EAT AND DRINK IN ITALY AND WHY?
AB: Any place… I like simpler places because they celebrate the freshness and are still dedicated to authenticity. Italians LOVE their food and thankfully still make every effort to maintain a link to its history and authenticity.
CS: That’s impossible to answer—each region has so many amazing dishes!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ITALIAN DESIGN INSPIRATION?
AB: The architecture of ancient Rome strikes me as so modern in many ways. The interiors of the Farnese palaces and Medici Villas remind me of the importance of art and architecture and the quality of design. This teaches me daily that quality is everlasting. Newness is still a thread to the newness of the past.
CS: I love everything from the classic beauty of Villa La Rotonda near Vicenza to the cutting-edge contemporary design coming from Milan.
WHAT IS YOUR #1 TRAVEL RECOMMENDATION FOR PEOPLE TRAVELING TO ITALY?
AB: Pick a place and then get lost there. Most any place whether the bigger cities or the smaller villages in the country will amaze you but if you are tied to a guide book or your iPhone you will miss the joys of discovery. And being in the moment.
CS: Stay a day longer than you think you should and leave the guidebook in the hotel for a day just to explore the paths less traveled.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE ITALIAN MERCHANT/ARTIST YOU THINK EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT AND WHY?
AB: I love anything handmade as there is so little of it left in the world. From baskets in Sardinia to cocktail napkins from the embroidery shops to the glassmakers in Venice. Supporting all those little family businesses and the traditional crafts is so important.
CS: I love Chiarastella Cattana's beautiful textiles. From tablecloths and napkins to pillows and bed coverings, each piece is exquisite.
To hear more from Alessandra Branca and Clinton Smith, join ROHL and VERANDA on Wednesday, September 14, 2016, at the Chicago Design Summit. ROHL and VERANDA will be hosting an exclusive presentation on the special beauty of the ROHL Italian Collections and discussing the legacy of Italian design. The event is open to the trade and is being held in the ROHL Suite (163) of LuxeHome at the Chicago Merchandise Mart. Click here to attend.