Holiday Special: An Italian Tablescape Inspired by Travel Warms a Home
After opening gifts from Santa this year, many of you may gather with family for a meal over a festive, holiday table.
Vietri’s Old St. Nick pattern is one of the most popular Christmas patterns on the market and is the Hillsborough, N.C.-based company’s No. 1 best-seller. Each handcrafted piece is designed by Italian artisan Alessandro Taddei.
All of Vietri’s patterns are designed, made and imported from Italy.
I had the pleasure of having lunch with Vietri CEO Susan Gravely at the Siena Hotel in Chapel Hill, N.C., this fall to help celebrate the company’s 30th anniversary at a special fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity. For its special anniversary, the tablescape company, which has helped families dine in Italian style for three decades, decided to give the warmth of a home this year to a family through a partnership with the Orange County Habitat for Humanity.
Gravely and the Vietri team spent all year raising money and building a new home for the Missy Jones family this year. That home was dedicated last week just in time for the holidays, and the keys were handed over to the new homeowners in a special ceremony attended by Gravely, her mom Lee, and her sister Frances. These three women established Vietri after a family vacation to Italy’s Amalfi Coast.
Here at Skimbaco, we are firm believers that travel impacts lives for the positive, and that was certainly the case 30 years ago for Gravely and her family. The Gravelys had scheduled a family trip to the Amalfi Coast. Unfortunately, a few short weeks before they were to leave on vacation, Gravely’s father passed away suddenly. Rather than canceling the much-anticipated vacation, the Gravely women decided to continue with their journey. It was a decision that changed the course of their lives.
“We were staying at the beautiful San Pietro Hotel in Positano,” Gravely told me over an Italian lunch at the Siena. “And we walked into the dining room for breakfast, and we were immediately mesmerized by the beauty of the hotel’s peach tablecloths and the vibrant handpainted china that adorned the tables. The tabletop was gorgeous with dramatic colors like deep blues of the sea, brightly colored flowers, beautiful birds, and colorful fish.”
This was 1983, long before everything could be found on the Internet. With experience in the import/export business, the Gravelys visited the Italian artisans who handmade these dishes for the San Pietro Hotel. Immediately, they knew this tableware would be a welcomed commodity in the United States.
Buyers at Neiman Marcus agreed, and they bought 14,000 pieces of Vietri’s first design, Campagna.
Thirty years later, Neiman Marcus is still Vietri’s No. 1 buyer for its tableware, but now Vietri has its own pop-up shops, and the tableware and the Italian-inspired home décor is in boutique stores and department stores across the country. Vietri has expanded its design portfolio over the years, but the original concept behind Vietri remains the same.
“We see ourselves as an everyday luxury. It’s about family and friends getting together. Sharing dreams, sharing the good times, and the hard times all over the family dinner table,” remarked Gravely. Vietri is the founder of the everyday style of mixing and matching.
To learn more about the luxury Relais & Chateaux hotel that inspired the creation of a multimillion-dollar tablescape company, visit the San Pietro Hotel website. It certainly has me dreaming of an Amalfi Coast vacation this Christmas.
With over 20 factories in Italy, Susan Gravely and Vietri staff based in North Carolina visit Italy often, and the San Pietro Hotel is still one of Gravely’s favorite places on the Amalfi Coast.
In honor of this milestone year, Vietri created a commemorative mug as a way to give back to the community. All proceeds from each mug sold go to Habitat for Humanity in Orange County. I love drinking my tea out of my special mug piped in blue.
Photos by Vietri and Il San Pietro de Poistano
I live like a tourist in my hometown and my dream is to travel the world one luxury hotel at the time. If you love traveling as much as I do, subscribe to Skimbaco Travel, and never miss any travel content from our site.
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