Martin and I visited Como on our recent trip to Italy. After a wonderful boat ride around Lake Como, we and our guide began a walking tour of this lovely town. As Francesca shared with us Como’s history and landmarks, a shop window caught my eye. Quicker than you can say George Clooney, I veered in. Francesca followed. Martin did too, although with less excitement.
Everywhere we looked were elegant tablescapes featuring gilt tea sets, rainbows of crystal goblets and aperitif glasses, and vintage dresses. Against a huge white ostrich fan, A sea of jeweled earrings, rings and strands of pearls nestled against a white ostrich fan. A Victrola and a small TV from the 50’s stood guard beneath a stone arch dating back to who knows when. Perhaps even back to 1400 when Ludovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan, planted mulberry trees around Lake Como to feed the silkworms. Everywhere I turned was another fantasy of color and sparkle. Every item had been arranged with a superb eye for design.
Owner and curator Maria Grazia Lopez, hosts small concerts, poetry readings and other cultural events in her shop . Taking inspiration from her merchandise, she might offer an evening on the theme of pearls or even a color. Imagine attending amethyst night, sipping violet liquor from a violet crystal glass and listening to music and/or poetry inspired by the same hue.Maria Grazia insisted on making us cappucino, strong and delicious and the perfect foil to the cookies she served with it. An added bonus to the utter charm of the experience: Maria Grazia’s 92-year-old father bakes the cookies every morning.
It was soon time to leave. There were sites to see and gelato to sample. But not before buying a pair of amethyst crystal glasses and a small bottle of violet liquor.