We talked to the Sultan of Silk, the fourth generation head of Mantero Seta, her family’s historic Como-based textile company: meet Como-based Lucia Mantero.
Based between Milan and Como, Lucia Mantero is a power-house of the Italian fashion and textile scene. Providing the fashion world with what seems like an unlimited pattern archive, her family’s company also produces some of the best Made in Italy textiles, in Como, North northern Italy’s hidden green pearl. Discover all about her, what inspires her and her work, as well as Como’s slower pace of life living in our insiders guide.
Has the surrounding area of Como been of inspiration to your family’s company in any way?
Of course. Como is located in a wonderful place: the coexistence of mountains and water, the particular shape of the lake, creates unique plays of games of unique light and shadow lights and shadows, which make this place magical, and certainly inspiring for those, like us, who work with light and colour every day. Water is also very important for textile processes, and this is one of the reasons why Como has become one of the most important textile districts in Italy.
What makes Como so special during the summer? What do you think gives it its charm?
Lake Como has a somewhat peculiar shape, never attracting large numbers of tourists but the large hotels and beautiful villas overlooking the lake have made it known to the whole world. In fact, just over the other side of the lake on the far shore, across the coast, you’ll find a rural-like eco-system, made up of simple daily lives, situations and gestures, which coexist despite the total diversity with what happens on the coast. I believe that the beauty of Lake Como also resides on in this side, the part less known to foreign tourists.
What to expect from a summer season on the lake?
In my opinion, holidaying at the lake means slowing down, a bit like the water of the lake, which moves calmly. And if you have some kind of transport on the water, even a simple small boat, the whole thing takes on an incredible charm because you can move from one side to the other coast to coast and really discover the lake from the water.
Where do you suggest staying on the Lake? What are your favourite hotels/luxe B&Bs b&bs?
For an authentic lakeside experience, I always suggest staying at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo. It is a hotel with classic, majestic architecture and which thanks to visionary and modern management has brought in young staff and created a new and contemporary feel that gives you the chance to live the lake as a truly unique experience. For a dip into the past, I recommend staying at Villa d'Este. Don't miss the aperitif on the beautiful terrace, a walk in the park and for the athletes out there a tennis match right on the shores of the lake; I debuted there! To enjoy the autumn or winter period, equally fascinating for the colours and the special light of the shorter days that give incomparable views, as well as the rejuvenating walks, I suggest a stay in a B&B in the historic centre that, located in period palaces, offer a special atmosphere that combine architectural details rich in history and modern comforts: a few names of note are Palazzo Albricci Peregrini, and opening in November, ComoPrive.
Favourite restaurants and places where one can have a lake-side aperitivo?
Enjoy a beautiful summer-time aperitivo at La Tirlindana, by the lake, located in front of Comacina Island. You can also get there by boat and (the) moor in front. In the old town, a great spot is The Market place, where you’ll enjoy an excellent dining experience and be pampered by the staff.
Activities one could indulge in in a lake-side summer vacation? during a summer season lake-side?
For those who like to walk, I suggest the Greenway of the lake, a walk that winds along the shore coasts through the most hidden villages and rural life that exist develops in the shadow of the lake. For the more experienced trekker trained ones, Mount Crocione, the Menaggio hut or the Venini hut, for breathtaking views of the lake. For those who love a view from a height like those in the video that Yann Arthus Bertrand made on our lake, a seaplane ride is a great idea, departing from the hangar of Como, which boasts the oldest flight school in the world. Last but not least for those who love water sports, early in the morning a kayak ride is an exceptional way to experience the lake makes you experience the lake in an exceptional way.
As Como is surrounded by lush nature, where whereabouts should one go for a one day daily getaway? What should one visit?
The most beautiful way to visit the lake is by boat, which allows you to get anywhere, from shore to shore coast to coast, without having to drive, or take ferries. The best villas to visit are Villa di Balbianello, a treasure of the FAI. Unmissable is Villa Carlotta, especially in spring – it also houses statues of Canova. Other places of note are, of course, the gardens of Villa Melzi d'Eril at Bellagio, Villa Monastero in Varenna, and the park of Villa Serbelloni, in Bellagio, home to the Rockefeller Foundation.