On Day 2 of our tour of great Italian craftsmanship, we set out from Modena to Sarnico with the Maserati Levante SUV, our destination set to the Riva Shipyard, home to the famous Italian luxury yachts.
Chances are you’ve come across Riva yachts at least in the cinema. Anytime a suave international man of mystery makes his way across a reservoir, trust us, it’s a Riva. Building off the technical foundations laid by founders Pietro and Ernesto Riva since 1842, it was Serafino and then Carlo Riva from the 1920s onwards, who recognised the emotional potential of their product and began a different approach, marketing Riva yachts as symbols of power, prestige and pleasure they remain today.
Naturally, we agreed to a cruise across Italy’s picturesque Lake Iseo in a Rivamare, as well as a smaller, more intimate Aquariva, before checking into the stunning L’Albereta Relais & Chateaux for the evening.
Overlooking Lake Iseo from a distance, L’Albereta is a painfully charming, ivy-covered five-star boutique hotel that should be on your top list for a romantic getaway. Nestled in an area famous for its sparkling wines, one would also be remiss not to have a proper vineyard tour and tasting while staying here. For this, we opted for the nearby Ca’ del Bosco, a 50-year-old winery with a surprising modern and artistic touch.
There is contemporary art everywhere on the property, particularly sculptures and photography, which can be found integrated into the cellars and vats as if a gallery.
The effort is a direct reflection of owner Maurizio Zanella’s inherent passion for details and refinement. Since 1979, when a 15-year-old Maurizio planted his first rows of grapes, the winery has invented and patented several technologies in viticulture which have pushed their craftsmanship to the forefront. That said, like all the other heritage industries we’ve experienced thus far on our tour of Italian craftsmanship, this Erbuscan winery doesn’t skim on traditional techniques—processes which take time and the human touch.
Day 3: Zegna, The Final Destination
Our time at L’Albereta was way too short, but there was a long drive ahead of us to the final destination of the trip, Casa Zegna in Trivero. On the fourth and final day, we got our chance with Maserati’s four-door sedan, the Quattroporte, and a model which happened to have the custom Ermenegildo Zegna silk interiors trimmings.
After a two-hour stretch on the highway, the route eventually transitioned into narrow town roads winding uphill where navigation gets a bit tricky. Not without overcoming a few road obstacles with our Maserati, we eventually arrived at the headquarters of the luxury Italian fashion house, Ermenegildo Zegna in the afternoon.
A guided tour took us right into the only factory in the world for Zegna’s unmatched premium fabrics. We witnessed, up close, the process of cloth-making, from dying and yarn-spinning to fabric-weaving and finishing with natural thistles and expert human eyes.
So much has advanced since 1910 when the original Ermenegildo founded this company and yet, in essence, not very much at all. Through well-kept accounts, which are up for viewing at Casa Zegna, Ermenegildo was clearly a meticulous man who never let an imperfection slip past him. At the same time, he was a man who thought big. Having always envisioned a global reach and for his brand to reflect proudly both its Italian roots and Zegna last name, now one of the most acclaimed family-driven Italian enterprises, Ermenegildo evidently saw his great big Italian dream through.