How it all began ... an unexpected, but wonderful story!
It all started with a house…..the house that we purchased from Francesco’s sister Antonella in 2016. This fulfilled the “love of all things Italian” for Gary and myself. Having worked so long to achieve our dream, we were not disappointed with our beautiful house, situated in Abruzzo – in Central / South Italy, in a region famed for its food and wine!
Working very long hours in London, my husband Gary had suggested that we buy a house in Italy, where we then could spend a long weekend most months – this would also allow us to secure a date night once a month – and also allow me to work from here! Admittedly, we purchased our house pre Brexit, however once we had got over the initial shock, we decided that the pleasure our Italian home gave us outweighed the uncertainty of what Brexit may bring….
I absolutely love my job, however it can be gruelling living and working in London, I was very ready to embrace a way of life that allowed me to continue to work hard, but also enjoy the Italian weather, food, wine, culture, history and welcome.
Our dream of buying a house in a sunny climate that we could travel to easily, had been ongoing for some years, we had spent some years viewing property in Turkey. I know Turkey well, given that I have worked in this territory for over 15 years, however we had poor experiences with the 3 properties that we had tried to purchase, and became disheartened. Luck was on side - when the euro exchange rate moved in our favour, we switched our attention to Italy and were lucky enough to buy an old small farmhouse in Manoppello in Abruzzo.
Abruzzo is a region in Central / South Italy, on the east coast. “Known as the greenest region in Europe”, as almost half of its total area (4156 sq. miles) is set aside as national parks and protected nature reserves. Abruzzo is home to much flora and wildlife. The area is known for the Golden Eagle, the Apennine Wolf and Marsican Brown Bear
Manoppello is a beautiful mountain top village, with some 6000 inhabitants, it lies 25 miles from our local airport in Pescara. I will be focusing on Manoppello and sharing images throughout the year. Manoppello has been inhabited since pre Roman times and is famous for The Manoppello Image - an image of a face, often supposed to be Jesus, on a cloth (17.5 cm wide and 24 cm high) that is stored in a church in Manoppello, The church, known as Santuario del Volto Santo, is part of a monastery belonging to Capuchin friars.
Continuing to work in London, we spent 3 years refurbishing, furnishing and getting our house ready.
In that time Francesco, Gary and Harveen became friends – and then business partners………….
We began to uncover beautiful Italian product designed and manufactured by small family owned companies who demonstrated the best of design, craftsmanship and authenticity We became fascinated by the product and the manufacturers stories and history – some going back 3 or 4 generations.
Our ethos is built on the fact that quite simply there is too much stuff in the world, however, customers still want to buy product that is designed beautifully, uses old methods and where the provenance is product is still considered important. We also wanted to help these small producers, most of whom were not exporting their beautiful product. Life in Italy may look idyllic; however, it is difficult in some regions – overall youth unemployment (under 25 years old) sits at 33%! We believe that it is imperative to help these producers sell their product so that their future is safeguarded for generations to come.
We each have our tasks, Gary is the digital hero, Francesco manages the hub in Italy, and I have the best job of all – I choose the product!
We have focused on candles, olive oil, leather purses, wallets, stationary, table top, china bowls and homewares accessories.
We now bring this product to you. Whether you are buying for yourself or gifting, we are certain you will enjoy the aesthetic, and story behind each of these wonderful pieces. Enjoy!
Love Harveen, Francesco and Gary.
Gary, Harveen & Francesco and the house that brought us together