Uncovering Italy’s Superlatives in people, places and things

The Art of the Italian Table

Setting the scene at the table

The Italian table is a stage, an elaborate set or a minimalist backdrop where personalities come together and play out delicious scenes of family life, lovers‘ quarrels and friendships. In every home across the country, the table is the epicentre of socialisation and a personal hangout. It’s where values are reinforced, traditions are passed down, friendships are forged, and lives are changed.  The 21st century may have evolved the stereotype of family, the Italian dinner table remains the most important ritual.

The table setting, is like day to day decorating, because you can’t redecorate your house every day, but you can decorate your table every day.

Martina Mondadori

In Italy, a feast of any kind is an opportunity for togetherness and even more, an opportunity to delight. Culinary bravura goes hand in hand with style. It’s practically written in our DNA, and translated to decoration, flair and inventiveness on the table that is just as important as what’s on the plate. Whether an everyday lunch or elaborate dinner party, the Italian table is one of beauty, and Italians take great pride in creating a setting that shows off incredible food and personality.

A Gastronomic Pastime

Pranzo di Domenica (Sunday lunch) is one of the most sumptuous Italian pastimes. Dreamy long summer lunches spent in the countryside on the veranda, by the seaside or on a city terrace, where courses seamlessly blend from antipasti to primi to secondi, the vino endlessly flows and conversation effervescently and serendipitously bubbles over.  The prerequisite to this gorgeously divine and delicious scene is of course, a lavishly curated table meticulously and lovingly set by its delighted host. But where to start?

In the picture: ISSIMO x Lisa Corti SS21 collection matched with Italesse tumbler and Larusmiani Huangshan Bottle Opener

Table essentials

As with so many aspects of living la dolce vita, there is an art to creating the Italian table that mixes presentation and visual appeal to intrigue the guest’s eye and appetite with a heartfelt sense of togetherness. The close-knit sense of hospitality, an essential aspect of Italian culture, is extended throughout each element of the table setting.  Each component plays an important role, from the place settings to the flatware, dishware, glassware and fabric design.

We like to put down the atmosphere with a colourful tovaglia (tablecloth), which can double as the set down for a great picnic. Is it required? Not always, but when you’ve got one, flaunt it. Monochromatic or maximalist, it doesn’t matter because it’s all about the personality you’re going to bring to the table. At the Italian table, the rule is there is no rule as long as it looks good and is a celebration of personality or mood. Or as Angela Missoni says “Decorations should reflect your personality.” So think about what you want to experience and how you want your guests to feel.

Whether Italian Baroque, match-matchy Boho flair or a Burri monochrome, your choice of stemware, utensils and dishes can style up or dial down the vibe you want. Do you need to have every single flatware, stemware and dish element in the book? Absolutely not, we are not Emily Post, and neither are you. Do you need to match? Only if you want you, and if not, have fun mixing styles freely with a subtle commonality like hue, shapes or design themes.

Finally, light it up with candles or a little retro flair. Lately we’re going for Ischia nostalgia with our ISSIMO x Anna Lari lampade. No matter what, give yourself time, enough to organise and set the table, even if it means test dressing a few days in advance.

On the table: Peperoncino set of plates by ISSIMO x Villeroy & Boch, Italesse tumblers, ISSIMO x Anna Lari lamp, Missoni Cookbook

ISSIMO alla tavola

ISSIMO is in a constant quest for the most fabulous table and has launched a line of homewares by collaborating with Italy’s most historic, avant-garde artisans, leaders in design. When Marie-Louise was looking to create the perfect table, she looked to first to her loyal partner in textile Lisa Corti. The ISSIMO x Lisa Corti collaboration comes from a 15 plus year relationship at Hotel Il Pellicano where Corti homewares were a staple feature. The Pellicano’s bougainvillea and stripes inspired the first collaboration of place settings, china plates and cotton pillow covers and carry through into the next series. And then she needed to look no further than a Mediterranean sunset and the surrounding countryside for the rest of the table.

“Taste and beauty are not only aesthetic objectives, they are also essentials that fill up our everyday lives.”

– Marie-Louise Scìo

ISSIMO x Lisa Corti

ISSIMO x Lisa Corti is now in its second homeware line, this time playing with the Il Pellicano’s iconic mustard and white stripes in tablecloths, napkins, and placemats. Additionally, ISSIMO x Lisa Corti has added the perfect picnic mini pillow, available in both green and blue stripes and yellow and white combination.

Cobalt, yellow, pink, violet and green, with light and shape inspire all Lisa Corti creations. Corti’s childhood up in Ethiopia combine and extensive travel in India where she studied colour and ancient decorative tradition including woven cotton spun on the spinning wheel and ancient carved wooden block printing are the foundations of her work.


Award-winning glassware company Italesse has been innovating glass since 1979, collaborating with the world’s top designers for beautiful, hand-crafted tumblers, bowls and more. Italesse‘s hard-crafted tumbler set is harmonised with beautiful Mediterranean colours hand-blown by Italian artisans.

ISSIMO x Anna Lari

ISSIMO x Anna Lari brings Il Mezzatorre iconic lamp to your table and home. Dark blue like the Bay of Naples on a warm night, ISSIMO x Anna Lari lamp is perfect for bedside, or outdoor table.

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