Today, the group made it to our first company tour in Italy! We spent our morning at Mantero Seta, a manufacturer of silk fabric, scarves and accessories with unique drawings inspired by an antique textile archive. Our chic tour guide was Francesca Tongiorgi, the head manager of the corporate communications department at Mantero. She explained that the company completes the entire process in-house: spinning, weaving, dyeing, and all. Because of the careful treatment and direct attention towards the silk, the product is extremely high quality and, thus, more expensive. Mantero mainly supplies silk for high-end luxury brands, such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and more. However, considering the large population of fast-fashion consumers, the company also supplies lower quality products, that consist more of polyester or silicone as opposed to real silk, to fit the needs of a mid-priced store. When it comes to printing the designs on the fabrics, there are two main methods: digital and screening. Digital is the easiest method, much like how an at-home printer prints a document. Screening, though, is more meticulous and prints all of the different colors layer by layer, producing a beautiful masterpiece in a longer amount of time. Walking through the factory, we could watch the screening of Louis Vuitton silk right before our eyes! Francesca also had mentioned that the company aims to apply all environmental safety precautions and rules, and achieve sustainability within the company, with more details of their methods on the website. It’s nice to believe that luxury brands, like Chanel and Louis Vuitton, seek suppliers, such as Mantero, that want to maintain a healthy relationship with the planet. At the end of the company tour, they led us to an on-site store, where I ended up making a purchase of a beautiful silk scarf as a gift for myself to remember this trip by. For lunch, we headed down to Lake Como, a breathtaking upscale resort area known for its dramatic scenery, set against the foothills of the Alps. The group took a walking tour of the small town and ate at a delicious pizzeria before relaxing on a boat ride on the lake. The scenery was jaw-dropping, thanks to the Renaissance architecture and aesthetically-pleasing colored Italian villas surrounding the lake. On the boat ride, we even passed George Clooney’s villa on the lake, but unfortunately, we never saw George Clooney. Though it was a bit of a rainy day, the weather did not stop me from enjoying any second of the views, and I have lots of pictures to remind me of them. The bus ride back to the hotel from Como was around an hour long, and naturally, it was the perfect time for a nap. Time to recharge after such a wonderful day and find a good restaurant for dinner!