Day 4: Looney for Clooney

How can you be anything but thrilled when you’re in Italy? Despite another early morning wakeup, I was happy as can be on the bus this morning. The mix of old architecture and new skyscrapers looked especially beautiful in the morning grey of the city.

Today we visited Mantero, the company my group was assigned to research prior to departure. They import their thread to manufacture beautiful silk prints for high end companies. While we walked through Mantero, I saw a lot of prints for Louis Vuitton and Chanel, but judging from their archives, it seems as though they have worked with every company one can think of. While they mainly work with designer brands, our tour guide explained they also work with companies like Zara because they did not want to miss out on the opportunities in fast fashion. To work with such companies, they simply make a switch to lower end materials, like a polyester. Seeing the work behind many well known companies’ clothes was really interesting. The company has color experts who decide which colors and how many are need to make a print. We also saw the textile designers at work doing digital sketches on prints, which was really cool because as I previously mentioned, my mom worked as a textile designer as well. It was interesting walking through the manufacturing part of the company because there were definitely a lot of rules and regulations that would have been violated in the United States standards. We were able to weave through the isles of machinery and dye without any warnings on what not to do. Everyone purchased things in the beautiful gift shop. The prices were a little bit out of my range, but I still managed to buy myself a cute scrunchie for five Euros.

After the visit, I was thrilled to arrive in Como for our tour. The walking tour was a little bit difficult because it was steadily raining and a little too cold. However, the boat tour was my favorite part of the day. We got to see George and Amal’s lakeside villa, something I had been looking forward to the entire trip. I might have mentioned a few times that I really wanted to see their house, so everyone on the boat was really happy for me when we passed it. Funny enough, they bought the villa from the Heinz family. Pittsburgh is everywhere we go. Many of us stood on the back of the boat in an uncovered space to see the incredible views of the lake. Its beauty was overwhelming.

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