5 Ways to See Italy
Mantua: Design Scene
Style guru Carla Sozzani highlights the best spots in her native Lombardy town.
Carla Sozzani may be synonymous with cutting-edge style in Milan, but the founder of the 10 Corso Como shopping emporium actually hails from a history-rich town 120 miles east of Italy’s fashion capital. “Mantua informed my earliest experiences,” she says. “The beautiful places that surrounded me still influence my aesthetic choices.” Mantua’s palpable past—medieval streets; Renaissance palazzi—is now the backdrop of a burgeoning arts, design, and literary enclave, which continues to draw Sozzani back to her birthplace year after year.
Great Value Hotel Casa Poli All 34 minimalist rooms are outfitted with Flos and Groppi light fixtures; beds are dressed in dark blue and bordeaux linens. Doubles from $216.
Ristorante Il Cigno Sozzani’s favorite restaurant is housed in a 500-year-old palazzo and serves the town’s best tortelli di zucca (pumpkin ravioli). Dinner for two $150. L’Aquila Nigra Under original 14th- and 15th-century frescoes, choose from a mix of classic and experimental dishes. Try the crunchy fried river shrimp with zucchini. Dinner for two $180.
Bar Caravatti Select a table by the window, order the golden-brown namesake aperitif, and watch the bustle in nearby Piazza delle Erbe. Drinks for two $15.
Agape The white-and-wood design store sel