Set your table like an Italian with Il Buco Vita's artisan wares. Photo courtesy of Il Buco Vita.
There's no denying it — Italians have a way with food. Donna Lennard, the restaurateur behind New York City's beloved Il Buco and Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria, showcases a selection of handmade Italian homewares and antiques in a charming second-floor showroom in NoHo called Il Buco Vita. The rustic space has a transportive quality that instantly takes you from the busy streets of NYC to a beautiful home in the Italian countryside. We asked Lennard to share a collection of her favorite Italian-made dishes, glassware, and textiles, so you can create a masterpiece of a dinner party.
Most people link me with my two New York City restaurants, Il Buco and Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria, but my hidden passion is Il Buco Vita, my home line housed on the second floor loft space two doors down from my original restaurant. Vita brings the Il Buco concept full circle, by focusing on the decor that has made my restaurants so inviting. The idea germinated more than 15 years ago in Umbria, my second home, in the small village of Bevagna. Over several evenings of shared food and wine, my dear Umbrian friends, Antonello and Lorenzo Radi, cousins and cronies of my original partner Alberto Avalle, suggested we design a line based on the country's artisan crafts that were losing their hold in the name of mass market brands. Vita harkens back to the early days when Alberto and I collected antiques, buying only what we loved and what touched our personal sensibility. Thus, Il Buco Vita is filled with all of the unique pieces that inspire me to invite friends to my table, share in a meal, and create a meaningful moment.
For those times when you're gathering with friends and family around the dinner table, here are a few essential pieces for a beautiful Italian table setting.
La Riccia Recycled Glass Pitcher
In Maremma's countryside, a young artist transforms discarded objects into unique works of art like this beautiful pitcher. Use it to serve water or a big batch of aperol spritz.
From the heart of Italy's Umbria Region, the white glazed, black terracotta plates were designed in collaboration with artists whose style dates back centuries. The black undertone shows through the glaze and creates an incredible rustic and elegant look.
Handmade in a small village in the province of Tuscany, the mouth-blown glasses are the work of a brother-sister team who have a studio set up on their family property. Francesco and Marta, who learned the craft from their father, a master glass blower and ceramicist, also produce hand-glazed colored terracotta wares for our Montelupo collection.
Produced in a Medieval village in Umbria, the hand-finished Italian textiles are made in small runs, using techniques that date back to the Renaissance. I love to wash and air dry these hand-finished linenn napkins for a natural wrinkle that's really beautiful on the table.
Produced in small batches in Umbria, these lustrous terracotta nesting bowls are individually hand-glazed and low-fired. Clean lines are emphasized with a green-gold edge.I love using these bowls for family style-dining. They work great individually, but look beautiful on the table together.