Lake Como with Luigi Turconi

By Drake's

Mar 15, 2024

Lake Como with Luigi Turconi

The house sits on the shore of Lake Como, deep green water flickering in the late afternoon sunshine. Luigi spends a lot of time out here, gardening or firing up the barbecue if the weather allows it which, in the spring and summer, it often does. There are steps that lead all the way down to the water, snaking through prune and apricot trees. The vintage Riva boat that normally bobs on the mooring is currently out of action, but you can imagine taking it out for a spin at dusk would be quite nice. 

Luigi Turconi is one of Como’s most respected textile figures and someone whose relationship with Drake’s stretches back to our founding in the 70s. “I started at age 16 in a studio in Como,” says Luigi, sat at a table in the garden surrounded by rosemary and daisies as birds chirp softly from the perch of ancient trees, a perfect Como afternoon.“For me it’s important to start from nothing.”

Silk and textiles are still a key part of this corner of Lombardy’s heritage, and few know as much about their importance and history as Luigi. “In particular I care about the details. I’ve been lucky to have learnt from the masters, and to respect the old ways of producing. I like to think of my approach as English style with Italian manufacturing.”

In a garden that could have been plucked from a Constable painting, there’s one thing that is of particular importance to Luigi. He rises from the chair and guides us to a tree with a canopy that mottles the sun. “For my production,” he jokes, placing a hand on the 200-year-old trunk of a Mulberry silk tree from Treviso. “You have to enjoy what you are doing, and this tree reminds me of all of that work.”

Later on that evening we take a short drive to a small, stone restaurant that juts up against the lake. Run by two brothers, they’ve been serving the exact same menu—lunch and dinner—since 1987: line-caught perch plucked straight from the lake, cooked in butter and served with local rice. If you can do one thing so well… why change? 

“We still think about the tradition in Italy,” says Luigi, “I hope we don’t lose that.” 

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