No Place Like Home: Alberto Alessi

President, Alessi

No Place Like Home: Alberto Alessi

Photo by Mags Mogensen

Alberto Alessi is the third generation in his family to lead the iconic Italian design firm Alessi since his grandfather, Giovanni, founded the company in 1921. He is known for having reinvigorated the brand by bringing high-design housewares to the masses, collaborating over the years with talents ranging from Philippe Starck to Salvador Dali. While the longtime president of Alessi has traveled the corners of the globe, the one place Alessi really ever wants to return to is his childhood home of Lake Orta, in northern Italy’s Piedmont region, where he lives today.

Name the one place you’ve always wanted to go.
I’m where I really love—Lake Orta, Italy.

What’s your spirit city? (Where do you want to return to over and over?)

Do you have a travel ritual?
To buy something that allows me to eat reasonably well during the flight.

Do you maintain any routines from home while traveling?
Not really. I’m a very monotonous person.

Sorry, you only get to eat one regional cuisine for the rest of your life. What is it?

What one piece of advice would you give to someone traveling abroad for the first time?
Plan well, seek advice, and look forward to knowing more the second time!

A view of Isola San Giulio on Italy's Lake Orta, Alessi's favorite place.

A view of Isola San Giulio on Italy’s Lake Orta, Alessi’s favorite place.

Describe your travel personality in three words.
Easygoing, lazy, foodie.

Are your trips very planned, or very spontaneous?
Usually my staff organizes my timetable and agenda. They are very keen to take care of me!

What’s the one travel souvenir you’d save in a fire?
A Christopher Dresser candleholder in tin, mid 19th century, bought in London twenty years ago.

What book/movie most inspired you to travel?
Maybe some culinary guides.

Who’s your ideal travel partner?
My partner, Laura.

Which travel experience do you prefer: plugged in or unplugged?
Unplugged: as few electronics as possible.

What’s a custom from another culture that you’d love to implement in your life back home?
The amicable French rituals around having a meal.

What’s the first thing you seek out in a new place?
If the room has a bidet.

What’s the one thing you indulge in on a trip that you don’t at home?
Drinking cocktails!

What’s your first travel memory?
My father driving me around in his tiny airplane when I was around 10 years old—nausea.

Alessi found his favorite travel souvenir in London: a tin candleholder created in the 19th century by design theorist Christopher Dresser.

Alessi found his favorite travel souvenir in London: a tin candleholder created in the 19th century by design theorist Christopher Dresser.

>>NEXT: AFAR Insider Frederic Cumenal, CEO, Tiffany & Co

Jennifer Flowers is an award-winning journalist and the senior deputy editor of Afar.
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