Mom, designer, artist and ceramist: Francesca and her children in beautiful Sicily
We’re excited to share this inspiring Sicilian tale, set in the enchanting scenery of the island’s Northern coastline, somewhere between Messina and Palermo, a secluded paradise where life has been going on peacefully and quietly for centuries. Francesca, originally from Benevento in mainland Italy, moved to this remote yet bewitching part of the world to follow her heart, nine years ago, and settled in Santo Stefano di Camastra, known as “the city of Ceramics”.
Losing oneself in the maze of narrow streets of this ancient town, full of ceramists’ workshops, where art and tradition ooze from every stone, from every piazza, fountain and patio, is exhilarating. The whole town is covered in majolica tiles: an incredible and unique sight.
This is the stunning Sicilian hideaway where Francesca lives with her husband, Salvatore, and their two beautiful children, Sirio (4) and Noah (9 months).
Tell us about yourself, Francesca. How do you spend your days, together with your children, in this small Sicilian town?
We truly live in a little corner of paradise, and our days are always filled with sunshine. Sicily’s climate is warm and gentle all year round, and I love the idea of being able to raise my children here.
Santo Stefano di Camastra is a gem, with art, the sea and the sun as a marvellous backdrop. We all set ourselves objectives in life, mine to is raise my children responsibly, giving them all the time and attention they need, with all the love I have. It’s important for them to be aware of what a special place this is, and that they enjoy every moment of our life here.
In Santo Stefano, life goes own quietly, with great simplicity, and I can feel this reflecting positively in my body and my soul. Taking care of myself and of my children by exercising daily, eating a healthy diet and reading a lot, comes quite naturally here. I have fun in everything I do, that’s my secret, even though looking after two young kids can be tiring at times.
Sirio wears the pure linen shirt with mandarin collar "Peregrina" |
What is the single thing about this place you could never renounce?
As much of a cliché as it may sound, I would never give up…. the sea! The marvellous Sicilian sea and all that goes with it!
Waking up in the morning and watching the horizon from my balcony is one of my greatest pleasures. It gives me a sense of inner peace and quiet. It inspires me, stimulates me and brings joy and excitement to my work. It helps me find new ideas constantly, which I use in my art. I love creating, drawing, building…. The sound of the sea helps me focus when I’m starting a new project, whether it is about interior design, or fashion, or toys for my children. I love using materials which I can source locally, but I also make the most of what Italy has to offer. I’m really happy and this helps me achieving my objectives in life.
Noah wears the special edition ecru colored pure linen "Thyme" jumpsuit |
You’re quite an art enthusiast. Have you passed on your passion to your children?
I’ve been loving art since I was little. I’ve always been creative. My mother always tells me that, when I was a child, she’d see me creating new things all the time; in fact when she didn’t hear me for more than half an hour, she knew I’d be in my bedroom dreaming something up. Art, with all its colours, its shapes and its nuances helped me be the person I am today and I will try to pass this passion on to my children, but without imposing it to avoid putting them off.
I try and involve them in all my project, at least my eldest, to stimulate and inspire them. I’d like them to discover how amazing art can be, and show them how much emotion and satisfaction it can bring. Now they’re probably too young to understand that you can find art in a sunset, a flower, a starry night or in the changing colours of the sea, but I will do everything I can to pass on my passion to them so they can fully enjoy it in the future.
Sirio eats the mulberries, a typical Sicilian fruit.
Thanks to the artist Nicola Mirenda for hosting us in his Atelier.
Nicola Mirenda is a reference for the world of Sicilian ceramics. Known above all for having overturned the traditional "Moor's heads" giving them different and original characteristics. Some of his works have been exhibited in Milan by Alessandro Borghese within the review "The recipe of universalism".
Pirandello's dedication to Santo Stefano di Camastra:
"The Zirafa, who had a nice tour of it in his farm of the Quote in Primosole, foreseeing that the five old enameled earthenware jars he had in the cellar would not be enough to contain all the oil from the new collection, had ordered one in time sixth more capable in Santo Stefano di Camastra, where they were made: tall in the breast, beautiful pot-bellied and majestic, that the abbess belonged to the other five. Who did not attack Don Lollò Zirafa? "