Italian CashmereItalians are famous for knowing how to enhance the sense sensation of clothing; the impeccable cut and comfort of a natural linen shirt, the caress of a fine leather shoe, and perhaps my personal favorite, the exceptional drape and hand of cashmere. Cashmere  in Italy is subject to many interpretations of this sumptuous thread. No matter the item or the season, cashmere is always a delight to wear and to a pleasure to behold, it always looks good and feels good. And Umbria is the place to buy it.  First, Solomeo.  Much has been written about Brunello Cuccinelli’s intense commitment to his home-town, to the values and aesthetics that make Italy forever an icon of life well-lived. A visit on a sunny day only reinforces the dream. The perfect asymmetry of honey-colored stone buildings piled together on the top of a hill with a ‘I’m on top of the world’ view. And so a visit to Solomeo is a good way to feel good about the world, or at least Umbria. Make sure and visit the workshops with dedicated, attentive employees working under comfortable conditions. Everyone breaks for lunch. Together in the Italian tradition, at 1 pm. They chat and stroll across the arcaded piazza to a large dining room presided over by a gaggle of doting cooks.  The tables are simply laid with thick paper and silver, bread in baskets and wine is proffered. The atmosphere is sympathetic and relaxed with the young hip marketing types at one table and the grey haired matrons at another.  This is a community taking care of itself by taking care of each other, providing for their human needs. Time your visit carefully as the shops — including the all-important, on-site outlet — close for the mid-day break. Or come to the concert hall for a recital or speaker-series, cultural highlights enriching all. Where to stay? I Cappucini Second, Fioroni In the most unlikely of locations — a typically unlovely and poorly marked ‘zona industriale’ is where you will find the fabricator Fioroni. The door to the workshop is often open and while you cannot go in, take a peek if you can. In the huge high-ceilinged room is an acre of sewing machines all white and grey and serving as a canvas for the flashes of Ferrari red, autumn orange and earthen green that are worked in the nimble hands of their seamstresses. From gossamer cardigans for a summer’s eve by the sea to a triple fold, triple-thickness turtleneck for fireside at Christmas, this is the place. The small shop is a full palate of temptations. You cannot leave with just one. Where to stay? Private Listing (please contact us for more information) Finally, Katia Serafini Katia Serafini is local and has made Orvieto her base since her beginning 20 years ago. Everything is locally made, of course, and her style is the divinely effortless beauty and simplicity of good Italian design. Her production is for women– eminently wearable and chic without being trendy.  And, of course, being in Orvieto is a huge plus. The Duomo with its Luca Signorelli frescos, the Pasqualetti gelateria at the far end of the Piazza del Duomo, and Velia’s Champagneria around the corner.  I could go on and on.  Homebase Abroad’s Le Due Case is nearby– a 5 minute drive– so you can browse her collection a couple of times before deciding which pieces make it onto your ‘must’ list.  And extra plus, Fioroni has a place on Piazza Mondaleschi as well. Where to stay? Le Due Case And if you fall in love with the Villa Le Due Scale for instance — never fear, Fioroni is merely 10 minutes away in Orvieto at Piazza Mondaleschi, 1. If you need a reason to go to Umbria, go for the Cashmere…

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