A Touch of Italy

“Entertaining is not about perfection, it is about connection.”

For more years than I can count, eight of us have gathered once each month for gourmet night.  The host couple plans the menu, sends recipes to the group with a preparation assignment for each of the other couples.  The dinner generally consists of an appetizer, a salad or soup, an entrée and a dessert, and thanks to the advance planning of the hosts it is a combination of compatible flavors.

At our house this time around, the menu is Italian, and I want the table to reflect the warmth of Italy.

Remember these?  Once upon a time  straw wrapped Chianti bottles were commonplace, and, like these, doubled as candle holders once the wine was gone.  No telling how many years these have been in my cabinet, but they do come in handy from time to time.

For this dinner, they are a perfect place to start creating a tablescape.  They are on a handwoven runner and combined with colorful vases filled with herbs that will flavor the main course.

There’s a culture mix here as the runner is from Mexico, not Italy!

The patterned dishes, however, are authentic.  They are from Ravello, and the hand painted pieces feature different designs and color.  If you’ve seen other of my tables, you know that mixing styles is a signature, so using Fiestaware as a charger will come as no surprise.

The placemats and napkins, actually tea towels that are used asr napkins, are  Pier One finds. For a little touch of the unexpected the napkins are folded simply and angled at the corner of the mat.  Who says one can’t create their own rules?

With the table set and, hopefully, setting the tone for a relaxed and enjoyable evening, it’s off to the kitchen to begin preparing my part of the meal.  Come back tomorrow for some shared recipes.

Joining Susan and friends at Tablescape Thursday and Open House Party

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15 thoughts on “A Touch of Italy

  1. Hi Linda~ I do remember those straw wrapped Chianti bottles with candles! Sadly, I don’t have a stash to pull out & use. I love your creative mix of color, pattern & texture and breaking the rules is always fun~ your angled napkins are a perfect example! I’m sure dinner was delicious~ so much more enjoyable & interesting when everyone contributes 🙂

  2. I can just imagine this table set up on the terrace of that wonderful villa right on the square in the old walled city of Ravello….one of the most beautiful places that I’ve ever seen. This design was a recipe for a leisurely evening of friends, food, and fellowship…I’m guessing that everyone lingered long into the evening. Thanks for inviting us for a peak. Cherry Kay

    1. I did a cooking week in Ravello and stayed, I think, at the villa you reference. Agreed, it is a most wonderful place that I need to go back to as the time spent there I was not feeling great.

  3. Oh wow! What a trip down memory lane with your Chianti bottles. Love your cheerful table too.

  4. I really enjoyed viewing your Italian theme tablescape. The dinnerware is so lovely with all the pretty colors and the great hand painted detail. I love the wine bottles with the candles on the striped runner. You have a great table for some delicious Italian food. Happy Tea Party! Pam

  5. So sad they don’t do straw wrap anymore on Chianti bottles. I have not noticed since we don’t drink Chianti and haven’t been to Italy. Your table is festive and I love all the color and texture. I bet your group loves to come to your house. I look forward to the menu and recipes.

    1. I tried to find more of the straw encased bottles but they are more scarce than they used to be!

  6. Lovely tablescape, so many rich colors!

    Have a wonderful weekend!


  7. We have two dinner groups. One is so faithful about meeting once a month and the other is more like once a year, but it is wonderful to have friends like this isn’t it? I love your candle. Until you mentioned it, I didn’t realize that you don’t see those much anymore. Your beautiful Italian plates just finish the table off. I am sure you had a fabulous time!

  8. Hi lovely lady.
    Your Tablescape is beautiful and so festive with all the colors, you did a great job putting this all together!! I will be right over for dinner Ok. I hope you come over and see me some time.
    I also hope you have a wonderful week with your family.
    XXOO Diane

  9. Loving this table! The colors and textures are fabulous!

  10. Just lovely and so inviting. I loved the herbs in vases!

  11. Yeah, girl!!! This is what I’m talkin’ ’bout!!! I think we have Spring on the brain which is causing an explosion of creativity and the need for color of a different breed. This table is really poppin’!! Great idea to substitute herbs for flowers in those fun-shaped vases (I’ll bet that smelled great, too!), and to offset the napkin & flatware. I have a T-shirt that says, “Rules Are Just Rough Guidelines”, and I believe that to be oh-so-true when it comes to tabletop design! I remember making those Chianti bottles with the candles back in the 70s. It was always so much fun to see what the final result would be. What is it about the straw, though? I don’t remember that part.

    1. Hey, I need one of those tee shirts as I am often accused of bending rules!

  12. shirley@housepitalitydesigns February 23, 2012 — 8:47 am

    I love your festive table…..You are absolutely correct…not about the perfect table, it is all about the “persons who occupy the chairs”…

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