Fashion Loves Food: Italian Hospitality on Creating a Sense of Place

MILAN — Sicily’s Planeta family owns whimsical vineyards and properties from coast to coast. Its Sciaranuova estate garnered global recognition as the setting for Episode Five of the second season of the HBO hit series “White Lotus.” The family-run company has since created a “White Lotus” tour for guests and fans of the show.

“It was the scene that took place after an argument and there’s a little jealousy in there… It brought us a little more international publicity. I’d say turnover has doubled, the presence on Etna has doubled, and it was a huge success,” Planeta Estate chairman Francesca Planeta said on a panel moderated by WWD Milan Bureau Chief Luisa Zargani that was dedicated to the topic of how luxury vineyards and restaurants influence fashion and culture.

Planeta Estate’s wineries in Menfi, Noto and Etna, among others, serve up the beauty of the island’s countryside accented by the seductive backdrop of the Etna volcano in the distance and its flourishing vineyards embracing its guests. Bringing the beauty of Sicily’s landscape to the fore is something that comes naturally to the Planeta family, which they say can trace its bloodline back 17 generations (which perhaps extends even further back than the House of Plantagenets, whose roots gave fruit to the British royal family and was founded in the 12th century).

Planeta explained that the family’s journey in producing fine wine began in the ’80s. Her father Diego was inspired to ennoble Sicily’s then-low-end wine production, at a time when the focus was on volume rather than quality. The family started its quest in Menfi, situated on the southwestern shore of the island, and later branched out to the eastern territories, targeting villages with wine heritage. Today it produces a variety of wines, from chardonnay to Nero d’Avola.

“We are certainly very unique. We have a great identity, especially from a winemaking point of view. We discovered new varieties, we rejuvenated them and infused them with light,” she said.

Building a strong brand identity is something executive chef Elio Sironi and twin brothers Dean and Dan Caten, creative directors of Dsquared2, got right when they launched Ceresio 7, the hotel, restaurant and poolside bar they opened in 2013. Situated on Milan’s Via Ceresio, the establishment has since become a city landmark and popular spot for the fashion industry.

Elio Sironi at the WWD Fashion Loves Food Gala held at Palazzo Parigi Hotel on November 8, 2023 in Milan, Italy.

Elio Sironi at the WWD Fashion Loves Food Gala.

Federico Lomartire for WWD

Sironi is also no stranger to the fashion business. He started his career working under legendary chef Gualtiero Marchesi and rose the ranks to executive chef at the restaurants in Milan’s Bulgari Hotel and later, Ferragamo‘s Castiglion del Bosco.

The spa at Ceresio 7 has also established itself on the Milan circuit and among travelers, in and outside of the realm of fashion.

Outfitted with a large relaxation area, a small swimming pool, as well as both unisex and women’s only Turkish baths and saunas, the oasis also offers face and body treatments provided by French beauty brand Biologique Recherche.

“Ceresio 7 is a place where we can say ‘yes.’ We hope our customers will stay all day. We pamper you,” he said, admitting candidly that working with a variety of creative minds was an uphill task when it came to getting everyone to agree on every detail at Ceresio 7.

“What we did agree on was that we wanted to provide a great hotel experience with easier access and a lot of relaxation, because comfort, combined with feeling good… and feeling at home is fundamental,” he said.

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