From his famous circle pendant to stone-studded bracelets, Italian designer Roberto Coin is synonymous with fine jewelry. Having been to 117 countries,
Coin views travel as an opportunity to “
understand different cultures and arts, different ways
of thinking, and of course, different ways of
dressing.” Coin initially created his company
in 1977 to produce pieces for other high-end
jewelers. He established his own brand in 1996
and has since acquired a celebrity following with
standalone boutiques from Dubai to Vancouver.
JWM: You draw inspiration from many
places. Is there anywhere in particular
that you find inspiring for your work?
Roberto Coin: Italy continues to surprise
me. Every region, town, street and corner
seems to have a meaning and a beautiful story
to tell. Given my work, it’s important for me
to keep pace with the fashion world, and Italy
continues to generate new ideas and new concepts of elegance.
JWM: Do you have any travel rituals?
RC: I usually will have a bunch of pencils,
sketchbooks, and a camera on the plane with
me to take notes and photographs. I travel frequently on business, and in these circumstances,
I rarely have much time beyond meetings. If time
allows, I’ll read local newspapers and magazines,
and watch the local news. Even if I don’t understand the language, I like to be involved and up
to date on what’s happening in the country I’m
visiting. The other thing that is a must for me
is to go see the area’s art galleries. Modern,
contemporary, antique or surrealist — I love to
see anything that helps deepen my knowledge.
JWM: You’re based in Vicenza, Italy, an
area listed as a UNESCO World Heritage
site. What should people know about it?
RC: Vicenza is an incredible city; it’s the
second most industrialized area in Italy, full
of great names like Bottega Veneta, Diesel
and the Marzotto family. It is one of the
biggest leather manufacturing poles in the
world and it also has over 1,000 jewelry fac-
tories. The region is embellished by the great
beauty of the works of art of Andrea Palladio,
who in the sixteenth century became the first
true architect. In fact, in Vicenza you can see
the first modern villa, the first apartment and
the first mall. Many of Palladio’s villas also dis-
play the incredibly fascinating fresco paintings
of artists like Tiepolo. Vicenza is surrounded
by hills where you can find small villages,
historical restaurants and beautiful itineraries.
Walking and cycling are a must for every inhabitant; Vicenza is truly a wonderful place to live
and to meet people.
JWM: What are some of your travel
tips for people visiting Italy?
RC: Italy offers many options for traveling.
Whatever you decide to do I would advise
to use a well-experienced travel agency and
make sure to book everything widely in advance
unless you have friends in the area. Italy is
known for its wonderful chaos and although
it can be exciting and surprising, it is best to
try to avoid it. Also, the best food is not necessarily found in the most renowned restaurants;
there are a lot of small and beautiful local
“osterie,” where you can find typical and fresh
cuisine. Don’t be afraid to ask for suggestions.
In Italy, you can still bargain when you purchase something, tipping is appreciated but not
necessary, and intelligent complaints are always
accepted, especially with a smile. p
Jewelry designer Roberto Coin shares his
travel rituals and favorite destination.