Giacomo Valentini’s house in the ancient Italian city Gallarate in the province of Varese is a mix of faded grandeur and romantic opulence. It is a testament to decades of history but, thanks to a combination of subtle colors, antique furniture and decadent lighting, the space feels welcoming and homey, catering to a modern lifestyle.
“Gallarate, with Celtic origins, is full of history. It is only 10 minutes from Malpensa airport, and you can understand the location is very convenient,” Valentini said.
The soul and driving force behind Italian luxury bag and accessories company Orobianco has been living in this house for a decade.
The building was completely renovated in the 1950s by his father Mario Valentini.
“Since that time, my family has owned this house and its value is incalculable for me, even if, unfortunately, I spend less time than I would love to in it. My job keeps me far from home for a lot of time and I usually spend no more than 10 days per month at home,” he said.
The 300-square-meter house has two floors. His favorite part is the living room because it’s roomy and airy.
“Home is where I take refuge when I’m not traveling around the world, the place where I can reconnect with my daughters and my wife, spending good time with them. For this reason, I try to recreate a comfortable and warming atmosphere,” Valentini said.
The house features a magic mix of modern styles and traditional Italian furniture.
“Feeling good in your own house is vital and this is the feeling I wanted to recreate at home, a sense of comfort and protection that only some chosen furnishings can communicate.
“Things can give you emotions, because they can recall your personal life experiences. In this way, they give you the safety of a familiar place where you can rest in a true, peaceful way,” he added.
The heart of the house lies in the generous living room that is also Valentini’s private library, where he has thousands of books collected during the years. Some of them are really precious. The walnut bookshelves, designed by his father, were made from the wood of a 19th-century church that was destroyed during World War II.
“It was crafted by an artisan from Gallarate, who turned my father’s design into reality. Thanks to some secret techniques used by this artisan, the wood remains unchanged with the passing of time, without any kind of cracks,” he said.
“I love design and art, that’s why I also have sculptures and paintings prominently displayed at home. I love being surrounded by pieces that I’ve chosen because of the historical value.”
As the designer and founder of the Orobianco company, Valentini loves beauty, fashion and in particular design. Valentini said design is a synonym for eternity for him. He wanted to bring this concept into the world of fashion, and obviously, into his family home as well.
Ask the owner
Q: What’s the best thing about living in Italy?
A: We Italians must be proud of our land and our story. Italy is a really lucky country because you can find so many different landscapes and climates at a very short distance and also you can travel coast to coast in only three hours.
Q: Describe your home in three words.
A: Functional, strategic, a shelter
Q: What’s the first thing you do when you get home?
A: I say hello to my family.
Q: How do you unwind?
A: I read a book, listen some good music and draw.
Q: Where do you spend the most time at home?
A: In my living room, which is also my private library.
Q: What’s your favorite object at home?
A: Certainly it is a bronze representing the Fall of Icarus. I love it because it’s a memo, it’s reminds you that, even if you’re succeeding, you have to consolidate your success and remember always where you come from, without letting yourself be driven by the madness of a moment.
Q: What does “design” mean?
A: Design means ageless and without limitations, the contrary of fashion, which is characterized by period and sex.