Italy, Friendship and Fornasetti


I know I said I wasn’t going to post this week but I couldn’t wait to share my recent trip.

It was wonderful, partly because Italy is such a fabulous place but mainly because of the people I was with. Ines, Asali and Natalie are all truly kind, supportive and inspiring women.  It was a real joy to finally meet Ines (read her lovely write-up here) and Asali (who designed my gorgeous blog header) and to get to know Natalie better.

We not only saw Bologna, where we were based, but also took the train to Parma for the day.

Sadly, Ines and Asali had to leave before our final expedition to Venice on Monday.











I came home feeling extremely fortunate, but also with something I’ve wanted to own for a while now.




Fornaetti is an iconic Italian homewares brand, producing room fragrances, plates, cushions etc.

You may have seen their scented candles, even you didn’t know the name. The images are very striking and usually quirky. I guess they are something that you either find  appealing or you don’t. For me, they are actually much more about the ceramic holders than the scent of the candle inside. They are a thing of beauty and wit – a winning combination.

What had put me off until now was the price. The smaller 300g ones are generally £140. However, visiting Italy gave me the perfect excuse. We were browsing a clothes shop in Parma when I noticed the candles. There were about 8-10 of them and I thought they would make the perfect souvenir of this awesome experience.




The shop offered a little money off and when Natalie worked out the conversion rate (£113), that swung the deal.

I took a little while to make up my mind but I went with the image that spoke to me the most.  This one of soprano Lina Cavalieri dressed as a medieval knight – called “Armatura” –  fits me to a T. As Natalie said “It’s dark and empowering”.




The candle’s scent is called ‘Otto’ which was created in collaboration with perfumer Olivier Polge, who in recent years has composed Misia and Boy for Chanel.  The fragrance was inspired by the Mediterranean herbs found in and around the Fornasetti home in Milan. It has notes of thyme, lavender, cedarwood and incense and was created in Grasse, France, while the porcelain holders are made and hand-decorated in Italy.



I’ve been piecing together my own metaphysical suit of armour for a couple of years now and the idea of a fighter with femininity resonates greatly with me. It will be a nice reminder of the strong women that are my friends and for who I will travel the earth to see, as well as my own inner warrior.



Do you like Fornasetti or scented candles in general? Is there a decorative object that you’ve long lusted after?




Filed under Perfume Friends, Perfume Shopping, Travels

23 responses to “Italy, Friendship and Fornasetti

  1. I love that candle, as in the ceramics, it’s great, and yes, the perfect souvenir. It was wonderful to finally meet you, and I can’t thank you enough that you encouraged the Italy plan to include Ines and myself ❤️ Back in Denmark, Italy is still a little in the blood.

    Liked by 1 person

    • At first I felt so uneasy about spending that amount of money but then very soon, I was really glad I went for it. There will never be a better reason to go for it or a design that I find more meaningful.
      I’m so happy the plan came together, I can’t tell you!


  2. Sandra

    Looks like a wonderful trip Tara. You all look like you had a great time. And oh my! Love Fornasetti – your candle is gorgeous. Sandra xo


    • I think we all felt really pleased it worked out so well and that we got along famously, which is never guaranteed. Nice to hear you’re a Fornasetti fan too, Sandra!


  3. I love scented candles too. Great post


  4. The trip sounds wonderful from end to end! And I am guessing you didn’t just travel with hand luggage, given your souvenir purchase…;) I have long lusted after those candles, even though I think they work better in a modern house, especially one with lots of white backdrop to accessorise with assorted funky coloured things. I think you picked a perfect design to capture your own personal j*****y, and it will be a lovely reminder of the holiday. Will you ever light it do you think?

    So was Natalie’s husband there to make up the six, as well as his friend? That would make him an honorary ragazza, I guess, which is no bad thing to be!

    I approve of the alliterative title too. To which I would add Fusilli…


    • I think it depends on the design. I can see some of them fitting in really well in a house that has character,h like yours. I always love a contrast anyway, mind you. Which one/s do you like the most?

      I will light it in the autumn, with trepidation!

      Yes, Natalie’s hubby was there too as was his pal from New York would was fantastic.


      • Oh I did travel with hand luggage only and managed to take 3 bags with me onto the plane on the way back 🙂


        • Wowza – so much for the ‘one bag rule’. 😉 For me it would be a toss up between the one you got and the nibby one – Pennini Nero. Lovely lovely things!


          • With BA you can take a handbag and your wheelie case so I was only pushing it by one, which I find you can generally get away with on the way back.

            Oh the ninny one is fabulous and so perfect for you!


  5. Ingeborg

    This looks like yet another fabulous trip abroad. Bologna must have been a good place to meet (I’ve never been, but used to know people who had studied there). Venice is wonderful too,but it is hard to find genuine Italian food there! I’m not big on scented candles, but have finally started burning a candle from Lorenzo Villoresi. Of the ones from Fornasetti I really like the Architettura design, I’ve eyed those designs for some time, but decided against buying. But isn’t it good to bring home a quality souvenir (and a scented one at that) rather than just any small touristy ornament?


    • Nice to hear from you Ingeborg.

      Bologna might have seemed a bit random to some but it worked out really well.

      You are so right about the food in Venice. We went for Middle Eastern.

      Oh, I’m guessing those are the building designs. I really admire those too. It’s so true that it was lovely to bring home a quality reminder of my trip and something I’d wanted for a while.


  6. Lady Jane Grey

    Sounds fabulous – the girls, Italy, and of course Fornasetti. And when you burned the candle you have a gorgeous holder for a new candle or anything else. That’s my excuse for buying them 😉


  7. Looks like you had a wonderful time. Great pics! I must check out Fornasetti’s candles.


  8. I’m so glad that you enjoyed the trip! You made me want to go there one day as well.

    I was never interested in those candles – even without knowing the price. Now, when I know, I think they are a little too expensive (not taking into the account the discounted price you managed to get) – unless one of them just speaks to somebody. It’s great that you found the one (and managed to fit it into the hand luggage! 😉 ).


    • It was the combination of the image, discount and idea of having such a special souvenir that pushed me over the edge. It’s hard to talk about value for money when it comes to luxury items. As you were implying, it’s whether it’s worth it to you personally.
      Airport security were suspicious but I got it through after unpacking it for them 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Don’t get me wrong: I’m not trying to evaluate luxury items in terms of their usefulness or actual cost. My scale goes inside the category itself. To illustrate it, I can say that, for example, I think that some Hermes scarfs are not worth their price – while others, of exactly same size and material, are. For me, of course, not in general 🙂


  9. Bologna looks beautiful Tara, so glad you put photos on your instagram as well. Love the candle you chose the Opera singer with the armour, good on you, its the memory of the time and the place. Afterwards its a lovely vase or makeup brush container, its never lost to me! I often wondered who designed your beautiful masthead.


    • I’ve really taken to Instagram which has surprised me.
      Bologna was great and Parma was a nice contrast. Of course, you know how much I love Venice.
      I have no buyer’s remorse with that candle. It’s all about the container and I think I’d feel too uneasy to use it for anything else when the candle is gone. It’s a beautiful ornament and lovely reminder for me.


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