On our last trip to Italy in the summer of 2019, which now feels like a lifetime ago, my husband and I were celebrating a decade since our first date. In one of our early conversations as a couple we talked about how we didn’t want to be “those Italo-Canadians” who only traveled to Italy and didn’t broaden their horizons. We felt very worldly saying such things. We laugh about that conversation now, lately we laugh in a bittersweet way for how much we miss Italy. You see, we have gone back every summer since 2014 when I needed to go to Sicily for work and took my husband along. The feeling in our bodies was visceral: we were home. It became a yearning every year, and one we were privileged enough to fulfill.
On this particular trip in 2019, we set our alarms for 3:30AM so that we could depart our small rental apartment near Mount Etna National Park and hike up to see the sunrise. It goes without saying that I was grumpy. Not only was it early, but I had developed a fear of wild boar. I am happy to report that there were no animal predators on our easy and scenic hike. We saw the splendid sunrise at 5:30AM and enjoyed the light breakfast we had packed before taking a relaxed pace on the way back down. At the base, the sun was already beating and we had shed most of the layers that were needed at elevation. We hopped into our rental car for the next portion of our day, a surprise my husband said. I was ready for a nap, but went along eager to see what the surprise would be.
Approximately forty-five minutes later, we pulled up to a stunning villa overlooking the sea, our good friend Etna still visible in the distance. This landmark of unspeakable beauty is Gival Gioielli’s factory, showroom and museum.
Gival is one of the most famous Italian jewellery manufacturers whose long family tradition goes back to the end of the 19th century and whose reputation has been maintained by the dedicated preservation of the goldsmith tradition and a passion for jewellery passed down through the generations.
Walking through the showroom, I forgot all about needing a nap. The collections were breathtaking, set in 18 karat gold and using diamonds and other precious stones like sapphires, emeralds, rubies and morganite. Extremely knowledgeable guides informed us of the laborious process that goes into crafting each piece, and the preservation of traditional methods like using Etruscan stone tools for cutting. The brand is proud of its tradition-meets-innovation approach, which has allowed it to thrive and maintain its “Made in Italy” stamp.
The tour of the showroom ends in a grandiose dining room where an epicurean feast is laid out. As we ate, we admired both the outdoor view of the ocean and Etna and the indoor one with meticulously preserved medieval frescoes lining the ceiling. I would have called this experience and the memory of it one of the greatest gifts of my life, but the surprise wasn’t over according to my husband. He showed me a stunning pair of drop earrings from Gival’s “La Vie en Rose” collection, which feature 18K gold, diamond accents and morganite pearl-cut stones as the pièce de resistance. The delicate, feminine design was exactly my style and the perfect way to commemorate our 10 years together. Despite the heartbreak of not being reunited with Italy this year, I can look at my gorgeous earrings and remember this perfect day. (I totally took a nap when we got back to the apartment)