Carlo Rivetti: Modena

Carlo Rivetti is the man behind Stone Island, the Italian technical sportswear company that since 1982 has been pioneering fabric development and making some of the most remarkable pieces of outerwear. It has also been a favourite of successive generations of youth culture, from the paninari in Milan to UK football casuals, and has been a uniform of both Britpop and contemporary rap in the US and UK. Today, it’s reaching a new community through a global partnership with the Frieze art fairs. Stone Island is based in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy in the town of Ravarino. The city of Modena is nearby and this is where Rivetti, who is greeted as “Carlo” by Stone Island fans wherever he travels, would have you visit.

So my secret tip is the city of Modena, which is the closest city to the headquarters of Stone Island, which is in Ravarino. We are here in what they call the Motor Valley – Maserati, Ferrari, De Tomaso, Bugatti, and if you want motorcycles, Ducati. They are all here, many within only two kilometres of where we are based.

Modena is the city for all these car makers, and it is also the city of aceto balsamico, balsamic vinegar. And of Modena FC, the football club I bought three seasons ago and which gained promotion last season to Serie B! 

Stadio Alberto Braglia, Modena FC, Italy

Apparently, Modena is the Italian city that has increased its percentage of visitors the most since the pandemic. I think this may be because we have the Enzo Ferrari Museum here, an amazing attraction. And we also have the best restaurant in the world, Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana.

Enzo Ferrari Museum, Modena

But while I love that restaurant, there is a place that I go to that is an historical trattoria. It’s really teeny small and it’s called Ermes. Ermes himself died two years ago and two young guys, they reopened the restaurant and they’re very successful. It’s very typical for Modena: you have three antipasti, you have three pasta, three main courses and two desserts. And it’s always full.

When I make a reservation – because you need a reservation – they totally change the restaurant and they do the tablecloths in yellow and blue, which are the colours of the [football] team. It is not my team at all – it belongs to the city. You might be interested to know that during the time of the fascists they had to change the name from Modena Football Club because the fascists did not like English words – foreign words were forbidden. So it became Modena Calcio. When finally Mussolini was finished, it became Modena Football Club again!

Military Accademia

And then there is another place that you must see in Modena. It is the military accademia, which is like a castle or palace in the city centre in Piazza Roma. It’s a fantastic building and quite often they organise receptions and they invite me. Inside it’s like jumping back 200 years, and this is where they still train the officer recruits. Unfortunately you have to be invited in, it’s not open up the public, but even from the outside it is a marvellous building. 

Enzo Ferrari Museum, Via Paolo Ferrari, 85, 41121 Modena MO, Italy;
Trattoria Ermes, Via Ganaceto, 89, 41121 Modena MO, Italy; stoneisland.com

Photography by Lee Osborne

Peter Howarth has been the style director of British GQ and the editor of Arena, British Esquire and Man About Town. He is the co-founder and CEO of London creative agency SHOW

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