The Perfect Summer


Bitossi Italian Modernist Stoneware Ashtray with Incised, "Rimini Blue" Glazing (LEO Design)

I love visiting the Mediterranean during the Summer.  Greece, Italy, Spain or the South of France—it doesn't matter—I love the warm, dry weather and the sapphire blue waters of that ancient sea (and the cultures which surround it).  Summer is always that much better when it includes a bit of time on (or near) the Mediterranean Sea.  

In the handsome city of Monte Carlo, they built a large pier—to both protect the small (expensive) boats inside the harbor and to allow large ships to dock on the outer side.  On the sea-facing side of the pier, a large cement structure (called "Solarium Beach") has been designed as a series of gigantic "steps" leading to the water.  They allow bathers to picnic, sunbathe on beach towels, or simply gaze out into the Mediterranean in contemplation.  There are even "pool ladders" every fifty feet which allow swimmers to easily climb out of the sea after a dunk.  I was highly impressed with this public accommodation, an attempt to democratize the enormously expensive pier construction (in a city not known for economic equity).  Although the pier does, indeed, provide tremendous service to the wealthy yacht owners (docked inside the harbor), it also provides a nice, clean place for locals (and tourists) of lesser means to enjoy and make use of the pier investment—and the sapphire blue sea.

The Italian Modernist ashtray, shown above, was made by Bitossi in the 1960's or 1970's.  It is hand-crafted of heavy stoneware, decorated with hand-incising, and finished in Bitossi's signature "Rimini Blue" glazing.  It would make a summery splash as the centerpiece on your coffee table—a constant reminder of the sapphire waters surrounding Italy.  In truth, Rimini is located along the Adriatic Sea, on the Eastern coast of the Italian peninsula—though this beautiful waterway is connected to (and shares its water with) the greater Mediterranean Sea.  Click on the photo above to learn more about this handsome bowl.


Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (

We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques ( or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (

Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248