Italy is famous for both its food and for the style and elegance of its table dressing. Our table settings are unrivaled in simplicity and luxury. We say simplicity and luxury, but there is also a focus on craftsmanship and respect for family traditions, combined with a measure of pride, which justifies that bit of creative folly that sets us apart.
Italian Table Setting
For dinner in a country house or on a terrace by the sea, the table setting will be more colorful and rustic than it is on other occasions. But here, too, nothing is left to chance. With a brocaded linen tablecloth or damask linen in a vivid color by Frette, one of the largest linen producers in Italy, the dishes, the pitchers, and the soup plates should be from Ceramica di Caltagirone. This ceramic ware, from a small town in Sicily, features lively designs and colors, with decorations that often date back to the Middle Ages. Craft traditions have been handed down from father to son for centuries. A service whose plates have so much personality may be accompanied by flatware of simple lines to make the whole a bit lighter, such as the Caccia model in silver designed by Luigi Caccia Dominomi for Alessi, a true classic in international design.
The story of Waterloo Village is most closely linked with the history of one family: the Smiths. The Homestead, built in the 1760s, became Peter Smith’s home after he arrived in Waterloo in 1831. Smith opened a general store and developed several other businesses that supplied or were connected to the canal trade. Located on a hill overlooking both the canal and store that was the basis for the family’s wealth, “the rather imposing home looks down on the small empire that Smith built here,” says Darcy Hartman, director of education for the village. “The structure helps portray the life of a man who did something for a community that really lasted.”
The history of The Homestead
Smith lived at the homestead with his wife Maria and their 11 children. As his fortune grew, Peter served as a state senator and helped to found the local church, in addition to being a member of numerous boards and societies. Only six of the Smith’s 11 children – Samuel, Matilda, Caroline, Peter Jr., Nathan, and Seymour – survived to adulthood. All six at one time or another lived in Waterloo homes. Three of the sons carried on the family businesses. Samuel managed the store and lived in the Iron Master’s residence, built in the late 1700s to house the head of the forge. He also managed the family’s grist- and sawmills. Eventually he went into the railroad business, and sold his share in the store to his brothers. Peter Jr., also involved in the family businesses, built a mansion for his family in 1871. Seymour married the daughter of a miller and built Wellington House in 1878. Nathan lived next to the church in a structure that is now used as the parish house. Matilda and her husband lived in the Canal House. Caroline married and moved to New York.