My Italian Grandmother Swears by These Luxe-Looking Dinner Plates, and Now the Style Is Trending on Social Media
When an Italian rendition of the coastal grandmother aesthetic began hitting my social feeds this summer, I found it to be a comforting reminder of a world I already understood, given my family heritage. The Lisa Say Gah “Italian Summer” clothing collection, The Pasta Tarot’s release of the wind-swept Pasta Scarf, @pastagirlfriend’s rise to Insta fame, “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy” on CNN, and “The White Lotus” season two — all wonderful, gorgeous examples of how the Italians celebrate good food, good wine, and good times. Truly, though, none of these could ever fully replicate the experience of living with my Italian grandparents. While far from the Amalfi coastline, I would watch my grandmother handpick juicy, summer tomatoes from her backyard garden in the Bronx for marinara she would then ladle onto blue-and-white Spode plates at dinner. My grandfather, in his slip-on loafers and breast-pocket polo shirts, would quietly speak about the “old country” while dipping bread into freshly-served sauce.
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I watched meal after meal offered with love on those blue, ornate plates — and what I loved the most was how no matter the occasion or time of day, it always felt special. This bold-looking tableware transformed a simple pasta into something magical. Quick pennes and thrown-together salads felt modern and Instagram-worthy, even though the plates were passed down from my great-great-grandmother in Pompeii, my great-grandmother in Naples, and to my grandmother when she got married here in the states.
Beyond my sunny memories, this dinnerware trend has recently been dominating TikTok and Instagram, leaving its mark on modern kitchenware and leaning into the #italiansummer aesthetic. More than their signature ocean-blue markings and ceramic craftsmanship, these plates are a reminder to slow down, dine well, and bask in beauty like the Italians do. In fact, when visiting Italy this fall, I happened to take a cooking class with Stefanie Celio, owner of The Blue Kitchen Capri cooking school, who describes this distinct shade of blue as an ode to Italian summers. “Blue for Italians is truly the feeling of a summer beach day embracing la dolce vita at a very slow pace, living in the moment surrounded by natural beauty,” Celio says. Even though we grew up an ocean apart, the dinnerware styles between Capri and my grandmother’s kitchen were enchantingly parallel.
While the warm months in the Bronx listening to opera music and nursing a blue bowl full of ravioli are long gone, I can always see the ocean peeking up at me from my own dinner set, reminding me of the allure of an Italian summer. Ready to channel that wanderlust for yourself and serve up a big plate of ravioli (or any entree, really) on luxe-looking Italian-inspired dinnerware? Still reeling from a Monica Vitti-impersonating Jennifer Coolidge slurping down linguine vongole, as well? Then say hello to these eight blue-and-white plates below, which add a celebratory, summery touch to any dinner table, year-round.