Away from its mystical monasteries and romantic alleyways, Lago d'Orta is home to a doyen of international design. Alessi (they of the Starck-designed, spindly legged juicer) set up shop near sleepy Omegna in 1921. The company employed cutting-edge designers hailing from as far afield as Australia and Japan, who have gone on to create over 22,000 pieces of inventive homeware for the firm. Some of these now reside in New York's MoMA and London's V&A.
Although only industry specialists can peek into Alessi's 'holy of holies' historical collection, mere mortals can revel in the company's huge factory shop. The entire Alessi range is on sale, from steel and leather champagne buckets to transparent plastic egg cups; there are special offers on seconds and end-of-line articles.