Hey yall! So, we are back from Italy and our trip was amazing! We saw so many new cool designs and products that are coming our way, and we couldn’t be more excited! I thought it would be cool to give you all a recap of where we went, what we saw, etc. Also, if any of you are traveling to Verona soon, I will do a recap of the restaurants we went to, places to see, things to do, etc.
This year two of our other sisters, Mary and Claire, joined us for the show, along with our Director of Showroom Sales, Jesse Bouchard.
Every year in Verona, there is a stone show called Marmomac. This is a global stone expo where exhibitors, buyers, and trade operators come together and meet, exchange info, and buy and sell the newest trends on the market. You can read more about this amazing show here: Marmomac. Triton has attended Marmomac for the past 6 years, and it’s always a great experience! The trip is always a whirlwind! As soon as we land in Italy, we head straight to the show…no naps allowed! Luckily, there is always ample espresso on hand to get us through that first day.
By the time we arrived, got our bags, checked into the hotel and headed to the show, it was already noon. The show is from 9am-6:30pm each day, and the first day is always a little slower with everyone arriving. We grabbed cappuccinos and croissants, and walked around the venue.
The Verona Exhibition Center is huge, with 12 different Halls and 4 outdoor areas….almost a million square feet. That’s 20 acres- or 15 football fields.
Needless to say, comfortable footwear is a MUST. Because we only have 3 days, we always split up to cover more ground. Jesse and I headed to the “Turkey” Hall, and worked on sourcing more limestone, travertine, and mosaics for our line. Katie headed to the “Italy” hall to meet with some of our current slab suppliers, as well as source new ones. The fair is set up so that when you go to the different halls, they are separated by country. This is especially helpful when remembering the language you need to speak!
On our way out that first day, we stopped by a current supplier to visit. The prosecco usually starts flowing around 4…it is Italy, after all!The stone industry is primarily a male industry, so Triton definitely stands out being a woman owned and operated company. This trip, we turned even more heads since there were 4 sisters together, instead of the usual 2!
Once we made it back to the hotel, we got ready for dinner. We were headed to a place called Osteria Casa Vino in Verona. The food was AMAZING! We were eating with one of our long-time suppliers, Thor Granitos. They are based out of Brazil and have been a great partner for Triton over the years. Truly, they are like family to us, and every time we go to a trade show, we do something together….always one of our highlights when we are traveling. During the show, the city of Verona is full of people attending the show, and EVERYONE heads to Piazza Delle Erbe’ after their dinners or events. It’s a good spot to meet up with people you didn’t see during the day, just mingle, and most end the night from here. We were exhausted, so we headed to bed to rest up for the next day!
Day 2 was a little different because we actually didn’t go to the show. Jesse and I headed to the Florim factory in Fiorano Modenese, which is about 2 hours from Verona. Katie, Claire, and Mary went to the Antolini factory to meet with Alberto Antolini to pick blocks to prepare for slabs. Alberto is another of Triton’s partners that have become like family to us. Whenever we are in Italy, they make sure we are always taken care of.
The Florim Factory was insane! Their showroom is essentially 10-12 houses, all filled with Florim products. Florim is one of the largest producers of porcelain products in the world. In 2012, they invested over $60 million dollars toward advances in their production technology, and their mission states that they are committed to staying at the forefront of new technological innovation. They were one of the first companies to introduce HDG (High Definition Graphics) technology. Basically, this means that unless you are an expert in the field, it is very difficult to decipher between one of their porcelain marble looks, and a real marble look. I actually have their 24×48 Calcutta Gold porcelain tiles installed in my kitchen, and I couldn’t be happier with how it came out. Learn more about Florim products here Florim.
These 3 siblings have been working together at Antolini for a very long time, and are such an inspiration to me and my siblings!
The trip to the Antolini factory never disappoints, and Katie, Claire and Mary had a very productive day there! Read more about Antolini here: Antolini. Comfortable shoes are an absolute must when we go to the factory because both Katie and Alberto are like energizer bunnies…they never stop! First, he took them through the granite and quartzite slab showroom, where he keeps all of his main colors. This is where Katie selects of a lot of what will be in our inventory, and restocks the colors that we already have. This takes a long time, as the showroom is huge. Next was lunch, which is a large catered event with handmade pastas, meats and cheeses….exactly what you want in Italy! After that, he took them to one of the newest showrooms where he showcases all of his marble slabs. It is quite a beautiful sight to see, with all the white marble lined up. We all met back up at the hotel in Verona, and got ready for the big event at Antolini that night. Alberto was unveiling his newest project, which is called the WOW Factory. This factory is the first of its kind that processes the blocks into slabs, using all machinery. Alberto always goes over the top (in the best way), and there were over 800 guests at this grand opening. We got to hang out with Alberto and his family, and enjoyed the night.
Friday morning was the last day we would be attending the show, so we headed back bright and early. We all split up, so we could cover the most ground, and had such a good last day! We were able to secure some important material for some big projects we have coming up, as well as met with a few more current suppliers. We were all staying through the weekend, so we went back to our hotel around 4 and got changed and ready for dinner. That night we went to an awesome restaurant in Verona with another one of our Triton partners, Sagevan. You can read more about them here: http://www.sagevanmarmi.com/en/Afterwards we walked back to the main square to mingle and start to tell people goodbye (since the show was over, many were headed home) and then headed to bed. We were headed to Siena in the morning to go stay at a castle, and visit the wineries.
All in all, this trip was productive, fun, exhausting, and memorable. Can’t wait to go back again!