circle conversations │ virginia ontini

Virginia Ontini is a museum lover. She lives with her family on Lake Como.

Virginia on her terrace, wearing the WIND jacket in Feather.

Can you please share with us what you do in life?

I work for an exhibition agency and tour around world exhibitions organised by different museums or private collectors. It’s such an interesting job. The exhibitions I work with extend beyond the fields of science, art, design, fashion and photography.

Virginia working from home, wearing the AILA sweater.

I am curious about how viewers emotionally react to an exhibition?

There are a lot of studies on how people feel after viewing an exhibition. Normally, you feel well and happy, and these studies have shown a correlation between the release of endorphins (natural feel-good chemicals) and an increase in the emotional well-being of visitors to museums. Museums can be good for people, positively influencing mood and reducing stress hormones, while also generating an increase in immune capacity and cardiovascular reactivity. It is quite interesting how our mind, watching a beautiful piece of art, reacts positively. Museums could become a place for well-being, and help people feel better.

Please name your favourite museum?

I love so many museums that it's difficult to make a short list, however, my favorite one is the V&A. I love its eclectic collections and its temporary exhibitions are amazing; well curated, super interesting, and a great mix of art, design, fashion and photography.

Please could you give us examples of your favourite artists?

At this moment, my favourite artists are Gerhard Richter, for his photorealistic paintings, the American figurative artist Alex Katz and Bridget Riley.

What gives you energy during the day?

Living with nature around gives me a lot of energy. I am fortunate to live in Lake Como, where the landscape from my window is so incredible: sometimes poetic and melancholic, sometimes dramatic. I also love that I can experience and feel all four seasons here, and each is so beautiful in its own right. I remember living in Milan, where I felt that every day was the same, and it was such an event if the sun came out. Here at Lake Como, you can enjoy the rain, the wind and the sun. It is nice also to have different emotions throughout the year.

SEREN throw ivory in Virginia’s study.

What does Lake Como represent for you?

I have to tell you, I was very surprised when we moved here, as I was resisting it. I wasn’t very happy to leave Milan. But when I arrived, I met so many new friends. There is a great international community. Life is interesting here, and it is more important what you make out of a place than what the place makes out of you. Plus, there are some great hiking trails just behind the house, up on the mountains overlooking the lake.

You have a beautiful home. How do you approach creating space?

We really wanted to have a home which incorporated all our design pieces and memories, which we collected throughout the years. When we moved here, we didn’t want to buy any furniture, as we wanted to feel the atmosphere and the mood of the house. Still, we don’t have a proper living room, as we are still thinking of how to make it our own. So we are slowly getting there.

HESTA throw Ivory/Black in Virginia's library. Virginia wearing the MODAHA coat in Forest.

What foods bring you joy?

Pizza. It is such a fun meal, and always brings a smile to my face! And very important, you should drink chinotto or beer (never wine!).

Please share with us your tips about hosting your friends and family in your beautiful home. What aspect do you find important? What do you like to cook?

I like my friends to feel at home in my house and share with them the joy of small things, such as enjoying a good dish or a drink, or moments of leisure and relaxation. I’m obsessed with baking bread and I'm very lucky my husband loves to cook!

How do you feel when wearing Oyuna pieces?

I feel so chic, and I love the feeling of OYUNA cashmere on my skin. It is something more than a nice jumper or a nice scarf. I feel hugged by the garment. It is such a great feeling. The pieces are comfortable, and I always feel very good in them.

What does sustainability mean to you?

Sustainability is everyone's responsibility, to take care of our world: our planet and our society.

Virginia in the AILA sweater.

What do you think when I say “blue”?

The sky.


My Grandma (on my mother’s side). She was such a fantastic woman, raising five children in the 1940s, and working at the same time. She was never tired.


My dog, Thea.


Roman Sculptures.