They say you can never have too many shoes, and I’d say the same goes for sunglasses. From cat-eye sunglasses to aviators and sporty styles, I love how eyewear enhances each individual’s style and personality. When it comes to Italian sunglasses, chic frames are a must-have piece in my wardrobe. I never leave home without them.
From Rome to Milan, we’ve rounded up our favorite artisanal, handcrafted Italian sunglasses. They’re perfect to add to your wish list just in time for summer.
A young brand established in 2020, Sestini Eyewear is a newcomer to the Italian sunglass scene — and already generating a buzz. Founded by fashion enthusiast and global influencer Carlo Sestini, Sestini’s chic frames not only protect your eyes from the sun. They also create space for the wearer to become a cultural observer in a sensory-overloaded world.
Through thoughtful craftsmanship and elegant design, Sestini has launched multiple core collections of shapes and shades produced in limited quantities, becoming the new timeless “it” brand for all face shapes and sizes. I am obsessed with their oval, ’60s-inspired frames “Cinque” and can’t wait to wear them while I embrace the lettino lifestyle this summer.
As a vintage enthusiast with a penchant for 1960s style, I can’t help but appreciate Italian sunglasses handcrafted by L.G.R.
Created by Luca Gnecchi Ruscone in the early 2000s, the brand was born after Ruscone discovered a sunglass model in his grandfather’s warehouse of Italian imports in Africa. The frames transported him to an era of romance and glamor which he sought to recreate. L.G.R. World has since produced sunglass collections embodying the timeless elegance of the Italian Riviera, with hints of freedom and exploration, in its three-generational artisanal laboratory.
Gast, an independent eyewear label based in Milan, is on a mission to create hand-made, anti-industry-priced sunglasses without sacrificing quality, innovation, and sustainability. The brand works alongside Italy’s leading six-generational company Mazzuchelli with expert artisans to produce Gast’s designs — a process that takes more than fifty steps from start to finish. Limited in quantity, but not selection, the creative team takes inspiration from various colors, feelings, and characteristics of the metropolis city of Milano when designing each item.
I recently stumbled upon Retrosuperfuture while doing some early-summer shopping at one of my favorite curated Roman boutiques, Officine Red. In no time, I became the proud owner of a pair of these magnetic blue shades. Born in 2007 in Milan, founder Daniel Beckerman longed to create a collection of glasses that mirrored the daringness and unpredictability of street-style fashion that wasn’t being replicated in the sunglass industry. He also wanted to remain rooted in Italian craftsmanship with an affordable price tag.
Today, the brand has collaborated with names like Marni and Diesel, and Retrosuperfuture frames are worn by A-list celebrities from Rihanna to Bella Hadid.
5. Ophy Eyewear
Architecture and modern contemporary design are the core ethos of the brand Ophy Eyewear, created by two young, passionate entrepreneurs on the slopes of Mount Etna. Crafted from high-quality materials such as stainless steel and acetate, Ophy’s collections feature a variety of distinctive frame shapes and lenses in a range of colors from baby yellow and champagne to marble and mirrored.
6. Antica Occhialeria
A family-run business born in 1956, Antica Occhialeria was founded in Florence by Lucio Enrico Di Nardo. The boutique is located within a former 19th-century millinery lab where attention to detail and artisanal craftsmanship make for a truly unique and luxurious shopping experience. The team at Antica Occhialeria oversees every step of the sunglass production process and uses the highest quality materials to create one-of-a-kind shades that can be personalized in-shop with one-of-a-kind touches.
For nearly 85 years, Mondelliani has proven that eyewear is one of the most fabulous accessories to channel our playful personality. Mondelliani’s two shops in Rome stock an abundant array of frames from the brand’s two collections, Ottovolante and Soprattutto. Each design is eccentric yet tasteful in style, color, and geometric shape. All shades are designed in-house.