Italo Manca chez lui


Italo Manca, Milanese style

For Italo Manca, going out without a bow tie and suit jacket would be unthinkable! An “aberration” that would make him, one of the most elegant men in Milan, feel naked, almost illegitimate. A true fashion archivist with his collections of watches, shoes and fascinating cufflinks, the owner of La Libera – a legendary establishment in the Brera district – is inexhaustible on the subject. In fact, he is the very illustration of the idea one has of the Lombard capital and its sense of style, and its oldest inhabitants seem to be the guardians. In the cobbled streets of the city, his silhouette (bicycle, immutable cigar and crazy moustache) is totally unmistakable. And if we ask him, he will even offer us some precious advice. We will learn, for example, that harmony is as important as elegance. That light is paramount; it is, in fact, we hear, what dictates the daily dress of the Milanese: “When the weather is fine, I choose colours for the sun. When the weather is grey, I choose colours to go with grey! ». But also that you must cultivate your imagination. Milan has is particularly good at that. Open to ideas and people, the capital of design is generous. It’s liberating! This Italian’s extraordinary home is a testament to that. An ode to his zest for life, to the love of travel and to humour, which can be found (really) anywhere. Once a sailor, a waiter, a boxer and then an entrepreneur, this lively character seems to have accumulated the memories of a thousand lives. Each one as hectic as the next, but with one common denominator: non-conformism.

Discover Italo Manca’s unique world in our first The Socialite Family self-published book, Retrospective. An anthology of the most interior glimpses throughout the history of our medium, available in our shop and on our e-shop.




Caroline Balvay

Photos and videos

Valerio Geraci

Salon Bibliothèque Italo Manca Milan Italie


Italo, who are you? What’s your connection with Milan? In short, what was your life like before La Libera?


I was born in Alghero, Sardinia, and grew up in Sanremo. When I was 14, I wanted to work in an haute couture workshop, but I was told it wasn’t possible because they only hired women. So I went to Monte Carlo to work at the Hotel de Paris as a waiter. Then I continued in this line of work on cruise ships with the Italian company, Home Lines. Finally, after a period in New York, I returned to Italy with the idea of opening bars and restaurants in the Brera district of Milan with some of my friends. Nowadays, we have seven establishments: La Vittoria, Il Banco, Le Stanze, Il Nazionale, Le Bandiere, Il Timè and La Libera. Next year, La Libera will celebrate its 40th birthday.


There is a real precision in the selection of colours, which only Italians know how to master. In Brera, you are a character known for elegance and refinement. Can you tell us where your excellent taste comes from?


It all stems from my father, who only wore tailor-made clothes. I used to go with him whenever he visited his tailor or his shoemaker. That’s where my education came from! But I must say that my brothers are not like me. So I may just have been born this way (laughs).


Is your home a reflection of you, in terms of its decoration?


My house is full of colour too! I have a lot of paintings and books. My decoration reflects the love I have for my work and reading. I have travelled a lot too, and I am a fan of boxing, a sport I took part in when I was young. I think that shows, in a way.


You collect suits. How do you choose them?


Maybe my mood determines the choice. But more often than not, it’s random. I’ve never counted my clothes. All I can say is that they cost me a lot (laughs).


What are your favourite places for clothes shopping? What advice would you give to men on how to look elegant in all circumstances, summer and winter?


I usually go to Maison Charvet for my cravats and bow ties. For everything else, I rely on individual craftsmen. My advice: be more imaginative and look at yourself in the mirror! And above all, conform less.

Chambre Appartement Italo Manca Milan Italie


What is the signature dish at your establishment, La Libera? Who are your customers?


There isn’t just one, there are several signature dishes: La Cotoletta alla Milanese, a veal cutlet coated in breadcrumbs and fried in butter; il Riso al Salto, a pattie made with risotto; and La Glace au Four, a baked ice cream. As far as the clientele is concerned, we have regulars (I’ve seen families grow up over the years!) as well as people passing through, and now more and more foreigners. Among them, Daniel Harding, a loyal customer!


And what do you cook at home?


At home, I eat very simply, light things. But when I entertain friends, I like to cook traditional dishes! So when I go out, what I look for is this famous but “updated” traditional food. I liked Gualtiero Marchesi very much. And now there is his student, Daniel Canzian, who runs an excellent restaurant.


Do you have anywhere you can recommend by the sea?


Th_e Velvet_ restaurant in Bordighera, a beautiful coastal town near Sanremo and very close to France.

Bureau Appartement Italo Manca Milan Italie
Salon Appartement Portrait Italo Manca Milan Italie
Recreate This Setting with Our Pieces
Related Story

Next Up

Daniele Daminelli and Giulia, Camilla 11, Giacomo 5 years old

Exclusive Design

Our pieces of furniture, lightings and accessories are all designed in Paris by our Design Studio. Timeless, elegant and functional pieces, designed to last.

Keep-forever European Quality

100% of our creations are crafted in top workshops across Italy, France, Portugal, and Central Europe, ensuring designs built to last.

Secure Payment

You can pay by credit card, paypal or bank transfer, in complete security and confidentiality.

Europe-wide Shipping

We can ship throughout Europe, ensuring secure delivery managed by our carefully selected partners