Al Fresco | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

A friend asked me what is the meaning of decoration “Al Fresco”, hmm!!! It intrigued me that she did not know the term Al Fresco”, but I was not surprised. We designers often assume that everybody know our decorating jargon. Many words or names in architecture and decorating have a Latin root, reminiscent of the Greek-Roman civilizations, when style was orderly and classic. However, both field of architecture and home interior décor abound of Italian and French words as well. “Al Fresco” in Italian means In The Fresh Air. 

The ancient populations of the Mediterranean Basin led business in ways unthinkable for today’s time: in the sauna, in public bathrooms while doing personal ablutions, in the food market, or while eating and enjoying life, basically most of the time they conducted business outside of the four walls, under the sun, the moon rays and in the breeze.
“Al Fresco” is not a way to decorate, it is a lifestyle, it is a concept of relaxation and productivity at the same time and it is an inclination of being sociable.
(Click on each photo to view it larger).



In the last scene of the 2009 film “Julie and Julia” based on the life of chef Julia Child, impersonated by Meryl Streep, Julie organizes a dinner al fresco on the rooftop of her apartment (above a pizza shop), ending a yearlong saga of blogging and cooking from Julia Child’s book. Her last recipe was a “désossé canard en surprise” (boneless duck surprise) that she served to her friends on the terrace looking over New York City lights.

img_0411(Photos above: Property of Domenico Cafarchia)

What you need to create an “Al Fresco Living” first and most important is an attitude and the willingness to put up with insects, bees and birds, too much heat or cool weather and possibly a few eyes of the neighbors looking in your space.  Then you need a terrace, a balcony, a belvedere, an atrium, or a patio and finally a view. If you do not have a view, you can create a special ambience within the walls of your surroundings. Choose the theme of your liking: Bohemian, country, beach, ethnic and more. Choose the style: French, Italian, contemporary, classic, colorful, or monochrome, you get the idea. Find the right lights to create ambience: lanterns, rope lighting, a string of bulbs or floor lamps, add a wall fireplace or a portable type and heat lamps for warmth,numerous comfortable seating, large pillows, sofas and aRécamier for a sweet afternoon nap. Complete the décor with colorful accessories, greenery and plants.

You got the area decorated, now you need a table for food. Imagine your new “al fresco living” with an outdoor dinner table set or a flowing buffet that allows your guests to sit where is comfortable to them. Which is it going to be?
I hope you can cook, you know that people go where there is good food and good drinks, as in Julie & Julia.

Living Terrace

Right now, I am designing an empty ex-terrace area into a living space enclosed in large glass panels through which the lush vegetation outside opens up before the eyes of observers. The terrace will look like my client is living in the trees at the top floor of her house. It is the reverse of an “al fresco living”,  the glass panels will protect her and the furniture from the weather, but the feeling will be the same as if she was living outdoor. The décor will be contemporary and colorful as in my material boards above. You too can have my help in changing an area into an outdoor living space, just ask me or contact me. Ciao,

Copyright © 2015 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Val LeopardValentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior and Fashion Designer, working in the USA and Europe. She blends fashion and interior well in any of her design work. She loves to remodel homes and loves to create the unusual. She needs your story to design your dream. Check out her books on


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