THE WOMAN WHO STARTED IT ALL

Affectionately known as “Momma” to far more than her own four children, Lee Gravely was the woman who started it all. Her husband was in the tobacco exporting business, and his international business partners often came to visit them in Rocky Mount, NC. Lee’s two daughters and eventual business partners, Susan and Frances, remember their mother as an elegant hostess who always welcomed their guests with graciousness and joy.


Two years after her husband’s death, Lee decided that a trip was in order. She invited her daughters to explore Italy with her, a place she had always longed to visit.


The Gravelys quickly fell in love with Italian culture, and they were especially captivated by the handpainted ceramic dinnerware at the Il San Pietro Hotel in Positano. Inspired to share their treasures with friends and family, the women decided to import ceramics to America, and the idea for VIETRI was born. "The rest of the story is like a fairy tale," Lee remembered.

Lee was warm and wise, strong and stylish, graceful and generous. She had a way of making everyone feel valued, and her spirit lives on in VIETRI’s mission to celebrate life and cherish the moments that bring joy to our lives.


9 comments


  • Millie H Walker

    It does my heart good to see your sweet mother today. What a part of my life she was. And, it’s always neat to be reminded of that life-changing trip that y’all took. What guts you had to “go for it.” And, the rest is history. Ti amo Lee!


  • Susan Gravely

    I wish you all a wonderful Mother’s Day — as a mother, as a mentor to women, and just as a woman! We all have the mother’s soul, I think. I am wishing each of you good health, lots of love to and from others, and extra blessings to all the mother’s in the Ukraine.


  • Annette Campagna

    I love what ya do! and how ya do it!! I only have the old St.nick T Penso plate with the two red birds ,but I really love it. And I pray I can order more in the future. Beautiful quality and I love how you packaged it. I felt like royalty when I opened my package. Thanks for making me feel special. I love your product. If I ever get married I’m going to get all my items thru you. Hope you all are doing really well.

    Sending you many blessings and lots of love!

    Thanks again, Annette Campagna

  • Frances Fotia

    I have been to Italy 10 times and would love to go back again. I love everything about Italy, especially Tuscany (Lucca).


  • Penny Helton Boyce

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful history. My husband has stage 4 cancer and few things bring me joy! I found a Vietri Christmas Platter two years ago and it is now my annual gift from him.
    Thank You from the two of us!


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