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.