Long before Monocle existed in its current form, the founder’s grandfather sold eyeglasses out of a small shop in Piazza Vittorio. Now Gabriele Vergerio has transformed this ancestral activity into a chic modern boutique, inspired by minimalism, exclusivity, and constant research in the sector. The boutique itself is a work of art. The design is based upon the concepts of Italian architect Andrea Eusebi, using only the finest materials, such as rosewood and burnished iron, all proudly handmade in Italy. It features intriguing optical illusions, such as an elongated wall that seems to stretch into infinity from certain angles, creating a virtual passageway to another world. Vergerio sees the store as a kind of neighborhood, with the glasses on display becoming living objects. When it comes to the glasses themselves, the boutique prides itself on forgoing industrial brands in favor of hand-crafted frames by both up-and-coming and well established artisan designers, including Thom Browne, Kuboraum, Dita, Linda Farrow Luxe, Matsuda, Ahlem, Mykita, Jacques Marie Mage, 8000 Eyewear, and Rigards, among others. Friendly staff members are on hand to offer helpful advice. “Our philosophy is that recommending glasses is more than choosing a shape for a face, so we try to find a design that goes well with a person’s personality and style, reflecting the way they want to be perceived,” says Vergerio. And in addition to their eyewear collection, Monocle also offers a range of luxury perfumes and colognes with a particular focus on independent Italian brands like Meo Fusciuni. For Vergerio, his boutique is his calling card, and the message he wants to convey is that at Monocle, customers who are searching for the perfect pair of eyeglasses will find in his shop what they’ve been unable to find elsewhere.