June 08 2010
My personal style signifier is my Vespa VNB 125cc. It’s from 1962, it’s white, and it’s gorgeous. I use it at the weekend, just exploring and enjoying Rome.
The last thing I bought and loved was a photograph by Italian artist Vanessa Beecroft at the Arte Fiera [art fair] in Bologna, from [contemporary dealer] Lia Rumma. It’s from a performance piece she did in Palermo a couple of years ago. It’s full of light, very bright. It puts me in a fantastic mood. www.artefiera.bolognafiere.it. www.liarumma.it. www.vanessabeecroft.com.
And the thing I’m eyeing next is not something I know now. I’m more the kind of person who will see something and fall immediately in love, and have to have it. Like with the Beecroft; at first I thought, “You know, 2009 was a tough year, perhaps it’s better to not buy anything.” But then I saw this picture.
The book on my bedside table is JFK: La Mia Sfida [My Challenge], edited by TE Frosini, about the first 100 days of the presidency of John F Kennedy. I don’t read romances, or gialli [mystery novels]; I read about the habits, lifestyles, motives of people in places and worlds I don’t live in, and from which I want to learn.
A recent “find” is Fiaschetteria Beltramme, a little restaurant in Rome where all the mid-century artists and writers – Ennio Flaiano, the painter Mario Schifano – used to meet. They all sat at the same big table, chatting about the issues of the day and brainstorming, and all the little drawings and writings they did are hung on the walls. The food is simple, delicious Roman – pasta all’amatriciana, cicoria. Now we go for family lunch all the time. Via della Croce 39, 00187 Rome.
The best souvenir I’ve brought home is handmade shirts from a guy called Filippo in Mumbai. He cuts them in those fantastic light Indian cottons; you go in at 9am to be fitted and he delivers them by 8pm. I take these beautiful shirts home, but I also take the memory of my charming interactions with Filippo. This, to me, is modern luxury. 11 Tulloch Road, Apollo Bunder, Mumbai 400001 (+9122-2282 8113).
The last music I downloaded is Lucio Dalla. Actually, it was downloaded by my sister Clementina, who’s much better at filling up my iPod. I love Italian songs, and Lucio is a great voice, but also a friend; he sang at my wedding. www.luciodalla.it.
The people I rely on for grooming and style include Di Donato Fratelli in Bologna. I’ve been going to them to have my suits made since I was at university. The suits are very traditional, understated, and don’t look like they come from any particular shop or place; just very well made. Which is exactly what I like. Strada Maggiore 25, 40125 Bologna (+3905-123 1284).
The site that inspires me is one I see every Monday morning: the Foro Romano [Roman Forum]. Go anywhere – London, New York, Dubai – and there are inspiring buildings. But for me, the energy is here. It makes me dream and it makes me feel linked to my roots.
In my fridge you’ll always find the most exquisite mozzarella di bufala from Ciro a Mergellina in Naples. The owner sends it to my house in Rome, and sometimes it’s still warm from the journey when we have it on Friday evenings. Via Mergellina 21, 80122 Naples (+3908-168 1780; www.ciroamergellina.it).
The last item I added to my wardrobe is a cashmere jumper from Ballantyne; I have one from each year. It’s why we acquired the brand – the quality and the luxury, and especially the heritage. And because I wear them at the weekend, they put me in a good mood. www.ballantyne.it.
An indulgence I’d never forego is dinner, once a year, at Caviar Kaspia in Paris. I eat caviar, of course, and salmon, French cheeses and wine. I have French friends who go much more often, but I wouldn’t, as that would make it ordinary. 17 Place de la Madeleine, 75008 Paris (+331-4265 3332; www.lamaisonkaspia.fr).