December 07 2011
My personal style signifier is clothes with patches. I never do any shopping – with a few exceptions – because I have so many good clothes I’ve inherited, and I hate to throw them away as I am so attached to them. I had older brothers, all sadly now deceased, and I am the same size as one of them, so I have some wonderful things of his, and also from my father, from the 1940s, and my uncle, Barone Nanuk Franchetti. Old, old jackets, old gloves. All patched up.
The last item I added to my wardrobe is a pair of shoes from Ralph Lauren, old-looking new shoes that I use to go on my motorcycle. I was in New York for a few days presenting some wines and I went to the shop, which is fantastic, and saw them. In Italy everyone asks me, who made those for you? Everyone thinks they are by some fabulous local artisan. www.ralphlauren.com.
The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Cy Twombly, because I knew him. And as with wine, things mean more to me when I know the people who have made them. His paintings are amazing, they are like scarabocchi – scribbles – but since I have understood them through his own explanations, they have much more meaning for me.
The thing I’m eyeing next is a house in Sicily – near Syracuse or Ragusa, or the plain around Trapani. I work with many Sicilian winemakers, and I’d like a home there. Even if Sicily is quite ruined – in terms of development it didn’t come through the 1960s well – there is still a dynamism between real beauty and ugliness, which is actually what I like.
The people I rely on for grooming and style are all barbers. I’ve had a beard for 40 years, which I myself do not trim, so I have lots of barbers. In Milan, it’s Franco Bompieri at Antica Barbieria Colla. In London I go to Harrods. On Ischia I go to Ciro, a wonderful place my friend Gaddo della Gherardesca introduced me to; in spring I always find a reason to go to Ischia so that I can visit Ciro. In Rome I go to Franco Antonio in Parioli; every time I go in he says, to make the bella figura, “Buongiorno, architetto!” And I think, “But he knows I make wine…” Antica Barbieria Colla, Via Morona 3, 20212 Milan (+3902-874 312; www.anticabarbieriacolla.it). Cirino Ciro a Ischia, Via Vittoria Colonna 284, Lacco Ameno, 80070 Ischia. Franco Antonio Parucchiere per Uomo, Via Bruno Buozzi 43, Rome (+390-6807 7055). Harrods, 87-135 Brompton Rd, London SW1 (020-7730 1234; www.harrods.com).
The last meal that truly impressed me was at Pastificio San Lorenzo in Rome, a great place frequented by artists – my daughter introduced me to it. We ate delicious veal fillets with candied lime in a mustard sauce, and some nice croquettes, which were like sophisticated arancini, the meat and rice balls in Sicily. Via Tiburtina 196, 00185 Rome (+3906-9727 3519; www.pastificiocerere.com).
The books on my bedside table are Il Grande Dandy by Marcello Sorgi, which is about the nobleman Raimondo Lanza di Trabia, who was a friend of my mother, and about Sicily – and I want to die in Sicily. Also How Sex Works by Dr Sharon Moalem, as I think I have not yet understood how sex works. I tried to read it on the plane, but it was very boring. And Louis-Ferdinand Céline’s Journey to the End of the Night, in Italian, which I always keep there and read often.
The grooming staple I’m never without is my cologne, Knize Ten. It’s the best smell in the world, made near Munich. I buy it in Vienna, and it’s difficult to find anywhere else. £104 for 125ml. Graben 13, 1010 Vienna (+431-512 2119; www.knize.at).
The best gift I’ve given recently is a painting of Cleopatra killing herself with the asp, from the school of Guido Reni. I bought it at the Biennale Internazionale dell’Antiquariato in Florence a few years ago, and I gave it to a woman I was seeing; she was my love but then she left me. It was symbolic – Cleopatra killed herself because she couldn’t manage the pain of her love. It was a great gift. www.mostraantiquariato.it.
My favourite website is probably that of the wine journal Decanter, because the magazine is one I prefer. And it is, of course, English. www.decanter.com.