My style icon is Gianni Agnelli, who also wore suits by my tailor, A Caraceni. He had charisma, intelligence, impeccable taste and was loved by all around the world.
The best souvenir I’ve brought home is a classic Chinese brush-and-ink drawing by an artist called Li Xiao Ling. To welcome De Grisogono to China, she recreated our logo in a similar style to her drawings.
The book on my bedside table is Il Quirinale, the latest book by photographer Massimo Listri. It is a stunning photographic essay on the Quirinale Palace in Rome. Massimo and I have been friends since I was 17. He has always had a good eye for beauty – ever since we were teenagers, when we were young and broke. He bought a stunning apartment in the heart of Florence and year after year, as he has become successful, he has filled it with the most incredible Italian antiques and sculptures. www.massimolistri.com.
The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Leonardo da Vinci – if I’m going to dream – as I love the Old Masters of the Italian Renaissance. I never tire of looking at da Vinci and Michelangelo. Both were born near Florence, my home town, and the city was a big part of their lives and work.
If I didn’t live in Geneva, the city I would live in is London – in fact, I am planning to move there. It’s the most exciting city in the world, yet you can still feel as though you are part of a small community. I love Mayfair and St James’s. You will find me at C London or Harry’s Bar, where I usually order the pasta of the day; they make an excellent vodka martini. Or I’ll be at Annabel’s, Scott’s, George or 5 Hertford Street. I love what Richard Caring has done with Mark’s Club; I recently organised a big dinner there and it really felt like home. And I always buy my shirts at Turnbull & Asser. 5 Hertford Street, 2-5 Hertford Street (020-7408 2100; www.5hertfordstreet.co.uk). Annabel’s, 44 Berkeley Square (020-7629 1096; www.annabels.co.uk). C London, 23-25 Davies Street (020-7399 0500; www.crestaurant.co.uk). George, 87-88 Mount Street (020-7491 4433; www.georgeclub.com). Harry’s Bar, 26 South Audley Street (020-7408 0844; www.harrysbar.co.uk). Mark’s Club, 46 Charles Street (020-7499 2936; www.marksclub.co.uk). Scott’s, 20 Mount Street (020-7495 7309; www.scotts-restaurant.com). Turnbull & Asser, 71-72 Jermyn Street (020-7808 3000; www.turnbullandasser.co.uk).
An object I would never part with is a wooden cross that belonged to my father. I’ve carried it in my pocket every single day since his death, when I was only seven. It’s so much a part of me, I can’t imagine life without it.
The site that inspires me is definitely Sardinia. I especially love the view from the Hotel Cala di Volpe in Porto Cervo – I’ve stayed there every summer for over 10 years. It acts as my summer office as I am lucky enough to have a boutique there. Every year I organise my birthday party there – last year it was magical, under the full moon and stars, next to the sea. Costa Smeralda, Porto Cervo 07020 (+390789-976 111; www.caladivolpe.com).
The last meal that truly impressed me was not actually a meal but a good drink that I never imagined I would like – a Japanese Martini at Nobu. I am a man of habit so my favourite food is what I eat at home. My ideal is a big plate of pasta – rigatoni or linguine – with an incredibly simple sauce made of few ingredients, say, tomatoes and olive oil. The olive oil would be by a dear friend, Riccardo Tattoni, who produces a superb one on his estate, Villa a Sesta in Tuscany. Nobu, 19 Old Park Lane, London W1 (020-7447 4747; www.noburestaurants.com). Villa a Sesta, www.villasesta.com.
The people I rely on for personal grooming and wellbeing are Jeremy at Ebo Coiffure in Geneva – I have been going to the same hairdresser for 25 years as he understands exactly how I like my hair cut. And four times a year I go to Merano, to Hotel Espace Henri Chenot for the detox programme. It involves a personalised nutritional programme and energetic hydro-massages. Ebo Coiffure, 20 Rue Adrien-Lachenal, Geneva 1207. Hotel Espace Henri Chenot, Via Cavour 2, Merano 39012 (+390473-271 000; www.palace.it).
In my fridge you’ll always find bistecca alla fiorentina, cold cuts like mortadella, salami and prosciutto, and a good stash of cheeses such as stracchino, pecorino, Parmigiano-Reggiano and Gorgonzola. I get everything from the same Italian guy at the Halle de Rive farmers’ market in Geneva. My freezer is filled with red-label Stolichnaya vodka – the least expensive one, which my local supermarket stocks. When I get home from the office I always have a vodka martini with a lemon twist waiting for me, and a piece of toast with anchovies and Tabasco sauce, seasoned with lots of lemon, oil, salt and pepper. Halle de Rive, Boulevard Helvétique 29, Geneva (www.halle-de-rive.com). Stolichnaya, www.stoli.com.
If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose my home town, Florence. Damiano Lapiccirella is an art and antique dealer who has helped me build my collection of Florentine antiques and art – he has an old family business that has great knowledge and expertise. Eredi Chiarini is one of my favourite men’s clothing shops, selling classic Italian brands that you will rarely find elsewhere. The original branch of Santa Maria Novella is in Florence; it’s one of the oldest pharmacies in the world, with a stunning interior. I like to stock up on soaps and bath oils there. Florence is also the best place, to my mind, for homewares. I always pay a visit to Richard Ginori, for beautiful classic Florentine china – I buy my dinner plates there – and to Loretta Caponi, for amazing embroidered linens and tablecloths, as well as silk pyjamas. I get all my bath, bed and table linen there, embroidered with my initials. Guido Bartolozzi is another regular haunt of mine, a very unusual antique-furniture emporium – I love the old doors and wood panelling. Antonacci Lapiccirella, +3906-454 33036; www.antonaccilapiccirellafineart.com. Eredi Chiarini, Via Porta Rossa 33R (+39055-284 478; www.eredichiarini.it). Guido Bartolozzi, Via Maggio 18R (+39055-215 602; www.guidobartolozzi.com). Loretta Caponi, Piazza Antinori 4R (+39055-213 668; www.lorettacaponi.com). Richard Ginori, Via dei Rondinelli 17R (+39055-210 041; www.richardginori1735.com). Santa Maria Novella, Via della Scala 16 (+39055-216 276; www.smnovella.it).
The best gift I’ve given recently is a unique piece of jewellery, a ring created for a special friend, set with an emerald, white diamonds and blue sapphires. I saw the emerald a few years ago and it sat on my desk for a while. It was made out of love, purely because the person inspired me, and is in my favourite colours – those of the Mediterranean.
The grooming staple I’m never without is Versace L’Homme, a classic fragrance, which I’ve been wearing since the 1980s.
The last accessory I added to my wardrobe was a pair of Car Shoe driving shoes, from its shop in Forte dei Marmi. Actually, I bought them in every colour – blue, black, beige – in suede and calfskin, to stock up for summer. From£270;Via Giosuè Carducci 1A (www.carshoe.com).
My favourite websites are the online versions of magazines and newspapers that I read on my iPad if I’m travelling. I love How To Spend It, of course, and Vanity Fair, Corriere della Sera, Le Figaro, Le Temps, The Rake, Gazzetta dello Sport – for the football news – and the international edition of the The New York Times.
If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be a chef, as I love to cook, especially for others. It’s the only thing, other than jewellery, that I really know how to do. I tried acting because I’m shy and thought it would help me get over it, but it wasn’t the case and I gave up very quickly; I couldn’t get a word out on stage.