The Aesthete: Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani talks more personal taste

The director of Bulgari’s watch design centre concludes his list of likes with Marcello Mastroianni, the work of Luciano Ventrone and the sartorial appeal of Mayfair

Buonamassa Stigliani at home in Hauterive, Switzerland
Buonamassa Stigliani at home in Hauterive, Switzerland | Image: Beat Schweizer

My style icon is Marcello Mastroianni, particularly in the film Ieri, Oggi, Domani [Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow]. I love his extreme but elegant beige suit, tie and Persol sunglasses. There were many stylish actors during his time, but Mastroianni was more casual and Italian in both his acting and dress sense.

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Caltagirone in Sicily. The village is fantastic, with its famous baroque staircase, Santa Maria del Monte. It was constructed using blue and yellow ceramic that’s local to the area and is full of decorative elements. 

Marcello Mastroianni
Marcello Mastroianni | Image: Angelo Deligio/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images

The best book I’ve read in the past year is a book of illustrations by JC Leyendecker, which was a gift. Leyendecker was born in Germany but moved to New York and I love how his work is sweet and cute but formal and elegant at the same time.

The best gift I’ve given recently was a drawing of an Alfa Romeo 2000 Sportiva, which was designed by Franco Scaglione for Carrozzeria Bertone. I drew it for a great friend and Alfa Romeo collector.


And the best one I’ve received recently was a set of beautiful lacquered Blackwing pencils, made from Japanese graphite and cedarwood. They’re excellent quality and also legendary – Walt Disney and Leonard Bernstein used them – but most of all, I like that the eraser can be replaced once used. From €21; Fratelli Bonvini Milano, 1 Via Tagliamento, 20139 Milan (+3902-539 2151;

An indulgence I would never forgo is a slice of apricot tart, made lovingly by my wife every two days.

The baroque staircase Santa Maria del Monte in Caltagirone, Sicily
The baroque staircase Santa Maria del Monte in Caltagirone, Sicily | Image: Getty

The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Luciano Ventrone. My favourites are the pomegranate or watermelon still-life paintings, which look like photographs but are, in fact, oil on canvas. I spend hours in front of these works. I appreciate Ventrone’s obsession with perfection. 

My favourite room in my house is my living room, which has a lot of windows so is very bright. It also houses my library, which is nearly full of books on design, cars and art.

Buonamassa Stigliani’s wife makes apricot tart for him “every two days”
Buonamassa Stigliani’s wife makes apricot tart for him “every two days” | Image: Getty

If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose London’s Mayfair and Covent Garden. I like going to Gieves & Hawkes to see the old military uniforms with detailed trimmings and buttons. Tricker’s on Jermyn Street makes my favourite shoes – the Ilkley Country [from £395] – which I wear in Switzerland, rain or snow; they’re indestructible and iconic. I like Burlington Arcade’s interesting vintage watch shops and mix of people. The Pullman Gallery is full of beautiful sculptures of boats, cars and planes; I once saw a stunning model there of a Bugatti Atlantic made entirely by hand in aluminium. I really admire the self-portraits at the National Portrait Gallery, and how the artist can communicate character and spirit in just a few strokes. I’ll drop into The Connaught bar for the best martini cocktails. They’re prepared by a true master, Agostino Perrone, who arrives with a trolley full of different spirits and custom-makes the drink to your requirements. And if I’m in the mood for cars, St Martins Models is a favourite. Burlington Arcade, 51 Piccadilly, W1 (020-7493 1764; The Connaught, Carlos Place, W1 (020-7499 7070; Gieves & Hawkes, 1 Savile Row, W1 (020-7434 2001; National Portrait Gallery, St Martins Place, WC2 (020-7306 0055; Pullman Gallery, 14 King Street, SW1 (020-7930 9595; St Martins Models, 15 Cecil Court, WC2 (020-7497 8157; Tricker’s, 67 Jermyn Street, SW1 (020-7930 6395;

The place I rely on for personal grooming is La Ferruccio, my go-to barber in Rome. It’s a small shop and nothing special, but I trust them completely and it’s also typically Roman: sarcastic and fun. 36A Via della Panetteria, 00187 Rome (+3906-678 4994).

Pomegranate still life by Luciano Ventrone
Pomegranate still life by Luciano Ventrone | Image: Philippe Lopez/Getty Images

If I didn’t live in Neuchâtel, the city I would live in is Tokyo. I deeply admire the Japanese aesthetic, with its focus on limited elements and rituals. As a designer, ritual is especially important when you have a relationship with products. Tokyo feels like many cities in one, with each prefecture having its own identity, such as Akihabara’s electronics and comics stores. In Ginza, I like the multibrand store Wako; it was one of the few buildings in Ginza not destroyed in the second world war. I also go to the Lion bar for local beers, while Itoya is my favourite stationery store in the world, where you can find handmade Japanese paper, inks and pens. I’m also fascinated by the Edo-Tokyo history museum and like learning about samurai life and Japan under the rule of emperors. Edo-Toyko Museum, 1 Chome-4-1 Yokoami, Sumida, 130-0015 (+813-3626 9974; Ginza Lion, 7 Chome-9-20 Ginza, Chuo-ku, 104-0051 (+8150-5788 0502). Itoya, 2 Chome-7-15, Chuo-ku, 104-0061 (+813-3561 8311). Wako, 4 Chome-5-11 Ginza, Chuo-ku, 104-8105 (+813-3562 2111;

If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be a piano player. I like the dual soul of a piano: it’s a large object but can have a very light sound. I would have loved to learn how to play.