My style icons are great divas and actors – Sophia Loren, Anna Magnani, Monica Vitti, Claudia Cardinale – who embody the la dolce vita spirit. Then there are the fashionable men – of them all, Marcello Mastroianni was the most elegant.
The last meal that truly impressed me was tortellini en brodo, a typical northern Italian kind of pasta cooked by my mother that, for me, means family. I also love simple Milanese food – saffron rice, vitello milanese, vegetable purée – and last year we opened the Martini Bistrot on Corso Venezia in Milan, which is focused on this kind of cuisine. The beef tartare with capers and sun-dried tomatoes is outstanding. Corso Venezia 15, 20122 Milan (+3902-7601 1154; www.dolcegabbana.com/martini).
If I didn’t live in Milan, the city I would live in is London, because when I’m there I feel at home. The people have a distinct energy and express it every day in the way they dress – their combination of eccentricity and tailoring fires my curiosity. When I’m in town I like walking around the shops and parks in Primrose Hill, and meeting friends for a drink at Claridge’s or a lively dinner at Hakkasan. If I didn’t need to work, I’d move to Taormina, a place that really takes your breath away even after scores of visits; there’s always some surprising niche to discover. I love having drinks overlooking the sea on the terrace of San Domenico Palace Hotel and dinner at the classic Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo, followed by a summery granita with whipped cream from Bam Bar just down the street. Bam Bar, 45 Via di Giovanni, 98039 Taormina (+3909-422 4355). Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo, 59 Via Teatro Greco, 98039 Taormina (+3909-422 3801; www.belmond.com). Claridge’s, 49 Brook Street, London W1 (020-7629 8860; www.claridges.co.uk). Hakkasan, 17 Bruton Street, London W1 (020-7907 1888; www.hakkasan.com). San Domenico Palace Hotel, 5 Piazza San Domenico, 98039 Taormina (+3909-4261 3111; www.san-domenico-palace.com).
The last things I bought and loved were my two Bengal cats – Zambia, the she-cat, and Congo, the tom. I fell in love with them at first sight. I take them to the office with me and they make wonderful playmates. They have to be careful though, as I’ve also got three Labradors – Rosa, Totò and Mimmo – and they can be quite rough.
The people I rely on for personal grooming and wellbeing include my barber, Pietro. He’s Sicilian and works at our barbershop in Milan. I go every week because I like having my hair in order, and always very short. He cuts it with scissors – the way it should be done. I also have a personal trainer who comes to my house every morning at 7am and we work out together in my home gym.
An indulgence I would never forgo is spending time on my iPad: I like to FaceTime with my mother on a regular basis; I enjoy uploading photos on Instagram, and I play Monopoly to relax.
The best souvenir I’ve brought home is difficult to pick because I buy so many. I can’t imagine a trip without a pause at some local market or souvenir shop. On a recent trip to China I bought little figurines of the three thinkers – Confucius, Buddha and Lao Tzu – and I have a golden gondola from Venice on the desk in my office that reminds me of a special time in that city. I also collect Christmas decorations and buy new ones wherever I go, as long as they’re absolutely kitsch. Some of my favourites were from the Christmas market in Nuremberg where I bought pretty little gingerbread hearts. Hauptmarkt 18, 90403 Nuremberg (+49911-23360; www.christkindlesmarkt.de).
The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Caravaggio. He was one of the greatest baroque painters and used light in a beautiful, dramatic way. I’ve always wanted to own one of his works and, while I know it’s not easy, there’s no harm in dreaming.
The beauty staples I’m never without include our Velvet Patchouli fragrance, which has a very strong scent of incense, like the wood in an old house. I wear it every day without fail. I also use shampoo and soap from my local pharmacy and a gentle face cleanser for sensitive skin. Velvet Patchouli,£155 for 50ml EDP; www.harrods.com.
My favourite room in my house is my kitchen. My collection of colourful, hand-painted ceramic plates from Caltagirone in Sicily is displayed throughout the room, and I like to spend time here cooking dishes from the north that remind me of my family, as well as southern Italian dishes that Domenico helps to prepare.
If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose London and the areas around Notting Hill and Portobello Road. I could spend entire mornings just wandering from stall to stall on market days. I also like Rellik for vintage finds, and I follow my shopping with a great lunch and a film at the Electric Cinema and Diner. Electric Cinema and Diner, 191 Portobello Road, London W11 (020-7908 9696; www.electriccinema.co.uk; www.electricdiner.com). Rellik, 8 Golborne Gardens, London W10 (020-8962 0089; www.relliklondon.co.uk).
The books on my bedside table have been replaced by magazines, like the British and US editions of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. I also usually have a pad and pen handy to sketch or jot down ideas. There are feelings and memories that I can only express this way.
If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be an actor. I’ve done a few cameos in films with Domenico and I feel very comfortable in front of the camera. The last part I played was in Woody Allen’s To Rome with Love and I had a great time. You have to study and memorise a lot, but I think it’s such fun. I would also like to be a director – with a big megaphone like at Cinecittà – so I could bring order to a set. I often play this role when we are shooting our ad campaigns.