On Saturday morning I wake up at 5am, just as I do every day. I tend to only sleep for four or five hours and the early morning is a good time for me to be alone. My house in Parma is a typical Italian farmhouse deep in the countryside, which makes it the perfect place to concentrate. I drive to the TCafè for coffee, which is in a stunning 15th-century building on the cathedral square. Leading off the square is the street where I was born, and I see people here whom I’ve known all my life. In Parma, people are passionate about what they do, as am I, but they also understand good quality of life. When I’m here, I feel more relaxed than anywhere else.
Afterwards I visit my neighbour’s donkey, Nello. This has become a ritual: I travel so much, my mother calls me a “luxury gypsy”, and I can’t have pets, which is a shame, as my parents had every kind of animal. When Nello hears my voice, she goes crazy. It’s funny how fond we are of each other.
Lunch is at Ai Due Platani, just outside the city centre. Parma is the gastronomic capital of Italy, if not the world, in my view, and this restaurant serves the most famous pumpkin ravioli in the country. After lunch I visit my tailor Simone Sorgenti. I am a bit fanatical about what I wear and have loved clothes since I was a boy. Simone’s cut is fantastic and we collaborate on the two collections I buy for winter and summer every year.
Saturday night is spent with my girlfriend Stephania and friends. We meet for dinner at Cocchi Ristorante in Hotel Daniel, which serves the best bollito misto, made from the finest beef in the area and cooked for four to five hours. Here, dinner is a real dinner – you sit and eat for four hours and drink Lambrusco, and that is what I miss when I travel.
If we are not eating with friends, we might go to the opera. Parma has the second most important opera house in Italy, Teatro Regio, and Verdi and Toscanini were born here, so opera is part of our heritage. Recently, we saw a wonderful production of Rigoletto.
On Sunday, after breakfast at home, I go to the Battistero – or Baptistery – because I love its architecture. The quiet is a total inspiration and I can sit for hours studying the frescoes. I also love to visit Teatro Farnese, which was built in the 17th century and has one of the oldest prosceniums in the world – and the most perfect acoustics. If there’s a good exhibition on, I’ll go to the Palazzo del Governatore (Governor’s Palace) on Piazza Garibaldi.
If it’s open, I visit the monthly antiques market at Fontanellato – often with Stephania, or my sons Luca and Andrea if they are visiting. You can find beautiful pieces, from the 1600s to the 1960s. I design all my salons, so I am always looking for things to furnish them with.
Lunch is at Al Cavallino Bianco, where I love the bread with culatello. I follow this with a much-needed siesta before I visit my good friend, the artist Alfonso Borghi. We catch up and I watch him work. I’ve known him for 15 years, since I was redesigning my house, and his art changed my vision. Now my house is full of his paintings.
The perfect end to the weekend is to have dinner with Stephania, my sons and their girlfriends, if they are here, and my ex-wife Aurora. She lives nearby and we are good friends. It’s a tradition that we all go out to San Martè Ristorante for pizza, which here is very light and simple, made with just tomato and mozzarella, and the local Malvasia wine. The next day I will be off again on a plane. But however much I travel, Parma will always be home.