Countess Bianca Arrivabene talks personal taste: Part One

Christie’s Venice representative Countess Bianca Arrivabene is the châtelaine of the Palazzo Papadopoli, now also home to the city’s Aman hotel

Countess Bianca Arrivabene at her home in front of the Grand Canal, Venice
Countess Bianca Arrivabene at her home in front of the Grand Canal, Venice | Image: Fabio Massimo Aceto

My personal style signifier is a necklace of round silver discs that glitter in the sun, made by the sculptural jeweller Osanna Visconti in Milan. It is lightweight but visually loud and I play with it the whole time. From €450;

The last things I bought and loved were some black brogues with silver studs from Church’s. I’m very tall – over 6ft – so I never wear heels. These are like men’s shoes, but the studs add a flicker of femininity. I live in them. €365; Calle Vallaresso 1316, 30124 Venice (+39041-241 0147;

Arrivabene’s Osanna Visconti silver-disc necklace, from €450
Arrivabene’s Osanna Visconti silver-disc necklace, from €450 | Image: Fabio Massimo Aceto

And the thing I’m eyeing next is a pair of pink and red Prada ballerinas. £440;

The last meal that truly impressed me was at Antiche Carampane here in Venice, where we go at least once a week. Every time I visit I am blown away by how good the tagliolini al granchio is. San Polo 1911, 30125 Venice (+39041-524 0165;


The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Nan Goldin. I’ve been buying photography for years without consciously meaning to build up a collection, and her pictures are real and honest; I’d like to buy every single one.

The last music I downloaded was Christmas Song Book, an album by the Italian singer Mina. Music isn’t my department, though; I organise the house, the travel; my husband, Giberto, and the children are in charge of the soundtrack. They know I love Italian music – by Zucchero, Lucio Battisti, Francesco De Gregori – as well as U2 and Mika. And Ricky Martin is my jogging music.

A Murano-glass tumbler from the Arrivabene factory, €95
A Murano-glass tumbler from the Arrivabene factory, €95 | Image: Fabio Massimo Aceto

A recent “find” is Dejamis, a shop in Florence that will restyle your granny’s fur coat and make it contemporary and fabulous. They might reline it with something fun and replace a moth-eaten collar with leather or suede. They are very creative and full of fantasy. Via Paisiello Giovanni 3/A/B, 50144 Florence (+39055-535 3345;

In my fridge you’ll always find Prosecco, homemade by Giberto in the countryside, Stolichnaya to keep my friends happy and lots of chocolate, which I buy from the fabulous VizioVirtù. Its dark chocolate with almonds and raisins is to die for. San Polo 2898/A, 30125 Venice (+39041-275 0149;

A spa treatment room at the Aman Canal Grande Venice
A spa treatment room at the Aman Canal Grande Venice

The best gift I’ve given recently was an emerald-green Murano-glass tumbler to each of my childhood girlfriends, engraved with their initials. Giberto is a glass artist and I love giving his work as presents because they come from the heart and represent him, me, our life together and Venice. €95;

And the best one I’ve received was a necklace Giberto had made. I had an old family coin that I used to wear on a long leather string; I adored it, but lost it in Paris a while ago. One night I got home and on my pillow was another, almost exactly the same. It was a real surprise and very romantic.

La Sesión Cubana by Zucchero
La Sesión Cubana by Zucchero

An indulgence I would never forego is the treatments I have at the Aman hotel downstairs. They are very tempting because all I have to do is take the lift down one floor and there’s the spa. All its products are chemical-free and the signature foot treatment is heaven, as Venice is a city for walking. It begins with an exfoliation with Himalayan crystal salts, followed by a massage using peppermint and arnica to calm and refresh tired tootsies, and finishes with a hot compress. I leave with feet that ​look and feel brand new. €150; Palazzo Papadopoli, Calle Tiepolo 1364, Sestiere San Polo, 30125 Venice (+39041-270 7333;

My favourite websites are La Repubblica for news, Italian Vogue for inspiration, and Yoox and English Abode for shopping and beautiful interiors.


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