HEIGHT OF FASH­ION

It looks like a Tus­can villa re­treat, but the spec­tac­u­lar hill­top fam­ily home of Fendi CEO Pi­etro Bec­cari and his wife, Elis­a­betta, is a for­mer green­house over­look­ing the cen­tre of Rome.

VOGUE Living Australia - - Art & Design - By Fiona Mc­Carthy Pho­tographed by Felix For­est

Elis­a­betta Bec­cari and her hus­band, Pi­etro, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Fendi, live in a sump­tu­ous hill­top home in cen­tral Rome with their daugh­ters, Costanza, 21, Carolina, 18, and Al­le­gra, 13. To­gether for 30 years, the cou­ple, both born and raised in Parma in north­ern Italy, have lived and worked all around the world, in­clud­ing New York, Brus­sels, Düs­sel­dorf and, most re­cently, Paris, be­fore mov­ing to Rome four years ago. Here, Elis­a­betta talks about the light-filled res­i­dence they call home and life in the Eternal City. Rome is a whole new ex­pe­ri­ence for us.

When we first ar­rived, the weather was ma­jes­tic; I couldn’t be­lieve the warmth of Rome. There were blue skies ev­ery­where. We wanted to see this house, but it was a Satur­day and the real es­tate agent said it was im­pos­si­ble be­cause the care­tak­ers didn’t work at week­ends, so we would have to come back an­other time. We still came to see it any­way — and then we found that the first gate was open, and then the sec­ond gate was also open, so we came in to take pic­tures. We fell in love im­me­di­ately with both the house’s sense of light and the view.

The light here re­ally lifts your mood. We had seen some beau­ti­ful houses — old Ro­man apart­ments with amaz­ing fres­coes — but this one was dif­fer­ent. We wanted a house to live in as a fam­ily; it wasn’t just for show or host­ing drinks re­cep­tions for work. We re­alised this house could be a place for us to be to­gether, where our friends and their kids could come, too. Ev­ery­thing needed to be re­done.

You wouldn’t be­lieve the state this house was in. There was no gar­den, just con­crete. All the win­dows were bro­ken, the paint was peel­ing and the walls were wa­ter-dam­aged. The ceil­ings were ruched or swagged with fab­ric. Ev­ery­where was so dark — no­body had lived here for many years. With our ar­chi­tect, Marco Costanzi [who also designed Fendi’s new head­quar­ters in Rome’s Palazzo della Civiltà Ital­iana; see page 60], we opened it all up. Once the walls were down, we de­cided to di­vide the house into the kitchen, tele­vi­sion, liv­ing and din­ing rooms on the top floor, and the bed­rooms and bath­rooms on the bot­tom floor. The idea was to fill ev­ery room with light. We came to Rome with only two grey so­fas and some art­works that we had bought liv­ing abroad.

When we moved here, we de­cided to go back to our roots. We started buy­ing Ital­ian art and fur­ni­ture, in­clud­ing vin­tage Gio Ponti chairs and Bon­a­lumi sculp­tures to mix in with the small col­lec­tion of pieces we’d found in Paris [like the brushed brass and bul­bous milky glass floor light by Lind­sey Adel­man and vivid paint­ing by Kristin Baker]. Ev­ery piece has a very sculp­tural feel, with clean lines. It has helped to make the house feel much big­ger. Ro­man life is very dif­fer­ent.

Liv­ing abroad, I al­ways had the feel­ing of be­ing a for­eigner, a guest, so I was used to do­ing what I had to do, be­ing po­lite and fol­low­ing the rules. Com­ing back to Rome, even though I am Ital­ian, it was hard at first be­cause I felt like a stranger. Af­ter a while, I be­gan to ap­pre­ci­ate the style of the peo­ple much more — and the city’s im­per­fec­tions [where not ev­ery­thing works as per­haps it should]. The peo­ple love to stay to­gether, to en­joy life — it’s about en­ter­tain­ing at home or sit­ting at a bar and talk­ing with friends. It’s dis­creet and un­der­stated but very, very beau­ti­ful. ››

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