GARDEN OF EDEN

Ital­ian jew­eller Bul­gari pre­sented its garden-themed high jew­ellery col­lec­tion, Giar­dini Ital­iani, in a Re­nais­sance villa in Tus­cany. Vin­cenzo La Torre got a sneak peek in the most mem­o­rable set­ting

Adore Gems & Timepieces - - CONTENTS - Pho­tog­ra­pher Marco Russo Stylist Mas­simo Russo Jew­ellery Bul­gari

Bul­gari’s Giar­dini Ital­iani col­lec­tion

If there’s a coun­try where that most mag­i­cal cliché, the se­cret garden, comes to life, it must be Italy. Just go for a stroll in the lanes of Rome, Florence, Venice and even the less-pho­to­genic Mi­lan and if you look hard enough, you’ll find that be­hind unas­sum­ing fa­cades of­ten lies a stunning maze of lush green­ery and bloom­ing flow­ers. Un­like the grander and more man­i­cured gar­dens of cities such as Paris or Lon­don — think the Tui­leries or Hamp­stead Heath’s Hill Gar­dens — Italy is a place of hid­den charms, where even the ul­ti­mate Re­nais­sance garden, the Boboli in Florence, is hid­den be­hind the im­pos­ing Palazzo Pitti in the city’s Ol­trarno neigh­bour­hood.

It was a visit to that same pocket of green in the cap­i­tal of the Ital­ian Re­nais­sance that spurred Lucia Sil­vestri, Bul­gari’s cre­ative di­rec­tor, to de­sign an en­tire col­lec­tion — Giar­dini Ital­iani — in­spired by Ital­ian Re­nais­sance gar­dens. “Boboli was the first place we vis­ited to find some in­spi­ra­tion,” says Sil­vestri at the launch in Florence in June. “That was the start­ing point for the col­lec­tion. We breathed the air of Florence, its na­ture, but also the Re­nais­sance and Florence is the sym­bol of it. The journey be­gan here a year ago; when we thought of gar­dens, the first place that came to mind was Tus­cany and we came here, and then to Siena and Lucca.”

Bul­gari has al­ways drawn in­spi­ra­tion from na­ture, es­pe­cially from flow­ers and the sea, but with the Giar­dini Ital­iani col­lec­tion, Sil­vestri and her team also looked at el­e­ments such as ar­chi­tec­tural and geo­met­ric forms. You’ll find plenty of pieces evok­ing the petals of a del­i­cate daisy or the sinewy branches of cling­ing ivy. But even more strik­ing are the lin­ear forms of a pair of ear­rings in­spired by the ev­er­green hedgerows typ­i­cal of Re­nais­sance gar­dens, or a pen­dant re­call­ing the stone foun­tains that adorn them.

Sil­vestri also likes to point out that the art of gar­den­ing is not that dif­fer­ent from her own craft. “Although gar­dens are a gift of na­ture, they’re ac­tu­ally man-made,” she says. “You have the same cre­ativ­ity in jew­ellery and in gar­den­ing; they’re two arts that are very sim­i­lar. If you think about it, the flower and the plants rep­re­sent the stones and the jew­eller, the gar­dener, while the lawn is like a pavé. Like a gar­dener sees his flow­ers, and [how] trees grow and change, jew­ellers see the stones be­come beau­ti­ful ob­jects. As a cre­ative di­rec­tor, I see the jewel as it comes to life from the seed, which is the stone around which we de­velop the jewel.”

When pressed to name some of the most mem­o­rable places she set her eyes upon dur­ing her trav­els through Tus­cany, Sil­vestri re­veals that what re­ally struck her were the pri­vate prop­er­ties. “There are pri­vate ones I can’t men­tion that are ab­so­lutely and un­ex­pect­edly amaz­ing,” she says. “You’d never think there would be such well-kept and well-dec­o­rated pri­vate gar­dens all over Italy.” A place that’s likely to be high on that list is Villa Le Rose, a 15th-cen­tury es­tate near Florence, where the im­ages ac­com­pa­ny­ing this story were taken to cel­e­brate a col­lec­tion that dis­plays the as­tound­ing skills of Bul­gari ate­liers and the in­ge­nious ways na­ture and man come to­gether to bear the sim­ple and yet elu­sive gift of true beauty.

Dress, from Dolce & Gab­bana

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