The jeweler’s multifaceted apartment near the spanish steps
Above: A sculpture by Graziano Spinosi shares the entrance hall
with an Aurelio Bulzatti architectural scene
Nicola Bulgari lives above his shop. In a manner of speaking. One might just as well say the queen of England lives inside her showrooms. Radiating out from the Piazza di Spagna — where, in a lyrical little house at the foot of the Spanish Steps, Keats coughed his consumptive heart out in an ecstasy of youthful despair – Via Condotti, the center of Rome’s rich stuffs and modish jewels, offers goods-dazed tourists visual seduction and consumer sustenance. A heady air emanates from designers’ glamorous boutiques and from austere palazzi in which, before Via Condotti became the main shopping artery of Romon chic, Thackeray and Tennyson lived and Casanova frivoled. One of the enduring and endearing landmarks of Via Condotti is the Caffè Greco, where crusty waiters who irrepressibly suggest penguins serve placid matrons and their grandchildren and old men reading newspapers and camera-laden tourists in a series of marble and floral rooms and happily haunted niches once frequented by Stendhal, Wagner, Goethe and (unlikely as it may seem) Buffalo Bill.
Barbara Grizzuti Harrison · A.D. International