Italy travel_reviving charm


Buongiorno! Mr. B and I have been enjoying travels through Northern Italy. Traveling during this time of year is great because the crowds generally die down a bit and the weather is usually more tolerable. Unfortunately, we couldn’t escape the higher temperatures and it’s been in the mid 80 degrees in Turin, where we are currently staying. Another advantage for traveling during this time of year is that the prices are typically more reasonable. For me, that means hoping to buy more souvenirs with the money we save.

I took thousands of pictures on our Italian trip last year and realize that I never shared any with you. I recently went through all of last year’s pictures and created this small photo montage highlighting the architectural features, design details and the natural beauty that capture the essence of Italy.

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I have one very special post scheduled while I’m away and I promise to do a recap post of my current trip when I’m back. I’m also looking forward to posting more regularly. Fall is approaching and I’m feeling inspired. In the meantime, follow along on Instagram.

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A Chic Milan Apartment

If you’ve been with me a while then you already know that I have a super sweet spot in my heart for Italy. I have fallen in love with Milan and I even discussed my position on the great debate about the metropolitan city in this prior post. When I came across this regal apartment it took me about two seconds to start a post. I knew I couldn’t keep this stunning Italian interior all to myself and I had to share it with you. Afterall, my motto in life (well, at least one of them) is “sharing is caring”. This incredible chic Italian apartment was designed for a couple and their two children by Studio Peregalli, a design firm based in Milan within short walking distance of The Duomo. The firm has achieved much recognition for their stunning interiors but don’t bother searching for a portfolio of their work on their website because you won’t find one. Thier website only features one small image and contact information reminding me of a modern day calling card. Apparently, you’re already familiar with their work if you need to contact them. Few firms can be so lucky. Studio Peregalli is headed by Roberto Peregalli and Laura Sartori Rimini and were hired to redesign this Milan apartment which hadn’t been touched since it was originally designed in the 1950’s by famed Italian designer Renzo Mon­giar­dino, whom both Peregalli and Rimini once worked under until his death almost 20 years ago. They tackled the project as more of a restoration project as if to pay homage to the original design done by Mon­giar­dino. They salvaged much of the original work including the gorgeous murals and trompe l’oeil paintings that grace the walls to create a beautiful backdrop for the furniture that lies within the rooms. It’s pure Italian chic.

The effect, especially when set against the backdrop of elaborately decorated walls, is one of controlled exuberance and welcoming luxury.  — Elle Decor Magazine

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  • Read more about the project online here or in the April issue of Elle Decor.
  • To learn more about Renzo Mon­giar­dino check this out.
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For Auction: Property from Villa Massei

I was immediately captivated by the charm of Lucca, a small town in the Tuscany region of Italy when I visited many years ago. It was 2005 to be exact. We were only in town for one day but Mr. B and I vowed to go back. It’s a town that’s typically overlooked by most tourists but is definitely worth a visit – even if for only one day. What makes Lucca unique is that the historic center of town is encircled by huge medieval stone walls that were originally built for defense purposes. Although the massive stone walls remain, they now serve as open space for residents and visitors to enjoy. The top of the wall has been developed into a tree-lined, gravel pathway that provides for the most charming stroll. From the top of the wall you have a view of the historic town on one side and a view of the expansive greenbelt that was once a moat on the other. This is what most tourists to Lucca experience when they visit.

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Image via

Lucca Italy by Reviving Charm

Original Photo by Reviving Charm; Circa 2005

However, once you leave the old city walls you’ll find several stately homes including the 60-acre estate known as Villa Massei that was once owned by American artist and author Paul Gervais and Gil Cohen. They spent 34 years restoring the 16th century estate with Mr. Garvais even authoring the book A Garden in Lucca about developing the Italian Renaissance style gardens at Villa Massei. Gervais and Cohen sold the property in 2015 and on Tuesday, February 27, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers in Chicago will be offering Italian furnishings, art, and decorative objects from Villa Massei that Gervais and Cohen had collected over the many years they spent in Italy, including many of the items shown in the photos below. To learn more about Villa Massei and the upcoming auction, click here. Happy bidding!

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home of Jacaranda Caracciolo di Melito Falck on Reviving Charm


When Architectural Digest posted these pictures online yesterday I immediately knew it would be a great follow up to my previous post on Angelli Style. This getaway home, a former convent, belongs to Jacaranda Caracciolo di Melito Falck, the adopted daughter of Carlo Caracciol who was the co-founder of L’Espresso and Italian newspaper La Repubblica. The tie to my previous post is that Jacaranda and her late father are also related to the Agnelli’s (Marella Agnelli is Carlos’s younger sister and Jacaranda’s aunt). I’m not one to gossip (!) but on a side note, if you’re interested in hearing about a little family drama be sure to check out the riveting article Vanity Fair published a few years ago after the passing of Jacaranda’s father. Apparently, Jacaranda found herself in the middle of a scandal after her fathers passing. I won’t say anymore because you really should out the piece in Vanity Fair for yourself.

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Gianni-Agnelli-sailing on Reviving CharmAt the 2017 Venice Film Festival, HBO released the documentary “Agnelli”. It’s a fascinating account of the late Gianni Agnelli’s life through the 1960’s, 70s, and 80’s as he ruled the Italian economy and high society. He was part industrialist serving as the patriarch of Fiat and part style maker. Every man wanted to be Gianni and his sense of style was one that may men tried to replicate. When it came to fashion, one of his most notable trademarks was wearing a watch over the cuff of his sleeve. Even today not many men could pull off this look but Gianni Agnelli did it with ease and grace. He had an art for making the difficult look simple; Italian nonchalance, if you will.gianni agnelli fashion style_Reviving Charm

gianni agnelli quote_Reviving CharmThe documentary “Agnelli” is currently being shown on HBO through January 21. If you are looking for something to do indoors this weekend then I strongly suggest that you check it out. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I’ve already watched it 3 times and I’m sure I’ll watch it again at some point this weekend.

I couldn’t draft this post about mentioning his wife, Marella Agnelli. Afterall, as they say…behind every strong man is a stronger woman. Although Marella came from an aristocratic family (her mother was a whiskey heiress from Peoria, Illinois who married into Italian nobility), her life of grandeur really didn’t begin until she married Gianni Agnelli in 1953.gianni marella-agnelli-wedding_Reviving Charm

Today, Marella is well into her 90’s and back in Fall 2014, she coauthored a book, The Last Swan, with her niece and namesake Marella Caracciola published by Rizolli. It’s one of my favorite books in my collection. the last swan agnelli book cover_Reviving Charm

It’s a glimpse into the life of privilege that serves as part memoir and part picture book showcasing many of the beautiful homes and gardens Marella created and shared with her late husband Gianni. It’s a look into a life of unimaginable wealth that only very few people on this planet will ever experience. Indeed, la dolce vita. agnelli home _Reviving CharmAgnelli home 2_Reviving Charmagnelli-villar-perosa-italy-01-chinese-gallery_Reviving Charmagnelli dining room_Reviving Charmagnelli home 4_Reviving Charmagnelli home_Reviving Charmagnelli home 5_Reviving Charmagnelli home 3_Reviving CharmAgenlli home_Reviving Charm

Welcoming Fall Max Mara Style

My two favorite souvenirs from travels in years past have been beautiful coats from Max Mara, my favorite Italian fashion brand. We don’t have much need for thick heavy coats in California but with fall and winter being my favorite times of the year, I can never resist buying a new coat. Given that today is the first day of fall, I had to share pictures from the current issue of Harper’s Bazaar featuring a few beautiful coats from Max Mara. The model is Grace Gummer who is the daughter of the Meryl Streep and Don Gummer. Grace teamed up with Max Mara to do a photo shoot to celebrate Women in Film, a nonprofit organization that promotes equal opportunities for women in the entertainment industry. According to Harper’s Bazaar “Grace is an actress who combines a strong talent with a playfulness, originality, and intelligence that’s also expressed through her style”. I bet we’ll be seeing much more of Grace. In the meantime, I have to make sure I check out the latest from Max Mara before heading back home to the States.

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Shop Highlight: Studio Veneto Provides Luxury Italian Decor

Every now and then you stumble across a shop that is truly a unique find. Studio Veneto located in The Village neighborhood of La Jolla, California is one such gem. I came across Studio Veneto several years ago but it wasn’t until last summer that I had a wonderful chat with the owner, Linda McCormick, who allowed me to take pictures of the shop (Thank you, Linda!). I paid a visit to the shop again last weekend and took a few new pictures.
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The exterior of the shop has an elegant quality to it with an old world Italian feel. When you walk up to the space you immediately realize that this shop is truly something special.  studio veneto fortuny reviving charm

Studio Veneto is no ordinary antique shop. It is well known for specializing in Italian antiques and textiles sourced directly from Italy. However, you don’t need to be decorating an Italian villa to shop here. Studio Veneto is a great shop visit even if you just need to find a one-of-a-kind item that will make a statement in a room. The shop is not large but there is an abundance of inventory to choose from.

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As you walk into the shop you are immediately greeted with a treasure trove of items. The photo above was from my trip last year, with the photo below from last weekend. The shop is hard to photograph as it is fairly dark with lots of tight spaces and is packed with treasures tucked away in every corner. studio veneto la jolla Reviving Charm 1

Linda is a woman after my own heart. She has quite the affinity for textiles, particularly being a longtime fan of the prestigious Italian textile maker Fortuny. She sources her textiles directly from Italy and uses them to create pillows, tissue box covers, lampshades and her signature nightlights (shown below). While $175 may sound steep for a nightlight, remember that each shade is made by hand using antique Fortuny fabric. No two are identical. These would look stunning in a powder room although I have contemplated about putting one in the living room.

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Custom lampshades in a variety of shapes and sizes are a particular specialty of Studio Veneto. Tucked away in a small area at the back of the shop you can see a plethora of small shades ready to purchase off the shelf. However, if you are interested in having a custom lampshade crafted for you, there are a number of finials and other lamp parts to choose from (shown below along the right-hand side of the picture). No detail is overlooked. studio veneto fortuny reviving charm

Don’t forget to look up! Above the owner’s desk toward the back of the shop, you can see the wire lamp frames just waiting to be turned into a beautifully handcrafted lamp. The wire frames are custom made specifically for Studio Veneto. studio veneto fortuny reviving charm studio veneto fortuny reviving charm

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If you are looking to incorporate a bit of Italy into your decor, be sure to pay a visit to Studio Veneto or check out the veneto la jolla Reviving Charm 5