Make mine a palazzo! -Is my motto, here in the Indian-Summer of life. Having grown up with the sensible Scandinavian aesthetic of rural Gustavian, and Palladian architecture, I have, in latter years, developed a passione for everything palazzo-related. Maybe it’s the natural progression of things… I already had a preference for colourful homes, in fact, I have never been able to live in those typically Scandinavian 1980s-2010s minimalist’ish, white-washed apartments, with dingy flea-market artifacts, and graphic design posters bought at random (that hold no relation to family history, or even just a profound connection to one’s soul –or a personalised aesthetic. The blandness of this “style” offends me. I cannot bear this unoriginality of the eye! – I am in a tempestuous mood today, giving it all sorts of sass. I do apologise: censorship would have been favourable), that people here are still so fond of. Blame it, maybe, on my Italian heritage, the risotto-gene is strong in this one! … Whatever it is, there is something about ceilings that go on forever, the endless possibilities in decorating a series of grand rooms, and catering to the sort of views to Italy, from which the fabric of dreams is spun.
There is a romanticism to the palazzo, that appeals to the middle-aged sensitivity. The looking back at history, one’s own as well as our European one, living inside it, reviving what is lost, dusting off the old, the art, the craftsmanship, the architecture, and the undeniable, almost unbearable, heart-wrenching, and life-affirming beauty of Italy… I simply cannot let go of my palazzo dreams. They have seeped into my innermost being, and clung themselves to the walls of my soul, forever. So, please, Caro Dio, do make mine a palazzo! Let me have a view to the old-world grandeur of Centro Storico, a roof-terrace from which I can sip rosé at dusk, surrounded by laughter, and loved ones. A place where I can look back on a life well-lived, wine well-spilled, and feel I am enveloped in la grande bellezza.
Here is one of my favourite palazzo apartments. A delicately restored, and cleverly decorated Italian home owned by filmmaker Luca Guadagnino. You know him, and his formidable eye, from films such as I am Love, A Bigger Splash, and the soon to be released, Call Me By Your Name. His home, a 300m2 apartment (not too big, not too small), on the second floor of a 17th Century palazzo, sits in the heart of Crema (40 minutes from Milano). Guadagnino designed the space himself, and it is the perfect mix of ancient and modern.
–Italians just do it better.
Images from New York Times T Magazine (as well as caption text) • Photographs by Mikael Olsson