Indagare contributor Tiffany Schauer recently visited one of Rome’s most special properties. Here are her impressions.
Once again this summer, I returned to my favorite Roman haunt, Hotel Margutta 54. After chatting with the lovely concierge, Martina, I had the opportunity to hear about the hotel’s past from the owner himself, Alberto Moncada. Over a glass of wine, Alberto entertained me with the history of this chic home-like hotel, which includes buildings constructed in the 18th century by his ancestor, the Marquis Francesco Patrizi. Originally built as an artist colony, the hotel fulfilled its fate hosting such talents as Pablo Picasso, Igor Stravinsky and Giacomo Puccini. World War II had little effect on the hotel’s glamorous status, and it became the setting for such films as Roman Holiday and housed the recording studios that dubbed Hollywood films in Italian.
The hotel’s street, Via Margutta, maintains its creative atmosphere, filled with art galleries, antique stores, artisan’s workshops and small boutiques. Present day ancestors mingle with Margutta’s artistic ghosts contentedly drifting around the vibrant courtyard; one fellow guest turned out to be the nephew of former resident composer, Pietro Mascagni. In fact, on this trip I found out that the hotel has apartments that can be rented by the week or month, an ideal accommodation for a family or for a longer stay.
Over drinks, Alberto shared with me his favorite summer holiday spot, the small town of Magliano. About twenty minutes from Porto Ercole, it embodies the contemporary Italian countryside experience with olive groves, great food and a simple lifestyle. The gorgeous SPA hotel, Terme di Saturnia (www.termedisaturnia.it) is nearby, and there is talk that the Vivarelli Colonna family is planning their first country luxury hotel in the area.
Meanwhile, this October, Hotel Margutta 54’s sister property Babuino 181 is adding ten guest rooms, including two suites and a rooftop relaxation area with views of the Vatican.