Guided tour of Alessandro Michele’s palace in Rome

“I am the doctor of damaged and decaying houses,” he likes to say. “I buy damaged or abandoned places that I think will be useful to me.” Alessandro and I chat in the palazzo’s renovated piano master suite. He sits in a Tudor armchair made of petrol blue velvet; long dark curls frame his handsome face. About eight months after breaking up Gucci, has the calm, composed expression of someone who has seen it all, heard it all, and done it all, and who is finally happy to have a break. Even restoring an 800-year-old building is not that easy.

Palazzo Scapucci is one of the few buildings in Rome with its own medieval tower. In the 15th century, the surrounding buildings were built by Pope Paul IV. It housed the monastery of Sixtus (during the work, Alessandro uncovered the original papal coat of arms engraved on the rafters). More than a century later, the Palazzo passed into the hands of a wealthy family. Scapucci. Her Passages from French and Italian Notebooksfrom 1871 Nathaniel Hawthorne tells a legend about them. THE Scapucci he allegedly owned a pet monkey. The latter, driven mad with jealousy by the birth of their child, would refuse to come down and snatch the baby from its cradle before fleeing to the top of the tower. As is often the case in Italy, the panicked young father then prayed to the Virgin Mary and promised that if the child was saved, a kerosene lamp would be kept lit in the tower in his honor. A miracle happened: the animal obediently went down and returned the baby. It is said that the lamp at the top of the Monkey Tower has been burning ever since.

As you tell me the story, Alessandro She waves her hands, her antique gold rings sparkling in the air. For him, history is everywhere. “I don’t believe that time passes as the calendar or clock shows,” he says. These walls are 800 years old, but they are my gift. I’m not nostalgic. I do not believe that those who lost their lives disappeared. “We all leave deep traces behind.”

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Father of the free and destructive spiritAlessandro He was strongly opposed to the idea of ​​property. He was a member of Lotta Continua, a far-left political movement that fought in the 1970s to provide housing for working families who could not pay their rent. “He had strong political beliefs, but he also loved nature,” the designer explains. I can say that he has a pagan spirit, almost an animist. He took us to the mountains. We had to sit and listen. He told us: ‘You talk too much, shut up. Listen to the wind through the leaves: it is God.’” When her family can no longer pay their rent, they all move to the shantytown occupied by Lotta Continua, north of Rome. Alessandro.

“We shared our space with families we didn’t know,” he recalls. Alessandro. This was my first big life lesson; “I learned to observe and take care of people.” Strangers come and go at odd hours of the night. When adults talk, he sits in the corner and listens. “We encountered prostitutes, drug dealers, single mothers thrown out of their homes. Extraordinary people with extraordinary faces. That’s when I realized how important it is to know how to reach them.” It is no coincidence that he chose to live opposite the baroque church Sant’Antonio dei Portoghesi, a former hospice for Portuguese pilgrims and a charitable institution. He plans to open his country house in northern Lazio to artist residencies. at home Guccihis office was already a meeting place for creatives from around the world willing to exchange ideas.

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