November 22, 2022

Exploring The Eternal City

In: Behind the Scenes, Interior Design, Travel


The season of thanks has arrived and we have so much to be grateful for! Not only will we be spending quality time with our family and friends in the coming weeks, but our month has been filled with travel and nothing compares to exploring the beauty of the world that surrounds us.

Our recent trip to Rome was another reminder of just how much we missed visiting breathtaking corners of the globe, and experiencing it all with our friends and colleagues from Design Leadership Network was a real treat!

Today we’re sharing a few highlights from our visit to the “Eternal City” where we were fortunate to enjoy informative lectures, exclusive tours, private tastings, and dreamy fresco-filled Baroque monuments. Scroll on for an exclusive look at our adventures through Rome!


Hotel de la Ville is an 18th-century palazzo that unites classical Roman elements with contemporary sweeping views. The Rocco Forte Property underwent an extensive refurbishment and the result is exquisitely-detailed making this a most delightful place to stay.

Couldn’t resist taking a selfie at the Hotel de la Ville!


Works by the Italian Baroque master Caravaggio were absolutely astonishing to see in person. We were fortunate to have a very knowledgeable art historian lead us on a tour of Caravaggio’s masterpieces found in several churches and private homes throughout Rome, including Santa Maria del Popolo, San Luigi dei Francesi, and Sant’Agostino. The beautiful fresco ceilings speak for themselves!

The Madonna of Loreto or Pilgrim’s Madonna (above) is a famous painting in the church of Sant’Agostino. It depicts the apparition two peasants experienced of the barefoot Virgin and naked child while on a pilgrimage. The oil on canvas depiction was truly remarkable to see in person!


No visit to Rome is complete without a visit to the Trevi Fountain! What a treat to see after its recent cleaning and renovation.

Piazza Navona (below) is an iconic square with Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers, a masterpiece that represents the most important rivers of the continents where Christianity has spread.
The street markets are such a delight and offer a variety of delicious foods.


Wondrous moments of beauty exist around every corner in Rome and the Pantheon is another architectural marvel that always leaves us in awe!


Even though we had quite a bit of programming to attend, we always made time to wander. These are the special moments when we take in the local culture, appreciating everything the magnificent city has to offer.

Even though the weather was unseasonably warm, we loved seeing street vendors roasting chestnuts.

We enjoyed shopping bespoke goods along the market streets (isn’t that handwoven hat Sandy has on adorable?) and the fresh house-made pasta from MACCARONE il Pastificio looked amazing!

Even the drains are beautifully-designed on the streets of Rome!


Thanks to the wonderful team at Design Leadership Network, we had the opportunity to listen to many inspiring speakers while reconnecting with industry friends and colleagues from around the world. Can you name a better place to gather?  

Michael Diaz-Griffith, DLN Executive Director and COO of Design Leadership Network, introduces a lineup of esteemed speakers and guides from the worlds of Italian architecture, design, hospitality, fashion and media.

The Design Leadership Award dinner took place at the Palazzo Colonna (above), one of the oldest and largest private palaces in Rome. It was commissioned by the Colonna family in the 1400s and their family has lived here ever since. Who wouldn’t want to dine among frescoed walls and ceilings and an impressive collection of fine art?


The Palazzo Spada is a palace located on Piazza di Capo Ferro #13 in the Rione Regola of Rome and accommodates a large art collection, the Galleria Spada. In 1632, the palace was purchased by Cardinal Spada, who commissioned modifications from Francesco Borromini.

Because the palace takes up the entire plot of land and Cardinal Spada wanted a spacious garden, Borromini designed a colonnade in the small garden which is an optical illusion to fool the eye into thinking you’re looking at a large statue at the end when in fact it is a small scale… 31” high!

We love the way certain pieces of art were hung on hinges so they could be adjusted to better catch the natural light, allow you to see works that were also painted on the back, or to take the piece off the wall entirely to study it more closely.


We had the opportunity to tour the Vatican privately with an intimate group and it’s an experience we will never forget.

We had to wait a few minutes while the guards found the key they needed to unlock one of the rooms we were touring and were amazed by the wonderful collection of ancient and modern keys on his ring!
Every tour guide says this statue resembles Bill Clinton. Can you see the resemblance?

We brought the evening to a close with a reception in the Vatican’s Pinecone Courtyard where we enjoyed the “Sphere with Sphere” sculpture by Arnaldo Pomodoro. The sculpture is crafted from bronze and the mechanism inside rotates slowly with the wind.


Another unforgettable evening took place when we all gathered to sip on cocktails at the Villa Medici. Afterwards, we broke into small groups for dinner and our group enjoyed the most delightful evening at the Palazzo Barberini apartment!

The Villa Medici is a Mannerist villa on the edge of the Borghese Gardens that has housed the French Academy in Rome since 1803.
The ornate ceiling above is just one example of the exquisite artistic detail found throughout Villa Medici.
Built in 1625, the fresco ceilings of Palazzo Barberini (above) were a treat to dine under. What a special moment surrounded by inspiring people and interiors.
The simple but elegant tablescape for our dinner at Palazzo Barberini!
The beautifully unique carving on this mirror and settee were connected as a single piece…lovely.


Sarah opted to attend a wine tasting experience led by a member of the Antinori family from Marchesi Antinori, a company that can trace its history back to 1385. The skies were blue and the vineyard was divine!


It wouldn’t be a trip to Rome without a stop at the flagship store of Chez Dede! Dede is the perfect place when you’re on the hunt for a unique blend of fashion, art, furniture, books, jewels and vintage gems. Add in fine Italian craftsmanship and it becomes a must-see for any design enthusiast!

And there are so many other lovely spots to visit, including Lisa Corti Home Textile Emporium!

Soledad Twombly’s atelier L’Archivio di Monserrato is an oasis of calm and elegance in the bustle of Rome, inviting you to discover a beautiful balance between historical reverence and modern design”

Last, but certainly not least, we couldn’t get enough of the beautiful floral designs by Sebastian Flowers scattered through Hotel de Russie! You know how we feel about fresh flowers and these arrangements were vivid and texture-rich!

Rome is a dream and we can’t wait to go back! Are you planning a trip of your own? Leave us a note below with your favorite destinations so we can add them to our itinerary for next time!

“Rome is the city of echoes, the city of illusion, and the city of yearning.”
– Giotto di Bondone

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