High Society, Italian Style

by guestofaguest · June 3, 2010

That a social world exists outside of the confines of New York City is a hard concept to grapple with, but alas, it's true. Italy, for instance, has a busy social calendar of dinners, gallery openings, and of course, fashion, with its own set of Tinsleys and Olivia Palermos. (Though some of the more colorful characters who populate Page Six seem to be uniquely American constructs...) Here is a taste of what Italian High Society is like...-

[All photos via Vogue.it]

A British Invasion, a Film and Fashion Festival, a party (at a villa) for Miuccia Prada, and an exclusive Salon attended by Beatrice Borromeo and Graydon Carter; these are just a few of the events held last week in Rome and Milan.

"Less Is More" definitely seems to be the motto in Italy, at least in terms of the guest list: party crashers and social climbers have a much tougher time getting into events, where almost all the attendees are either Fashion Royalty, Cinema Royalty, Publishing Royalty, or dating royalty.

The venues alternate from hyper-modern industrial spaces, such as Circus Studios in Milan (think grafitti, technicolor lights, and wafting smoke) to Renaissance Palazzos and fairy-tale private villas like the Villa Aurelia, home of the American Academy in Rome (think Baroque floors, stunning views, and wafting smells from the Lemon groves). At recent dinner for Miuccia Prada, the already beautiful setting was enhanced by 400 candles.

At the Palazzo Sachetti, the setting for a recent dinner hosted by architect Zaha Hadid, high society guests ate dinner among calla lillies, between Roman sarcophagi, and under Pietro da Cortona's Holy Family.

If the exteriors of these 15th and 16th century palazzi aren't enough to impress, the meticulously decorated interiors certainly will. The Roman home of Pietro Valsecchi, for instance, is decorated with design works by Ron Arad and Damien Hirst. The home was the venue for yet another dinner honoring Miuccia Prada, this one attended by Graydon Carter, Pierre Casiraghi and Beatrice Borromeo (catch a glimpse of their perfect Roman lifestyle HERE) Lapo Elkann and Larry Gagosian.

Truck stop food in Italy is pretty phenomenal, so you can imagine the quality of the food served at these parties. Capotata, petit tartares with tuna and beluga, and champagne. Sometimes, the caterers go for a modern twist: Hamburger stands, pedestrian in the US but relatively exotic in Italy.

Italian High Society, in Rome at least,  hasn't changed so much since the days of Henry James; the same palazzos, same mix of foreigners as in Daisy Miller and Portrait of a Lady. 100 years from now, the parties will probably be just as elegant, just as candle lit, and just as exclusive as they are today. It is, after all, the eternal city.

[All photos and event reportage via Vogue.it]