Italy's Moguls Renovate Ruins | Do You Bike? | Kelly Wearstler

Culture & Travel

Moguls Preserve Ruins

Italy’s Luxury Bailout Newsweek

Italy has more UNESCO World Heritage sites than any other country in the world, yet its culture budget is about one-half what it was three years ago. Cut from $603 million to $340 million, the Italian government barely covers maintenance or preservation of its heritage and source of tourism income.

More than 45 million visitors kiss Italian soil every year, making tourism the country’s main industry, accounting for 8.6 percent of its gross domestic product.

The roof of Nero’s Golden Palace in Rome caved in last year, crushing a gallery and destroying a gilded ceiling. At the Colosseum, three large chunks of mortar fell to the ground just hours before the venerable theater opened to the public. And the ancient city that volcanoes failed to finish off might be done in by a lack of money: in November the 2,000-year-old House of Gladiators in Pompeii collapsed into a heap of rubble.

Now the countries luxury moguls are stepping in. Diego Della Valle, head of the luxury-leather-goods company Tod’s, and his friend, Ferrari president Luca Cordero di Montezemolo launched Italia Futura, part think tank and urgent facilitator to raise funds for repairing the country.

In this very intersting article, we read the ins and outs of sponsorships in Italy, a topic we’re covered previously at AOC.

Of course, this being Italy, everything is done in the best possible taste. There will be no obvious tacky plaques or vulgar sponsorships. The Colosseum restoration comes with a strict regulation: Tod’s can’t plaster it with corporate logos. “I’m sure everyone thinks I’ve got the key to the Colosseum now,” says Della Valle. “But this is something we are doing without anything in return. If I want to visit, I have to buy a ticket just like everyone else.” Montezemolo, for his part, is quick to distinguish between sponsoring a restoration and turning sites into theme parks. “I don’t want Pompeii to become a Disney World,” he says. “But I also don’t want it to disappear entirely.” Striking that balance will be the masterstroke: saving the country without selling its soul.

Bulgari to Burgers | Italy Faces A Commercial Balancing Act

Easy Rider

Kate Spade and Shutters Beach Bike

Santa Monica Hotel Shutters (website) has teamed up with Kate Spade to give guests the chance to explore the Santa Monica beach on an Italian-style shiny two-wheeler from Adeline Adeline, also sold in Kate Spade stores nationwide.

The bikes will be parked outside of Shutters and guests will able to rent one for $10 an hour or for $25 a day. Kate Spade New York is in on the promotion, creating a customized neighborhood bike map, with shopping. No word on a bike lock for bike riders who simply must check out the summer sales in Santa Monica. via NotCot

Biking is on our brains this morning, with a focus on BEG bicycles from Britain. We used these delicious BEG blog visuals to talk to readers again about the heart and soul benefits of bike riding.

Question: do you ride a bike to work in your city anywhere in the world?  Is biking a common mode of transportation in your town or city? Anne of Carversville wants to talk to you and share your story about life on a bike. Just Contact Anne and we’ll be in touch.

Joyful Bike-Riding Benefits for Heart, Soul & Spirit


Decor Whiz Plus

Kelly Wearstler | 20 Odd Questions

Kelly Wearstler is adding clothing, accessories and jewelry to her design collections. Self-disciline is high on the list for this married, living in Los Angeles mom with two kids.

The 44-year-old decorator is renowned for her bold interiors, and her résumé includes the Viceroy hotel chain and boutique projects like Maison 140 and the Avalon hotel in Beverly Hills. Then there are her product lines: home furnishings, sold at Bergdorf Goodman; sheets for Sferra; rugs for the Rug Company and wall treatments for Schumacher. Not to mention her three books on décor: “Modern Glamour,” “Domicilium Decoratus” and “Hue.”

WSJ asks Kelly Wearstler 20 questions, including her style icon. Answer: Peggy Guggenheim.