Steeped In Style And History, Aldo Gucci’s Roman Villa Comes To Light

A nearly 13,000-square-foot villa in North Rome bears a decidedly modernist imprimatur: the Gucci family name.

Built by Aldo Gucci―son of Gucci dynasty founder, Guccio Gucci―the 1951 home is priced at €15 million ($15.885 million) and being sold by two of Aldo Gucci’s grandsons, the owners.

The seven-bedroom property has six carved marble fireplaces, a sweeping entrance staircase, L-shaped pool and elevator accessing all four stories. Sited on nearly 2.5 acres, the grounds include a second 9,688-square-foot villa with five bedrooms built in the early 1960s for the eldest of Aldo Gucci’s three sons, Giorgio Gucci.

The villa’s mansard and rooftop terrace afford an expansive view of the Eternal City―Vatican City, Piazza del Popolo and its churches and Rome’s titanic neoclassical hood ornament: Altare della Patria (“Altar of the Fatherland”), the Victor Emmanuel II National Monument.

The estate that presides over that marbled landscape presents a fascinating snapshot of the life of clan patriarch Aldo Gucci who died at age 84 in 1990―the eldest and last surviving son of Florentine saddle and boot merchant Guccio Gucci. Guccio founded the company in 1904 and, in 1921, opened the House of Gucci in Florence.

Aldo Gucci is credited with fortifying and expanding Gucci’s luxury empire during his more than three decades as the company’s chairman, from 1953 to 1986. Under his exacting leadership, Gucci shops became starry destinations frequented by the Princess of Monaco and the Duke of Windsor along with American royalty: Bette Davis, Jacqueline Kennedy and Katharine Hepburn, among many others.

The cultured aesthetic behind that star-power branding is still evident in his villa, 33 years after his death.

“Everything’s original,” says listing agent Chiara Gennarelli of Florence-based Building Heritage. “The family hasn’t changed anything, even during renovations.”

That includes antique furnishings, crystal chandeliers and sconces, tapestries, rugs, a burnished rosewood grand piano sourced from Gaveau in Paris, 17th-century paintings, large urns and richly hued wallpaper―all reflecting the elegant sensibilities of the Gucci family.

Most of the furnishings are available for purchase in negotiation with the sales price.

Located in Camilluccia, a quiet residential pocket within Rome’s elegant Della Vittoria quarter, the villa is a blend of Tuscan and English styles, the latter reflecting the tastes of Aldo Gucci’s wife, the English-born Olwen Price.

Entering from the north through the manor gate, a cobblestone road curves around the villa and a stone pathway leads straight ahead to the home’s marble staircase flanked with sentry lions.

Largely oriented to the south, the villa is drenched in light even amid the towering cypress and pine that line paths and roads, which lend the expansive grounds a semi-wooded feel.

Two English-inspired bay windows are stacked on the front right of the villa. At the rear, they’re situated side by side on the first floor. The home’s backside presents a more stately entrance with Tuscan columns topped by a pediment flanking the bay windows. There, another marble staircase leads to substantial wood-and-glass double doors fitted with brass handles in the shape of cherubs with outstretched wings.

The home is painted a light peach accented with white trim.

The villa’s entry sets a sophisticated tone with its marble fireplace handsomely bedecked by a casing of carved wood. The real show, however, is the dramatic sweep of a nautilus-shaped staircase, its walnut banister outlining the graceful shape, which is smartly contrasted by thin white molding at its base.

The entry also includes a large art nook and arched doorways, also accented with white molding.

The first floor harbors reception rooms, a salon, dining room, study and guest bathroom. Several of the bay windows have coffered ceilings. The living and dining rooms are anchored with carved marble fireplaces. All rooms feature generous crown molding.

“The house is huge, but there’s a feeling that everything is close to you―reachable,” Gennarelli says. “You really feel at home.”

Ascending the stairs, the second floor’s oval ceiling is delineated by 3-foot wide molding painted white. Contrasted by light tan walls, the set piece acts as a capstone for the remarkable curved staircase.

Striking arched entries off the top of the staircase lead to five ensuite bedrooms. The primary bedroom suite has a bay window, fireplace, balcony, walk-in closet and a pink marble bathroom―about 375 square feet of space. Some bathrooms include Carrara marble and pedestal sinks.

The lift or the stairs can be used to reach the villa’s top floor, the mansarda, which “seems like a completely other apartment because it’s much more modern,” Gennarelli says. “It’s like a penthouse.” Set with wood floors, the large living room is warmed by a circular glass fireplace. The attic space includes a large rectangular skylight and an ensuite bedroom.

Ascending the final set of stairs, the rooftop terrace opens to that commanding view of Rome.

The kitchen is located on the garden level and can be accessed through the villa’s garage. There’s additional covered parking on the grounds. The garden level also has a laundry, staff bedroom and an additional room, bathroom and game room set with a fireplace.

Floors in the home are either white marble or parquet done in herringbone and checkerboard patterns. Doors are ornamented with inset molding. The overhung roofs of both villas are faced with terra-cotta tiles in a French style for the main villa and done in a barrel or Spanish style for the second villa.

The L-shaped pool, surrounded by lemon and orange trees, is banked with white marble along its edge. It includes a pool house with exterior walls inset with Roman busts and matching Solomonic columns.

An Italian garden with lampposts lining a cobblestone road stretches behind the villa. At dusk, the sylvan setting resembles a scene from a Bernardo Bertolucci film.

A 1998 renovation included revamped electric and plumbing and upgrades to the roofs and pool as well as repairs and freshening of all finishings.

According to Gennarelli, Aldo Gucci’s grandsons, the sellers, vacated the second villa about 10 years ago. With its separate garage and gated entrance, the secondary three-story home with four fireplaces and rear terraces can be sectioned into apartments and rented, used for offices or kept as a guesthouse. Its grounds include two outbuildings and a 750-square-foot greenhouse.

“The second villa is in good shape but, generally, does need some work,” Gennarelli adds.

About 32,291 square feet of parkland surrounds the second villa, and the main villa is bordered by 75,347 square feet of greenery.

Absent permanent occupants during the past decade, the main villa and grounds have been maintained meticulously by a live-in housekeeper and gardener. The Gucci family has used the property to gather during holidays and other events.

The villa’s Camilluccia neighborhood is quite walkable, Gennarelli says, with nearby restaurants, bars, shopping and schools. It’s about a 15-minute drive from the city’s historical center and a 4-mile drive from the Grande Raccordo Anulare (GRA), the ring road encircling Rome.

The neighborhood has tight security given its numerous embassies, including the Netherlands embassy, which is next door. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is down the street, about a five-minute drive,” Gennarelli adds.

Aldo Gucci had other homes, reportedly located in Beverly Hills, California; New York City; Palm Beach, Florida; Florence, Italy; London and Paris. But it was in 1938 along Rome’s Via dei Condotti where the “Michelangelo of Merchandising,” as he was termed, opened the family’s first shop outside of Florence. In 1952, the favored son opened a store in New York City, the first outside of Italy. United States President John F. Kennedy greeted him as the “first Italian ambassador of fashion.”

Aldo Gucci is credited for creating the brand’s iconic interlocking “G” logo.

The Gucci family ended its association with the brand in 1993, with its remaining interest sold to Investcorp. The Paris-based luxury group Kering (Yves Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen, among others), now owns the fashion house.

Valued at $22.6 billion, Gucci ranks 31 among the world’s most valuable brands.

Chiara Gennarelli of Building Heritage is the listing agent, marking the first property in Rome under the Forbes Global Property brand.

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