Bulgari Hotel Rome, a Jewel in the Heart of the Eternal City, Opens Its Doors | Savoir Flair

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Bulgari Hotel Rome, a Jewel in the Heart of the Eternal City, Opens Its Doors
article BULGARI HOTELS & RESORTS
by Haleh Nia 8-minute read June 13, 2023

The opening of Bulgari Hotel Roma marks a unique chapter in Bulgari's history, offering a lavish experience that celebrates the Roman art of living.

article BULGARI HOTELS & RESORTS

“You might think you’re sitting in a hotel,” Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO of Bulgari, tells me hours before the official launch of the long-anticipated Bulgari Hotel in Rome. “But you’re mistaken. You’re actually sitting in a monument,” he continues.


The grand unveiling of Bulgari Hotel Roma on June 9th, 2023, marked a momentous occasion for Bulgari and Babin as they proudly showcased their latest architectural marvel. Nestled in the heart of Rome, this esteemed addition to the Bulgari Hotels & Resorts collection embodies the brand’s profound bond with the city where its journey started almost 140 years ago. Occupying a coveted position at 10 Piazza Augusto Imperatore, the Bulgari Hotel Roma stands as a remarkable testament to the Maison’s heritage, blending tradition and modernity in a contemporary twist that captures the spirit of Rome in all its glory.


The grandeur of the Bulgari Hotel Roma is evident from the moment one sets foot inside the imposing building. Designed by architect Vittorio Ballio Morpurgo and constructed between 1936 and 1938, this splendid example of rationalist architecture served as the headquarters of the Italian Social Security Agency before being transformed into a sanctuary of luxury hospitality. Spread across seven floors and encompassing an impressive 14,000 square meters, this architectural gem is nestled in the Campo Marzio area, just steps away from Via del Corso, Piazza di Spagna, and the iconic Bulgari store on Via Condotti.


Babin expresses his excitement about the opening of the Bulgari Hotel Roma, describing it as a true milestone for the brand. “What I’m passionate about is Bulgari, and therefore, anything which can explain the brand better to trigger more passion and to influence more people to love the brand is important to us. Obviously, a hotel is the deepest immersive experience you can dream about. Because in a store, you have essentially, only one experience,” he continues.


This “immersive experience”, as he calls it, draws inspiration from two key elements: the celebration of ancient Rome and the figure of Emperor Augustus, whose greatness and legacy are immortalized in the piazza, transcending time. Facing the Mausoleum of Augustus and the Ara Pacis, the Bulgari Hotel Roma draws a captivating link between past and present. One of the hotel’s most striking features is the centerpiece of the lobby, an original Roman sculpture of seated Augustus, carved from Pentelic marble and sourced from the Torlonia Collection. This remarkable statue is the first of five to be displayed in rotation, with Bulgari proudly sponsoring their restoration.


The second element is the utmost respect for the hotel’s historic building, a prime example of rationalist architecture. References to the 1930s, a significant period in Roman history, are also incorporated into the design, particularly inspired by the collections of Gio Ponti, the artistic director for Ginori during that time.

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You're actually sitting in a monument.

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article BULGARI HOTELS & RESORTS

The meticulous restoration and interior design of Bulgari Hotel Roma showcase a multitude of architectural highlights, paying homage to the rich heritage of Italian craftsmanship and traditional techniques. “The [Italian] government has always been supportive of us because they consider us part of the Italian patrimony. As they often say, ‘Bulgari is the second Italian ambassador,’ and we take that role very seriously,” Babin tells me. Hand-crafted marble mosaic roundels, custom-made fabrics featuring iconic Bulgari motifs, original Murano glass and lighting fixtures, vintage 1930s Ginori trumpet vases, and walls adorned with blown Venetian crown glass are just a glimpse of the extraordinary elements that adorn various areas of the hotel.


“Italy is very famous for its skills when it comes to artisans. I think there’s no other country with a broader spectrum of expertise in anything which connects with beauty. And here, we’ve really tried to put to work the very best artisans of Italy and Rome to really express their ideas and their art with virtually no limit in terms of budget. Look at the mosaics in the bathrooms, for example. Each mosaic is different from the other one, meaning that they’ve been crafted one by one, cube by cube, which obviously takes a lot of time. And it has been crafted exactly the same way the Romans were doing 2,000 years ago,” Babin, a Frenchman, declares enthusiastically, with a palpable patriotism for Italy as if he were Italian-born himself.


Adorning the bathroom walls of select rooms are 60 exquisite mosaic roundels, meticulously crafted by Friul Mosaic, an artisan workshop located in San Martino al Tagliamento in the province of Pordenone. Friuli, renowned for its mosaic and terrazzo artists, has a long-standing tradition in this art form. The roundels feature reproductions of archived Bulgari jewelry designs and were created using the reverse method on paper, a technique invented by a craftsman from Friuli.


The terraces of the hotel boast flooring created with opus spicatum, a technique dating back to ancient Rome. This distinctive flooring pattern resembles fish scales and is composed of hand-made clay bricks. Venetian terrazzo flooring is showcased throughout various areas of the hotel, using a technique which combines marble fragments bound by cement, allowing for intricate patterns and captivating color effects.


The restoration works and decorative apparatus were expertly overseen by Studio Polis, led by architect Gennaro Farina, which also played a role in the urban planning aspects of the project. A notable emphasis was placed on green areas, with over 4,500 plants thoughtfully incorporated both indoors and outdoors. This ecological commitment transforms the hotel into an urban resort that prioritizes sustainability. The landscape design, entrusted to P’arcnouveau Studio, drew inspiration from Rome’s abundant greenery, the tradition of Roman terraces, and the vibrant hues found in Bulgari jewelry. The result is a harmonious blend of blooming flowers, fruit trees, and aromatic herbs such as rosemary, thyme, and sage, creating a sensorial experience for guests.

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It has been crafted exactly the same way the Romans were doing 2,000 years ago.

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