Giorgio Cazzaniga
15/06/2013 - 15/07/2013

The Acqua Paola Fountain - Giorgio Cazzaniga for Nespresso Magazine

Everyone knows the Trevi Fountain. But few know that in fact Rome has nearly two thousand fountains, and one of the grandest of these is on the Gianicolo, eighth of Rome’s ‘seven hills.’ In 1611, Pope Paul V had it built to guarantee the Vatican below with a good supply of aqueduct water. The belvedere next to Acqua Paola (literally, ‘Paul’s Water’) enjoys a fabulously extensive view of Rome; big enough to embrace with a glance and not too big to be overwhelming. However, the famous jeweller Giorgio Cazzaniga sees much more in this place than just a spectacular example of the Baroque. Giorgio’s great grandfather was the administrator of the enormous villa sitting next to the fountain, the property of Abamelek, a Russian prince and a man of great culture and wealth. A friend of Leo Tolstoy, he found himself at the centre of a community that was as brilliant and elegant as it was noisy, and set about transforming this part of what was then the outskirts of Rome into a sort of Beverly Hills of the Belle Époque. A small society was formed of a dozen families of decadent refinement, whose exotic manners annoyed the traditional aristocracy, loyal to the values of the Church that had underpinned their power since the High Middle Ages. But at the inclusion of Rome in the new United Italy in 1870, the hereditary nobility ceded its place to a well-heeled élite that became the backbone of the city, or rather its spinal cord, given the ‘dolce vita’ that many of them led. Giorgio Cazzaniga’s grandfather, the first jeweller in the family, created his distinctive style from memories of a childhood studded with Baroque and Byzantine shapes; two visual elements that fascinated these salon intellectuals.

(Nespresso Magazine #20 Roma, p. 57)

[English translation by Cazzaniga]