From the Eleuterian Archives, a Constantin Roesler Franz micromosaic necklace. Rome, circa 1850, with various famous locations in Italy
Grab an espresso and join us for a day of touring the Eternal City’s best permanent exhibitions, famous shops, and antique and vintage jewelry. You need to sleep and eat, and we offer a place for them too. Let’s start the journey…
Staying in central Rome can cost you a fortune and eat up your jewelery budget – there are some lovely hotels but I’d recommend staying at Roman Holiday Residenza, a super host for all Airbnb sites. And yes, it is named after the beloved classic and iconic film. The price is right and the location is perfect, between Piazza Navona and Campo Fiori. Refreshment is an elegant, ultra-modern, metropolitan-style luxury apartment in the heart of the historical ruins of Rome – bright, quiet and large, with light coming in from the window, completely renovated – with a safe where you can keep your treasures. Find them. There are a bunch of other amenities like a washer/dryer, but let’s go.
As soon as you walk out the door, stop at Roscioli Caffe for one of the many delicious-looking pastries and a cappuccino or Italian caffeine shake of your choice, and hail an Uber or taxi to your first stop. This is the only place you can’t walk to from the center of Rome on this jewelry tour.
The National Etruscan Museum in Rome’s Villa Giulia
The Villa Giulia National Etruscan Museum in the Borghese Park (Piazzale di Villa Giulia 9) houses a permanent collection of the legendary Castellani jewels, divided into different periods and exhibited alongside original pieces from ancient times. The Castellani family has been part of the cultural fabric of Rome since Pio Castellani opened his workshop in 1814. He had two sons, Alexandro and Augusto. They were part of the collection and reimagining of Etruscan details and techniques, as well as other elements and intricacies of archaeological jewelry. The artisan family found ways to recreate enameling, micromosaics, granulation and goldwork and played a leading role in the 19th century revivalist movement. To quote historian and author Geoffrey Munn: “A nineteenth-century fashionista visiting Italy would not consider her tour of Rome complete without visiting Castellani’s shop near the Spanish Steps to acquire one of the famous Italian archaeological jewels on offer.”
The Castellani pieces were smuggled out of the Villa Giulia in 2013, then rescued and returned to the museum..
Finally, the family opened their own business in London during this period. Augusto’s son Alfredo closed the workshop in 1927 and the antiquities were donated to the Villa Giulia museum. More Castellani works were put on permanent display with their ancient pieces in a new, well-lit installation installed in 1999 at the Villa Giulia. The collection is mesmerizing and not to be missed, even if it’s a tour you want to take next. .
the Bruschini Tanca in Antichità, the gold earrings made of micromosaic plates, depicting a butterfly at the top and a dove in the nest at the bottom. Roman production between the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century. 1790-1805 ca., in the style of Giacomo Raffaelli
Be sure to stay hydrated and bring a bottle of water with you as you continue your jewelry tour—the next stop you’ll need to make after Villa Giulia. Bruschini’s Tanca Antichità. This museum-quality antique shop specializes in 18th- and 19th-century jewelry and features other periods as well. Here you can find valuable and unique objects native to Italy, as well as travel souvenirs from foreign tourists who visited during the 19th century Grand Tour. The pieces included micro-mosaics of a famous site in Rome – a favorite of the store’s offerings. The store is owned by third-generation antique dealers Ciara and Francesco Bruschini Tanca. (Via dei Coronari, 8 and Via dell’Arco della Pace, 16) a stone’s throw from Piazza Navona.
the Bruschini Tanca in Antichità, a 14K gold heart-shaped pendant with over fifty rose-cut diamonds on the front of the pendant. Floral motifs are engraved on the back. Chain or band attachment in the form of a dove with four small diamonds and a central ruby. Turkish production for the European market, from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century.
the Bruschini Tanca in Antichità, fatherlong air of gold and coral earrings: the upper part is of coral, with engraved gold leaflets, below the cluster of leaves is a coral button and central pendant surrounded by branches and gold leaves. Made in southern Italy, Sciacca, Sicily, early 19th century. Around 1820-30.
In Italy, shops close between 3:00 PM and 5:00 PM, which is the perfect time to stroll over to the Roman version of Greenwich Village, Trastevere, for authentic Roman thin crust pizza and the best ice cream in town. . It’s a charming area to walk around and get back on track after a quick lunch and dessert. Dar Poeta’s pizza at Vicolo del Bologna 45, with its slow-rising crust and perfect ratio of cheese to fresh tomatoes, is often extremely crowded, but well worth the wait. Try any pizza depending on your toppings; Margherita pizza is always the best option if you don’t want to stuff yourself with too many ingredients and want to taste the freshness and tasty goodness of simple ingredients. Always ask for mozzarella di bufala as a fresh topping. During the spring and summer months, for a quick desert, you can take a short walk to Otaleg – gelato, where you will find delicious and hard to choose chocolate, vanilla, coffee or fruit based gelato.
It’s time to head over to Piazza de Spagna and the legendary Bulgari jewelry store. You can walk across the Tiber for about half an hour until you reach the Spanish Steps. Sit on the stairs with the other tourists, descend in the water and go to Via Condotti 10, where Bulgari has been located since the opening of the square in 1905.
What you see when you first enter the Bulgari store in Rome, renovated in 2014
If you haven’t been to Bulgari since 2014, you’re in for a real treat – that’s when the legendary store was renovated for its 130th anniversary. Renowned architect Peter Marino restored the travertine stone slabs, green African marble cornices and bronze letters above the front doors. Inside, there are designated spaces for bridal, high jewelry, the VIP room and the heritage museum. Marino replaced the side door that led to where celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Audrey Hepburn and others hid to avoid the press. Photographs of famous clients adorn the walls of each room. Perhaps the store’s most impressive feature is the top-floor museum dedicated to heirloom jewelry, much of which Bulgari bought back at auction from famous people the store once sold. Upon entering and exiting the store, the staff will make you feel like a celebrity or royalty, lending a touch of magic and glamorous history to Rome’s busiest shopping street.
Carla Bruni wears high jewelry, the Eden The Garden of Wonders necklace at the press launch when the collection was launched in June 2022.
The design of Eden’s charm necklace is inspired by a Bulgari necklace from the 1930s, featuring a double overlay structure that is perfectly offset by a thick diamond chain at the back.
It’s time to get some world-class antique and vintage jewelry at the internationally renowned Eleuteri store. The shop was opened in the 19th century by Carlo Eleuteri; Today, Eleuteri attracts Italian aristocracy, fashion designers and global collectors, and is known as Italy’s premier destination for vintage and antique jewelry. The store specializes in signature pieces from Bulgari, Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, David Webb and George Fouquet to name a few. It also boasts a selection of 18th-century pieces of coral from southern Italy, and rare antique and vintage jewelry representing various European periods. Eleuteri lends its jewelry to exhibitions in prestigious institutions in Europe and the United States. The historic flagship store is located at 69 Via Condotti, just a few steps from Bulgari, and is full of treasures you won’t want to miss.
Museum Quality Jewelery from the Eleuterian Archives: David Webb Long chunky carved jade and gold drop necklace, circa 1970s.
And… Eleuteri George Fouquet Art Deco bracelet with blue sapphires, jade, lapis and diamonds.
It’s time for an aperitif, so head to the Hotel De Russie at 9 Via Del Babuino and take a seat in front of the Stravinsky Bar. Surrounded by lush trees, botanical plants and tranquil fountains, it is located at the foot of the Hotel de Russie Secret Garden. While you sip your prosecco, you can contemplate the jewels you see. You can imagine yourself as one of the travelers of the 19th century Grand Tour – who does not leave Rome without a piece of jewelry, as a souvenir or recuerdo, a word written for jewelry in that period, which has become a keepsake or memento. So go ahead and sample an antique, vintage or modern Bulgari piece that will stay in your collection and become a lasting memory of the day you walked among Rome’s finest jewels.
Here are some photos of our stops along the way