There was something intrinsically Roman about the place we briefly called home in Rome. We were staying in the Relais Leone, not so much a hotel as a converted apartment, whose reception was open only a few hours a day, and which otherwise bore all the appearance of a series of private apartments. This, together with an entrance through a very grand (and extremely heavy) great gilded door and up three flights of marble stairs, made the whole adventure feel all very colloquial, as though we were residents of that great Italian city. When in Rome, do as the Romans do, or so the great adage goes, and in our little corner apartment, we felt Roman to the core.
While we immediately fell in love with a bedroom decorated in a simple yet instantaneously lavish baroque design, together with the kind of free-standing bath which makes frequent languishing appearances in my dreams, the highlight of the room was its views. Not the most spectacular – here we did not exactly have Diocletian’s palace as in Split – but whose grace was founded in the simple expanse of the terracotta building ahead, elegant in its embellishment of pale blue shutters. And if the building itself were not enticing enough, beneath it, the bustling Piazza di San Lorenzo in Lucina spread out before us, two cafes spilling onto its cobbled pavement, and a little press-pergola crowning its centre.
One year ago, at about this time, I completed a collection of small gouache views onto the various bedrooms, or honeymoon suites, we had enjoyed after our marriage. A year later, it felt only appropriate that I should capture this Roman bedroom in gouache on paper, with the various dimensions of the room, its view, and of course that all important free standing bath included. It’s a scene which for me sums up both our experience and the elegance of this Spagna region of the city – lined with boutiques and posing Romans sipping Aperol Spritz in the shade, it felt iconically Roman, and us very comfortable guests within it.
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