Last weekend I saw Luca Guadagnino's stunningly decadent film I Am Love, starring Tilda Swinton. Set within a wealthy Milanese textile dynasty, the film features scene after scene of extravagant bourgeois elegance - perfect houses, perfect clothes and ostensibly perfect lives. Most impressive of all however, were the sumptuous interiors of the Recchi family's Milan palazzo headquarters.
Italy's ornate palazzi were originally used as the historic residences of generations of nobility. Built in a wide variety of architectural styles, they are dotted throughout the country from Venice and Bologna to Sicily. Evolving during the Renaissance, this new type of urban building was usually several stories high with rooms grouped around a courtyard. Many today are luxury hotel conversions such a the Palazzo Gherardesca in Florence.
The American artist and designer Julian Schnabel's Palazzo Chupi in Greenwich Village attempts to create a fusion of vintage palazzo ambience and contemporary New York luxury. Architectural purists may view Schnabel's project as sacrilege but his interiors (pictured below), give the building a modern edge neccessary to address the authenticity it lacks.
Take a look here at the renovation project of the Palazzo Pizzo in Calabria, southern Italy.