The modern Prince, Alessandrojacopo Boncompagni Ludovisi su Deluxe Pad di Allison Zurfluh

Boncompagni

Su Deluxe Pad, july 2016, “The modern Prince, how Alessandrojacopo Boncompagni Ludovisi cultivates wine on the road to Rome” di Allison Zurfluh, writer and chief editor.

“For a fashionable prince who rubs shoulders with Rome’s well-heeled and illustrious, Piazza di Spagna is one of the most opulent places to live downtown. With the Spanish Steps and the newly restored Barcaccia Fountain to the south, a view from a northern penthouse is a paradise of open space and palm trees not far from the famous Via dei Condotti shopping thoroughfare. This is where Prince Alessandrojacopo Boncompagni Ludovisi and his spouse, the Countess Maria Carolina dei Conti Zucchini Metelli, make their home. With rooms that speak to generations of royalty, underpinned by a sense of gentle refinement and sophistication, the space is a living museum.

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Prince Alessandrojacopo Boncompagni Ludovisi at his home in Piazza di Spagna (Credit: Allison Zurfluh)

Two Popes and various Cardinals belong to the family name, their stately portraits lining the walls of what feels like a small palace. A 16th century portrait of Pope Gregorio XIII, born Ugo Boncompagni, by Scipione Pulzone, hangs by the window opposite a later oil rendering of Pope Gregory XV, born Alessandro Ludovisi, by Guercino. Pope Gregorio  XIII is best known for commissioning the Gregorian calendar, which remains the internationally accepted civil calendar to this day. The family is not without its laurels. An original van Cleve depicts a woman holding a rosary, not far from a portrait of Johan, Count of Nassau-Siegen by van Dyck. The dining room walls read as a veritable family his-tory, written by masters whose work is most often locked behind high-security doors in other parts of  Europe. In the home of princes, however, they’re just another part of the décor.

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Alessandrojacopo and Carolina at their home in Piazza di Spagna (Credit: Allison Zurfluh)

[..] The prince is perhaps best known for the family vineyards bordering the Via Appia Antica, an ancient road that connects the capital with Naples. If the penthouse on Piazza di Spagna sits at the apex of Roman high society, Tenuta di Fiorano vineyards nestle gently among the waving grasses of a quiet Lazian countryside ten kilometres out of town. [..] The rustic cobblestone highway that leads from the Catacombs of San Callisto and Sebastiano is a remaining masterpiece of Ancient Rome, making the bustling Eternal City feel light years away.

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Tenuta di Fiorano on Via Appia Antica (Credit: Allison Zurfluh)

This is where the soft-spoken prince feels at home. The family Tenuta di Fiorano vineyard was founded in the 1940s by Prince Alberico Boncompagni Ludovisi (Alessandrojacopo’s cousin) when he planted about three hectares of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot for his red wines, and Malvasia di Candia and Sémillon for his whites. He quickly became a legend in winemaking, but unexplainably uprooted nearly all his vineyards in 1998 in a dramatic exit from the art. Between 1999 and 2004, Alessandrojacopo, seized by a passion for the land and winegrowing, began the meticulous work of replanting the organic vineyard under the tutelage of Alberico, but this time planting Grechetto and Viognier. He has been producing wine since 2002. Under the regal shadow of Castel Gandolfo to the south – the summer residence of the Pope – six hectares of grapes thrive on a 200-hectar property that boasts views as far as St. Peter’s Basilica to the north. “Every year I restructure the vineyard,” explains the prince, as we drive through golden fields dotted with red spring poppies, “while increasing the number of vines as we go in order to have a wider selection of grapes.” Quality over quantity is the way he likes to keep it. [..]

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