All Roads Lead to Rome

All roads lead to Rome

Actually… I stole this quote from Soledad Twombly the founder and owner of L’Archivio Di Monserrato, in Rome. That is what she said when we asked how she selected Rome to locate her amazing atelier.

But in fairness, she borrowed it from Cesar?, or Cicero?, or Quinn the Eskimo??? I’m not really sure who.

Sadly, having taken 5 years of Latin in school, and I still cannot answer the question.

Anyway, whoever it was…. Soledad is spot on.

I have only been to Rome a handful of times, but enough to convince me any trip to Italy must include a visit. Rome is truly a special and unique place. To me, the city seems to exude the most positive of energies. The full throttle thrust of lives being well lived, couples with the most buoyantly passionate of atmospheres. People smile broadly as they walk proudly down the street, and why wouldn’t they? Hell yeah! They live in Rome, how could you beat it? 

Ancient aqueducts soar overhead, as motorcycle riders, sporting designer suits, jockey amongst cars and buses, racing past modern glass high rises as well as ancient colosseums. Bustling cafes, grandiose hotel entrances with cobblestone courtyards, and ornate bridges connecting the city over picturesque waterways make up the varying backdrop of this magnificently diverse city.  

Soledad peaking through her colorful Boutique
photo by Rafik Greiss

So it is not at all surprising that Soledad Twombly, (wife to Alessandro and daughter in-law to Cy Twombly both renowned artists) chose to locate her atelier on via di Monserrato the chicest part of Rome? As she reflects on Rome, “the light and the art exudes beauty and is the perfect frame for my aesthetics as a fashion designer.”  Soledad who has lived all over the world decided, nothing compares with this city.

A beautiful painting of a poppy by Alessandro

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to categorize L’Archivio Di Monserrato. I know, because I have just spent the last 10 minutes analyzing, and trying to do just that. It’s more than an art gallery, more than a home design store, and much more than a womenswear boutique. OK, I have it. It’s a “Jewel” set in the most magnificent location on the planet.   

Exquisite from the ground up!

Tell me where else you might find silk bedspreads repurposed from an antique kimono, or a Tibetan wool rug especially selected for its deep rich red hues that mimic those of the adjacent art work. Or dresses designed by Soledad from an 18thcentury Turkish caftan. 

Colorful flowers by artist Alessandro Twombly

“Art comes first” is Soledad’s mantra. In all her work, art leads the way and design follows. She notes, many designers generally prioritize upholstery schemes over art. She takes the opposite approach. She prefers to create a neutral foundation which will not compete with the art she has carefully curated (much of it by Alessandro). Soledad combats the potential coldness of a gallery by incorporating the warmth of fabrics and museum like collectibles into the splendor of her store. 

“Textiles are transformative” she states. Her staggering textile collection is one started by her grandmother and mother-in-law in the 20’s, which she is constantly adding to. “Textiles tell the story of cultures and the root of humanity” Soledad remarks. She has an eye and determination to bring forth beautiful patterns and reimagines history in such a refined and contemporary way, you want these pieces in your wardrobe and home….so you can live with these beautiful possessions, which yes, are obsessions.

On any given day, a visit to L’Archivio might afford you the added treat of experiencing the work of other visiting Italian artists whom Soledad admires. This novelty and freshness gives credit to these creative Italian minds. L’Archivio has hosted founder of Wait & See and fashion consultant Umberta Zambeletti, glass and ceramic designer Brook Sigal, and La Drogheria who create hand tailored clothing.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a personal visit to L’Archivio, where you can touch and feel and see Soledad’s designs firsthand, is I am sure worth more than a lifetime of my blundering blogging. So, by all means, and whatever means possible, hit the road and visit L’Archivio Di Monserrato in Rome.

GPS should certainly be able to get you there. Since, all roads lead to Rome.

Please go to Soledad’s website for address and more information:

Cover photograph by Rafik Greiss