Valentino’s creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli has done such a good job of perpetuating the dream of Roman life in his ready-to-wear and haute couture collections that it’s sometimes easy to forget that the designer doesn’t actually live in the city. A stone’s throw from the Fascist architecture of Sabaudia, a favorite topic of another Pier Paolo (Pasolini), Nettuno is anything but rational—centered on its medieval borgo, or central square, the lively tourist spot boasts a bustling recreational port and popular holiday accommodations stretching right down onto the sand. It is there, yards away from a hive of vacation sublets with turquoise green awnings and celadon fiberglass facades that Piccioli’s own seaside abode surveys the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Piccioli’s humble outlook belies the lived-in beauty of his spaces, where subtle nods to Italian design history meet classic fittings and a healthy clutter of personal ephemera. An ornate kaleidoscope of beige-and-blue maiolica tiles grounds the living room floor firmly in the decorative traditions of the region, while corniced wooden walls are left mostly bare aside from framed illustrations by Piccioli’s daughter Stella and the American fashion illustrator Richard Haines. Haines’s raw depictions of Valentino haute couture outfits capture the designer’s vivid color combinations with aplomb—yet it’s the amateur works that truly have his eye.