A luxury five-stare hotel in Rome, boasting a collection of over 1000 extraordinary artworks, is now welcoming visitors with guided tours.
The Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria, hailed as Rome’s most prestigious hotel and a favoured choice among celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio and George Clooney, is now, for the first time, opening its doors to guided tours as part of the ongoing 60th-anniversary celebrations.
Opened in 1963, the hotel is home to one of the world’s largest private art collection, an extensive gallery featuring thousands of pieces curated by the Terruzzi family, former proprietors of the five-star establishment.
“It is a pleasure to do a tour in this space because it is open to the public, so anybody can come in and admire the works of art that constitute this collection which is quite unique,” says art historian and guide, Alexandra Massina.
She adds: “We range from Beauvais tapestries like the ones here to paintings by Tiepolo, to followers of Caravaggio, to sculptures, to magnificent pieces of furniture because it is a collection that comprises about a thousand pieces of art throughout the hotel.”
Inside one of the world’s largest private art collection
In the reception hang four canvases by Giuseppe Zeis, one of the most illustrious Venetian landscape painters of the 18th century, whose paintings are housed in London’s National Gallery.
In the lobby, a commode that belonged to the King of Poland.
Next to the lifts, you’ll find the stage costumes of the famous Soviet-born ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev.
And a bronze by Bertel Thorvaldsen, the marble twin of which is in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg.
More than twenty 17th and 18th century tapestries, including works by Aubusson and Gobellins, are placed throughout the hotel. The collection includes this rare 1725 Beauvais tapestry, entitled “the Stories of the King of China.”
But perhaps the crowning glory of the collection is a triptych by Giambattista Tiepolo, one of the most important Italian painters of the 18th century, created in 1724 for Palazzo Sandi in Venice.
“Definitely the three Tiepolos are very significant, the first works by the young Tiepolo to be part of a private home” says Massina.
Sculptures, paintings, tapestries and French furnishings are scattered throughout the hotel – a collection worthy of a major museum.
Alessandro Cabella, the hotel manager, says often, hotel guests only realise once they’ve checked in what a treasure trove of art surrounds them.
“There is always a little pinch of astonishment because nobody can really imagine how many pieces that we have in the hotel,” he says.
The exclusive suites: Where art meets luxury
Some works are reserved for guests that stay in one of the hotel’s 25 suites.
The Penthouse Suite is furnished with four limited edition pieces from Andy Warhol’s ‘Dollar Signs’ series.
In the Napoleon Suite, the privileged can sit at a desk that once belonged to Napoleon II.
According to the hotel, these works can only be admired by visitors on rare occasions when the suites are free.
Room prices range from around $420 a night for a deluxe twin to $2,150 for a suite.
To mark its 60th anniversary, the hotel is also renovating its famous panoramic restaurant ‘La Pergola.’
Under the leadership of German chef Heinz Beck, it remains the first and only three-Michelin-starred restaurant in the Italian capital.
But the main focus is on the artworks, the paintings and tapestries in particular, whose state of preservation is constantly monitored by a team of experts in order to intervene with cleaning or restoration, if necessary.
Video editor • Theo Farrant