When Countess Marina Cicogna calls you to Rome, all her pals from around the world go. The reason? Three days of museums, lunches and dinners to celebrate her 80th birthday.
When I got to Rome, it was a picture-perfect day. I always love the drive in from the airport -- all the ruins and monuments are awe-inspiring. Rome is one of my favorite cities. I walk all over -- making a wish at the Fontana di Trevi, the Pantheon, all the churches. I enjoy exploring and find new things every time. Our first dinner Wednesday night was at a fish restaurant, Assunta Madre. Ten courses of the most incredible fish I have ever eaten served as carpaccio, a risotto, pasta and more. Every morning I walk around the Borghese Gardens. It's great exercise and helps me get rid of my jet lag, plus the city views from there are just incredible.
Next, the big event on Thursday night: a black-tie ball up on the Via Appia, where I had never been before. The Via Appia is how all the chariots came into Rome, and now it has some of the city's most impressive villas. I wore the most beautiful lavender Oscar de la Renta gown (Oscar has known me since I was born, and his clothes always make me feel so special) and a gorgeous pair of Kimberly McDonald earrings, so I was ready to have some fun. My date, Giorgio Guidotti, and great friend Wendy Stark and Amanda Eliasch all piled into a car and off we went. The night was perfect, the setting superb. Ladies pulled out all the stops! The dinner was outside under the stars, and Andrea Griminelli played his gold flute before dessert. Then came the cake and Valentino sang "Happy Birthday." Everyone danced till the wee hours -- the Fendis, Herreras, Christian Louboutin, Mario D'Urso, Calvin Klein, Jacques Grange and many, many more.
A sleepy bunch arrived the next morning to the Scuderie del Quirinale to see the Frida Kahlo exhibit. Her self-portraits are incredible; what a life story she had. Lunch was at the Palazzo Ruspoli, a stunning house just full of masterpieces.
I'm pooped and packing to come home. The week was just enchanting, as is Marina, one of the world's most beautiful women inside and out.
Arrivederci, Roma....Can't wait to come back!