At the end of Via dei Condotti lies the Piazza di Spagna, at the base of the Spanish Steps. Designed by Francesco de Sanctis in the 18th century—construction began in 1723—the steps are an urban monument of Roman Baroque style and one of the most recognizable sites in southern Europe. Basking in the sun here while enjoying a splendid scoop of gelato is like living a scene from Roman Holiday. In 1884, Sotirios Boulgaris, then a budding jeweller, opened his first shop at Via Sistina 85 on the fashionable promenade leading to Piazza Trinità dei Monti at the top of the Spanish Steps. In 1894, Boulgaris opened a second store located at Via dei Condotti 28 and, in 1905, a third and larger one on the same street. The name on those stores was, and today remains, the renowned house of Bulgari.
Now, as the storied jeweller celebrates the 130th year since the opening of its first store in Rome, it commissioned celebrated American architect Peter Marino to refurbish its flagship store at Via dei Condotti 10. The space recently reopened, with the likes of Adrien Brody, Carla Bruni, and Shu Qi in attendance to mark the occasion. Bulgari has also released a collection of special items to celebrate its anniversary, including limited-editions of its Roma sunglasses and famous Serpenti watch. In a nod to its heritage and deep ties to the city of Rome, the company will also finance the renovation of the Spanish Steps, which connected its first three stores for nearly four decades. Bulgari CEO Jean-Christophe Babin thus commented, “I am extremely proud of this agreement with the City of Rome, which will allow us to ‘adopt’ the Spanish Steps. They are at the heart of our history.”