Giberto Arrivabene Valenti Gonzaga
In my earliest memories Venice’s colors were different. The city was more obscure, dramatic, decayed and deeply romantic – simply beautiful.
The atmosphere was more dazzling perhaps, but less poetic.”
Giberto Arrivabene Valenti Gonzaga’s life is viscerally linked to Venice.
His childhood memories, the most beautiful, are those in the rooms of Palazzo Papadopoli, between frescoes of Tiepolo and family affection.
The only son with two sisters, Giberto lost his father at the age of 9 years.
“He was a naval officer and a war hero.“ he says.
“He received a silver medal, two bronze medals and three war merit crosses. But above all it was he who set up my education with some military discipline and with a great sense of honor and justice.”
Being the only male remaining in the family, Giberto considered it a privilege to be raised in a female universe.
“I absorbed a deep sense of aesthetics from my mother. Women have a sensibility in taste that men will never be able to match.”
A passion for everything beautiful soon developed, and there was a deep desire to bring beauty back to life.
Women are still his universe. Married to Bianca di Savoia Aosta, Giberto has four daughters and one son, who is the youngest. Yet it is Giberto who loves to deal with certain details at home: fabrics, perfumes etc.
“It’s part of my mother’s inheritance,” he says, “I consider it a wonderful gift.”
From an adolescence spent running away from one college to another, with school results that were not always brilliant, Giberto has the air of never having had a gripe.
“I was young and I enjoyed it. It was a beautiful time in my life.”
Up until his diploma and his gap year in America with a backpack in tow before facing the world of work. The fascination for glass and high quality craftsmanship have always been central to his interests.
Every voyage has been a source of new inspirations.
“When I travel I’m always attentive to details. Nobody, like the Russians for example, is able to mix rich materials such as silver, vermeil or precious stones with those of poor quality, such as wood or glass. The result is artistic objects of sublime beauty. Morocco and India also have been a constant source of new ideas.”
The creative element is always fun for Giberto – it’s a discovery. Despite the responsibilities that come with age and having a family, he still maintains a captivating sense of humor and a lightness that has the upper hand over his melancholic and nostalgic nature.
“Venice is perfect for me, it suits my character. It’s the ideal place to live and to create.”
(photo by Michael James O’Brien)