Bulgari (or BVLGARI) is synonymous with luxury jewellery and accessories, the world over people covert their unique designs and colourful creations, but not everyone knows the extraordinary personal story of the man who started it all, Sotirio Bulgari.
Sotirio Bulgari was born in 1857 in the Epirus Mountains, through which flows the Acheron (source of the legendary River Styx) and upon which stands the Temple of Zeus at Dodona. In this region the silversmith’s art has been passed down from father to son since the Byzantine era, and it was from the power of this tradition, the technical skills that had evolved over centuries and from the vast classical imaginarium rooted in these very places that the young Sotirio Bulgari cultivated a vision that has proven to transcend the boundaries of time and space.
In 1879 Sotirio emigrated to Italy and after a few months spent in Naples he finally moved to Rome. At the very beginning he sold his objects in front of the French Academy on the Pincio. Then a Greek merchant offered to let him display his objects in a corner of the window of his shop, placed at the beginning of via Sistina. Sotirio was very successful; thanks to the original style of the ornaments he was selling. In 1884 Sotirio was able to open his first store in the same street.
In 1905 he moved the store to via dei Condotti 10. It was called “Old Curiosity Shop” from the title of a Charles Dickens novel. This name was chosen in order to attract British and American tourists. In these years Sotirio started to sell an increased selection of jewels and accessories for personal embellishment. As business in Rome during the summer months was very quiet, Sotirio decided to capitalize on trade at summer resorts. He settled for St. Moritz, where he was very successful. Since Bulgari venturing in to St. Moritz all those years ago there has been a Bulgari store there ever since with the store located today on Via Serlas opposite the opulent Badrutt’s Palace Hotel.
While in St. Moritz sampling the skiing and fine cuisine we had the opportunity to visit this magical store thanks to Ski Cool who counts Bulgari St Moritz as a Corporate Partner. With a glass of Ruinart in hand we had a private tour of the store from Claudio Quattrini, the Store Manager. Dripping in jewels the store is like an Aladdin’s cave of some of Bulgari’s finest creations including items from the Serpenti collection and the Intarsio collection. Also available at the store are a selection of Bulgari handbags and sunglasses; all as fabulous in design as the jewellery that Bulgari is so famous for.
I was lucky enough to try on the Intarsio earrings in 18kt white gold with black onyx and pave diamonds which were truly breathtaking as well as a Serpenti diamond bracelet that had a hidden watch inside, I felt like a Magpie wanting to snatch up the beautiful pieces for myself! Today the Bulgari creations, renowned for the distinctive, bold and contemporary style, are highly appreciated by an international clientele fond of high quality and unique design, many of which flock to St. Moritz for winter snow or summer sun.
Bulgari St. Mortiz is open 10:00 – 19:00 every weekday or by private appointment. So if you ever find yourself in the beautiful resort of St. Mortiz be sure to pop by Bulgari, if not to buy, at least to lust after the treasures that lie within . . .
Bulgari St. Mortiz
Via Serlas 22
7500 St. Moritz