Thanks to Instagram during the last few years my life is enriched with extraordinary and colorful relationships. One of them (and lucky me) is Govind Friedland.
Son of Robert Friedland , Chairman and founder of Ivanhoe Capital Corporation , their Italian subsidiary completed the acquisition of the Villa Tre Ville from Franco Russo and recently turned into luxury boutique hotel. The sublime complex set around 12 distinctive suites and 5 mesmerizing villas, has been a cultural landmark in the Positano area of southwestern Italy for several generations.
” Hi Joelle I love your accessory clothing line it would be perfect for Positano! Are you new York based? When will you be around?” We exchange via what’s up a flow of references of Middle eastern furniture, Italian ceramics, baskets, sandals and everything we are passionate about.
We exchange a number of messages via WhatsApp talking about Middle Eastern furniture, Italian ceramics, baskets, sandals, and everything we are passionate about.
Villa Tre Ville is steeped in the rich cultural history of the Positano region, and was home to celebrated opera director and moviemaker, Maestro Franco Zeffirelli for 35 years. Like Leonard Bernstein, Laurence Olivier, Sergei Diaghilev, Maria Callas, Elizabeth Taylor, and Luciano Pavarotti, who according to Zeffirelli, he had the opportunity to learn from by just being around, I packed my way to meet Govind in person – eager to experience that spectacular setting nestled on the landscaped promontory overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea.
One of the villa’s servant since 1950 opens the entrance gate. We stop at a rotating platform placed on a small could de sac designed for our car go back to the “Via dei Limoni” (recently coined by National Geographic as one of the 50 most beautiful roads in the world).
A sublime view of the Mediterranean Sea leads to the villa with walls washed in pink and surrounded by olive trees. An inviting blue and white majolica room hand-painted by locals is used as a reception desk for hotels guests. I am told by the same servant that Govind will be with us shortly and invited to go down the hundred stairs leading to the terrace garden filled with pine trees perched on the rocky coastline.
I am thrilled with Govind’s delay, since it gives me time to explore. As I enter the legendary living-room portraying Zeffirelli leaning on the fireplace by Slim Aaron in 1980, I notice that nothing changed since then. The iconic collection of fine ceramics from nearby Vietri sul Mare and Renzo Mongiardino placed on wall niches are still there. Zeffirelli’s decor was virtually untouched and seemed like it had stopped in time. We are offered two glasses of sweetened juice of lemons picked from the villa’s orchard.
A blonde young man wearing shorts, iconic 1930 round glasses, shorts and a T, with a yellow scarf wrapped around his neck comes towards us speaking with a gardener nearby. He is speaking Italian with a pronounced English accent.
It’s him, Govind my Instagram pal and the owner of one of the most exclusive pieces of land in the world.
I told him that the pergola must be tended to receive the growing flowers pointing at the sea.
His response, oblivious to my comment, “Sorry to keep you waiting Joelle”.
While taking a picture with his phone of the blend of wisteria with jasmine, and bougainvillea plants from that angle, he continues, “What do you think? Shall I post it?”
Govind then invites me to sit on a sofa with a magnificent view of Positano. The familiar hand-woven ikat and Suzani pillows from India and Turkestan blending with the Italian Dolce Vita postcard background make me feel at home.
The chef invites us to taste the Tramezzini which is prepared with fish caught from nearby waters in the early morning, some locally produced cheese and vegetables from the garden. Apparently appetizers for tonight’s wedding dinner party menu, the villa’s chef confides that this is how Mastro Zeffirelli received his friends with the kitchen.
And what a kitchen my friends! One of the most beautiful I have ever seen in my whole life. The picture in the gallery speaks for itself.
Govind then takes us to a greenhouse filled with colorful Cattleyas in bloom. It’s the place where Violetta Valéry personified by Maria Callas shed her tears with dismay in the filmmaker’s masterpiece La Traviata. And then of course, there are the Tosca Callas, Mastro Zeffirelli, Diarghilev, Downs Massine and Nuriev suites. They are spectacular and worth being featured on any movie set.
If you decide to stay for $1,000 USD to $5,000 USD for the night, you will sleep around Louis XVI style furniture, marvelous lamps by Orsina Sforza, collages of seashells and small antique, appliqués and lights by Van Der Straeten and Orsina Sforza, seating from the 1970s by Pantonova. And on top of this, you will be blessed by breathtaking sea views imparting a sense of peace and aesthetic harmony.
Villa Tre Ville, Positano
Office: +39 089 812 2401
mobile: +39 320 719 7850