W.APOLLONI GALLERY, THE BEST OF ROME.
Apolloni has been in business for three generations and is one of Rome’s oldest and most illustrious antiques shops, selling many masterpieces to museums in Italy and abroad. It started in a small shop at 141 Via Frattina in 1926 before moving into larger premises on Via del Babuino, which would eventually occupy three floors and include four windows whose everchanging display was a constant attraction for Rome’s passers-by.
After almost half a century the gallery has moved to nearby Via Margutta 53b, in the heart of Rome’s artists street, in the main ground rooms of the famous Palazzo Patrizi. The property was built especially to house studios for artists and was where Picasso worked when in Rome in 1917, it was also where the British Academy was hosted until 1937. The spacious rooms with their high ceilings and tall windows are ideal for art display while the secret garden at the back, crammed with classical fragments and surrounded by luxuriant ivy make this place, we can definitely say, the most beautiful gallery in Rome.
WLADIMIRO, FABRIZIO E MARCO FABIO.
The founder was Wladimiro, formerly a silent movie director. Wladimiro’s son Fabrizio (1928-2006) took over at the death of his father in 1948 and soon developed a fame and status equal to Italy’s topmost dealers, known and respected in England, France and the United States. He was a great friend and trusted advisor to the scholars and collectors Mario Praz and Luigi Magnani. In the Magnani Foundation near Parma, now a Museum, the Muse Terspsichore by Antonio Canova, the Hamlet with the ghost of his father by Henry Fuseli and the large malachite tazza given by Alexander I of Russia to Napoleon are among the masterpieces that Fabrizio Apolloni sold to the passionate collector.
The ownership then passed on to Fabrizio’s only son, Marco Fabio, who after having been a porter in Christie’s for a Summer, initially studied Art History at the prestigious Courtauld Institute of London. Upon graduating he was headhunted by Indro Montanelli, one of Italy greatest journalists and the founder and director of newspaper il Giornale, who took him on in 1984 as an art critic. After a successful period there, he became the resident art critic of Epoca magazine for three years, then Panorama, which was followed by a brief spell with La Voce. The latter was Montanelli’s shortlived newspaper founded against Berlusconi, for which Marco Fabio assumed the pen name of Rosa Salvator, a witty and malignant art socialite. In 1994 he began working with Il Messaggero, Rome’s most important newspaper, before his gifts as a raconteur led him to work as author and presenter on a series of art documentaries for Italian TV channel RaiSat Art between 1999 and 2003. His talent for writing, not only on art, was further recognised in 2004 when his first and only novel Il mistero della locanda Serny was listed as a finalist for the Strega Prize, the most famous literary award in Italy, after having earned countless praising reviews. Alongside his other achievements Marco Fabio has also acted as buyer and expert for his father since the age of 16, researching and writing for the gallery’s exhibition catalogues of old master drawings and works of art.