Marie Louise scio in Open Challenge

The maid in a check shirt knocks on the door. “Miss, are you there? It’s late.” Silence. She sighs and goes back into the sitting room, striding across the chequer-board carpet. She has already dusted the shelf full of records; only the baroque-style sideboards are left. The little dog jumps up from the sofa and races towards Marie Louise’s room, whining and scratching at the door. The sun is already high in the sky over Trastevere, and it floods the apartment with light. Marie Louise leaves her room – a hurried chignon bun, a silk kimono. “Good morning everyone,” she says, and with a ballerina’s gait she carries her lithe figure into the kitchen, where she puts an espresso coffee pot on. “What’s the temperature like?” she asks the maid. “It’s pleasant outside, I’ve just got back from the fish market”. Marie Louise slips on a pair of jeans and a ribbed sweater and goes out onto the terrace, where she sinks into an armchair. Starck’s gnome sits next to her, a sinister smile on his face. The fourth floor affords an aerial view of exquisite domes, from the Pantheon to St. Peter’s and Santa Maria dei Miracoli. Marie Louise muses that seeing that view, bathed in the yellow light of an autumnal midday, makes up for skipping meditation. She takes a deep breath and rolls herself a cigarette.
The DJ’s beats are still ringing in her ears. Images from the previous evening flash before her eyes. The jet-set scattered throughout the Italian-style gardens, the maze, the terrace overlooking the sea.
She was there to welcome each and every one of them to the Posta Vecchia, a broad smile lighting up her girlish, freckly face. Her father was the king of the party, revered by friends and guests, all happy to be back at the hotel. It is one of a kind: a seventeenth-century villa with Roman relics and renaissance furnishings.
She was in fancy dress, with a red wig and lingerie peeking out from under a black voile dress. A man wearing a mask walked over to her, ordering her a straight vodka. “Miss, it’s late, don’t you have to be at Il Pellicano soon?” the maid asks while cleaning the photograph of a statue portraying a shepherd eviscerating an animal. “You’re right. Time to crack on.” Marie Louise grabs the bag propped on the exercise bike and throws her Moleskine into it, along with a couple of hair bands and sunglasses. She slips out of the door, the little dog close behind. She likes driving. It’s when she lets her thoughts run free, and she plays the game she likes best after backgammon. It’s a kind of solipsistic dharmasastra, a Socratic debate with herself, or simply self-provocation. It goes like this: she observes one of her opinions and asks herself,
How can I see the same thing from another standpoint?
Just like the hotel she had seen two days before. All it took was one second to take in the setting and see all its potential, where others could only see a fog. Whether it’s a creaking wooden floor, the aroma of a dessert or the local identity, anything can bring a hidden story to the surface. The hotel manager also liked the game. So much so that he entrusted the artistic supervision to her. Marie Louise clicks on one of her playlists, which range from Ella Fitzgerald to Autechre and Devendra Banhart. When it comes down to it, challenge is the leitmotif of her life. It’s precisely what happened when she asked fashion photographer Juergen Teller (who had never shot a plate of food in his life) to do a recipe book.
He locked himself in the restaurant of Guida, the chef at Il Pellicano, for two weeks so he could work on the dishes without any styling or lights, just voyeuristic zoomed-in shots. Who ever thought of a pornographic recipe book before? And who wants to go on holiday to Il Pellicano, a villa nestled amidst the cliffs overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea set in the shade of towering cypress trees, and look at monuments of Italian neorealist films? Yes, Marie Louise is well aware that her guests go there to relax, but it’s important for her that they can also have the chance to enhance themselves. Only if they want to, of course, and without going over the top. Yet there could be no satisfaction greater than when a number of long-standing guests arrived at Il Pellicano and said, “Something has changed, but we’re not quite sure what …” She casually took charge of the gradual renovation of the hotel about ten years ago, and for her this was proof that she had managed to bring a positive, light and exclusive legacy from the roaring Twenties into the present day. Above all, she enjoys intellectual provocations.
To those who ask her what her favourite hotel in the world is, she answers that it is a $15-a night family-run hotel in Kerala
She boldly states that stars should be awarded for a hotel’s spirit, not for how big the shower is. The same goes in her office, for example, where they still haven’t grasped the fact that the more they warn her about the problems a project poses, the more she enjoys it. Marie Louise slides from one thought to another for a couple of hours until she has passed Porto Ercole and turned onto a steep little road, leaving normality behind on the approach to Il Pellicano. Now, that magical location is rising up before her, concealed by lush vegetation. She winds down a window and the fragrance of pine resin takes her by surprise. In a flash, she is back in her childhood, when as a curious but shy girl she would hide amidst the bushes to observe the world of the grownups: the moored Riva yachts, the drinks by the pool and everything she saw again in Slim Aarons’s photos when she was a grownup herself. But just then, she realises that there has always been something missing from those photographs. There was one person in particular she liked to spy on; a woman in her forties who would take her two Jack Russels for a walk in a long dress and a turban. Every morning she would take a dip wearing a wonderful flowery bathing cap and a parasol. Who was she? Why was she so fascinated by her? The voice of her father, Roberto Scio, brings her back to the present. “Welcome, my dear”.

The Travelling Box

When the iconic magic box meets the place, captured from hotel guests shots to let discover the details of the hotel destinations.

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