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The Rome Sustainable Food Project: The High Road to Rome.

Updated: Aug 23, 2023

After the holiday rush and fashion week in Milan, I found myself in search of higher meaning, which got me in the mood to travel.

Around the holidays a sleek black box arrived, tied with a satin black ribbon from Marge Clothing in San Francisco, an up-and-coming designer that makes pieces for taller women (ladies in stilettos, rejoice). Unwrapping a gorgeous wool coat, a smooth silk camisole, and an elegant ivory crepe skirt, I had just the occasion in mind: Rome was calling.

Friend and former client from San Francisco, Chef Chris Behr had a new gig in Rome that was a bit out of the ordinary and my curiosity was screaming.

At the highest point in Rome, bordering the ancient Aurelian walls, where Julius Caesar was said to have looked over the great city, there is a place where the world’s greatest minds have been meeting for centuries, and still do.

If you want to know where the illuminati came to chill, I assume this would have been it.

Generations of dignitaries, philosophers, scholars and aristocrats have been meeting here in this spot that is now home to the American Academy in Rome, or the AAR.

Like a small private society, the world’s most influential people like the poet Maya Angelou, the artist Chuck Close and others are invited to come and stay and share their experience, especially over meals in the warm dining hall.

The grounds are breathtaking, sitting on ancient underground aqueducts, nestled by olive and fruit orchards, lush with its own garden. The kitchen that feeds this brilliant bunch is actually a program within the Academy called the Rome Sustainable Food Project or RSFP, a garden-to-table concept built around the idea of sustainability, started ten years ago by San Francisco’s Alice Waters of Chez Panisse, the godmother of California cuisine and sustainable cooking, with Chris Behr being the lucky appointed Executive Chef.

A warm, creative spirit, Chris was a welcome slice of home and I savored every minute. We explored the kitchen and garden, and swapped McGyver kitchen stories while tasting the olive oil I brought from Frisino Oil, my latest obsession. Chris was in awe of the stellar quality and I have a crush on the sexy packaging.

The McGyver factor is all about your ability to create something out of nothing, and it's a philosophy more than anything. The RSFP is a non-profit teaching kitchen for which a select few are chosen, learning how to grow their own vegetables and find smart ways to cook with what’s on hand.

Walking the grounds, Chris pointed out the window where Galileo had tested the first telescope. The energy in this place is brilliant and you can't help but be inspired. Against the buzzing backdrop of busy revolutionaries, I felt like this trip was exactly what I had been craving.

The plush wool trench, the satin top, and light silk skirt by Marge Clothing were the perfect touch. Not only for the crisp winter air but Marge's hashtag #LifeUpHere brings to light a lot more than just a person’s physical height. It is about a higher way of thinking, of being, and of seeing the world. A brush with the past can sometimes wake you up in the present and change your point of view. Galileo knew that perspective is everything. No matter where you are, from San Francisco to the stars or from the tallest point in Rome, challenge what you know, and get a glimpse of what is like to see the world from the top. It's definitely better from #LifeUpHere.


Coat, top, and skirt by Marge Clothing Necklaces and Bracelets by Sence Copenhagen Ring by Giulia Barela Photography by Francesco Brancato Hair and Make-up by Luca Zanetti Production Coordinator Camila Salles Special Thanks to Olio Frisino


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