Gelasio Gaetani D'Aragona Lovatelli.
A great deal is known about him.
He is a real Italian gentleman in the noblest sense of the word: romantic, charming, intelligent, likeable and worldly enough to refrain from being ubiquitous. His natural charisma stems from lineage and a nobility of mind. A modern day Gascoigne, a musketeer at heart, a character out of a Ridley Scott film with the eyes and smile of a traveller, unmindful yet extremely aware, with a lifelong attachment to those he deeply loves.
His passions, his strengths, his weakness: wine, travel, escapism, writing diaries to bring memories back to life.
He dreams of returning to his land of origin but no longer remembers where it is. He describes it as: “the land closest to sun and light”.
But let’s talk about his children first: Lapo, the eldest, is likeable and expansive, and owns an excellent restaurant in Montevarchi offering Tuscan cuisine revisited with a refined and contemporary slant, Iacobella who creates original jewellery, bags and artefacts using crystals and antique leathers, for an exclusive group of customer-friends around the world.
Cristoforo who has set up a super natural organic farm in Brazil. Both crazy but just as likeable and brilliant as he is, and equally international, fascinating and special.
Gelasio lives with great nonchalance between Rome, London, Paris and New York, Tuscany, Sicily and the rest of the world, and knows everyone everywhere, but only mixes with a very small set of real friends he thinks highly of. Invited everywhere, he will only enthuse about something or someone that has really moved him.
His work is wine, Ex Vinis is his portal, the game he plays most ardently is that of creating and animating great wine cellars in the residences of important people. He swears that, before long, the best wines in the world will come from Peru where he has discovered an extraordinary cuisine, one of the most highly rated in the world.
His latest work is the book recently published by Feltrinelli and now on sale in bookshops, entitled “A spasso con il vino” (Out and about with wine), prefaced by the legendary Hugh Johnson. It tells the story of those little gems of Italian wine production which are unknown to most but represent authentic tales of great courage. His project in progress is the book with Assouline, “The great wine dream Italian book”, which is a trip across wine growing Italy in the words and eyes of his tribe of friends, in their respective habitats.
With the pictures of Aline Coquelle, a talented young photographer, it may be finished in one year’s time. Gelasio has always travelled but has never been a tourist. He gives us the few addresses of the places he loves and where he wishes to return. Names that are just hinted at, but all of which are meaningful and often international.
Food: the fantastic restaurant Astrid y Gastón, she’s German and he’s Peruvian, in Miraflores, Lima, Perù. One of the world’s five best: sophisticated Peruvian cuisine with “European” contaminations. The other Peruvian restaurant he adores is called Senzo and is located in Cuzco inside the "Palacio Nazarenas” (a marvellous hotel housed in a former Spanish convent). For eating in New York, the Mexican restaurant Tacombi.
Accommodation: the Hotel Aman-I-Khas (“special peace” in Sanskrit and Hindi) of Ranthambore in Burma and The Imperial Hotel in New Delhi.
Wine: the rooftop of the spanking new “10 Corso Como” in Shanghai opened in September 2013, in West Nanjing Road, whose cellars are the best and most sophisticated in China.
Eating in Italy: Rome, l’Osteria Der Belli, at Piazza di Sant’Apollonia, in the heart of Trastevere and the Pastificio Cerere in the San Lorenzo district. The restaurant Dal Bolognese owned by Alfredo Tomaselli, a dear Roman friend who shares his passion for Harley Davidsons. In Siena, the restaurant Le Logge, on the Versilia Riviera, the smaller eating places, all of which are excellent. In Milan, the Conte Camillo, where he always eats, but only unaccompanied.