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La Residenza Napoleone

Listed under City Apartments in Rome, Italy.

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A stunningly lavish suite, exuding old-world opulence, in the heart of Rome's fashion quarter

If you can drag your eyes away from the mouthwatering boutique-fronts of Rome's Via Condotti for a moment, you'll see behind you some huge, very private-looking wooden gates. They may not gleam and glitter like the window-displays, but what lies behind them is equally opulent, if not more so.

These doors are a portal into a former, more splendid age. Doric colonnades lined with locally-excavated statues lead up to a wing of the 16th-century Palazzo Ruspoli. Above the all-marble staircase, imperial busts gaze onto antique furnishings, while inside, rare Gobelin tapestries rub shoulders with five hundred year-old oil paintings, some of which artfully conceal plasma TV screens. This is where Emperor Napoleon III and his mother, the former Queen of Holland, lived in the 1830's, and the air oozes pedigree. It's now home to the welcoming and unpretentious Princess Letizia Ruspoli, who has made two apartments available to the select few (i.e. those who happen upon an article like this). If you have always wanted to stay somewhere literally fit for a king, here is the opportunity of a lifetime.

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