It is impossible to imagine a life in Rome without also imagining a life lush with beauty. For centuries, its ancient streets, iconic architecture and breathtaking vistas have motivated millions to create, inspiring some of the world’s most treasured and timeless work. It is a city that begs to be felt, loved, and immortalized in art.
Creatives like Roman-born Alexis Nelly know best how easily the landscape of the Italian capital can ignite artistic fervor. Although she now lives in Novara, a small town to the west of Milan, she cites her birthplace as her true source of inspiration. Here, the artist—who calls herself “The Italian Minimalist” in reference to her pursuit of simple elegance—shares some of her favorite places to eat, shop, and gather inspiration in the Eternal City.
On Art and Minimalism
Getting Started with Minimalism:
I approached minimalism about three years ago. I realized how much simplicity has greater value and that I did not need much in life. I adopted minimalism initially in clothing, getting rid of all the superfluous, and then in lifestyle, leaving me only with what is really significant in my life.
In my opinion, approaching minimalism is not difficult—just look inside your heart for the most significant things in your life, and get rid of all that is superfluous.
A Minimalist’s Ideal Look:
My ideal outfit is simple: black trousers or high-waisted jeans and a black t-shirt, paired with sneakers or comfortable sandals. A must-have for me is a very large bag.
How to Shop Like a Minimalist:
My favorite place to buy clothes is any well-stocked thrift shop. If you look carefully, you can find really nice things. I always try to put on as little makeup as possible, but what can never be missing is red lipstick— a must!
Why Italy Inspires So Much Great Work:
Over the centuries, Italy has been the greatest point of reference for art and is still, today, the top country in the world for cultural, historical, and architectural heritage. Many foreign artists left their cities to get to know and see Italian art up close.
The Hit List
A Hidden Gem Outside of Rome:
Alberobello in Puglia, with its gastronomic specialties and its “trulli”—houses with a conical roof. These pretty houses have become UNESCO heritage and the best example of vernacular architecture in Europe.
The Roman Museum You Can’t Miss:
The Galleria Borghese—it is a must-see in the city. With its splendid collection, marble decorations, mosaics, and antique inserts, the museum itself is artwork.
For the Big Italian Meal You’re Craving:
Il Margutta. You can alternate between very original and creative dishes and other, more traditional ones.
For a Drink with a View:
Salotto 42, in the beautiful Piazza di Pietra.
Roman Sunrise or Sunset?
Sunset. The most beautiful places to admire it are the Trevi Fountain and the Vittoriano.
Why Every Artist Should Visit Rome:
Rome, for me, is the city of a thousand faces and nuances, which satisfies all tastes. It is precisely for this reason that it represents a great source of inspiration. There is the “Imperial Rome” with the Colosseum and the Pantheon; the “Renaissance Rome” mastered by Michelangelo; the “Baroque Rome” where you can admire Caravaggio and Bernini; and the “Christian Rome” with the Vatican. Every corner of the city is a piece of history, a fragment of culture that remains in the heart, that fascinates and makes you fall in love—not only with the city but with life itself.