Un Giro with Elif, the creative energy bunny behind Rome’s most stylish concept store, Artisanal Cornucopia

Rome’s most cultured and eclectic concept store is in itself ‘un giro’ through the eyes of its marvel mastermind, Elif Sallorenzo, a vibrant, lithe, and energetic style deity, who also happens to be as sweet as maritozzi (con panna). Artisanal Cornucopia was one of the first artisanal shops on Via dell’Oca. This weekend, Altaroma will celebrate this collection of sophisticated ateliers and niche boutiques with the aptly named ‘Road to Style’ evening in tribute to Giannico, the protege of the stiletto. I sit down with Elif amongst her shop’s collection of handcrafted items from New York, Istanbul, Florence, and Paris, and we chat about everything from her adorable little girls to her breakfast focaccia.

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What is your morning routine?

ES: Mornings I wake up around 7:30 am (this is early for Italians) and get the girls ready for their day. I take the kids to school or summer camp, and then I walk through the Borghese park to the store. If I have time, I will either play tennis or squeeze in pilates or yoga (jivamukti). I buy a plain focaccia from the pizza shop at the beginning of Via di Ripetta and that’s my breakfast.

How would you describe Via dell’Oca and the transformation of this pocket of the Tridente?

ES: Via dell’Oca has always been a niche street. This was the melting pot for everyone in the Dolce Vita category in the 50s and 60s, from Fellini to Mastroanni.  Pirro, the Oscar winner for two very famous and important Italian feature films of the era, “Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto” and  “Il Giardino dei Finzi Contini,” a personal favorite, used to live on Via dell’Oca.

Hotel Locarno, just down the street but on the part called Via Della Penna, is home away from home for many pulitzer and literary award winners. It has perhaps the best bar in town. The atmosphere is inimitable. I am a “local” at Locarno.

Many new stores opened one after another in September 2015, including myself, Patrizia Fabri (bespoke hats for him and her), and Mondelliani (eyewear). Bomba, a Roman institution, and Laura Urbinati with her amazing silk prints and swimwear, are other local stores with an international reach. I love that it is a quaint street with great flair that also offers a few restaurants apart from the shops. Altaroma is a huge fan of the street and hosts two events here each year. Each event casts a light on one designer, (our first was Benedetta Bruzziches bags and the current one will be Giannico shoes), and we dress the windows to tell a story.

Who are your style icons at the moment?

ES: I go for originality and finesse. I don’t have a style icon, but if you ask me who my favorite designer is, Giambattista Valli.

Who are you most loyal to on Instagram?

ES: That also changes. Bat_Gio for fashion, but I also use Instagram to discover new movies. For example, AvThe Hunt is about honour crimes in Turkey and is absolutely fascinating. Other permanent favorites are Liberatum and Getty Images.

Where do your travels most often take you to discover new talent for AC?

ES: I find artisans from different places but would love to add Africa and South America to my mix. Usually my scouting grounds are less exotic, more Europe, the US and Turkey.

Where is your go-to for a mid-day meeting/coffee with a friend or client?

ES: Nest is a “masterchef” restaurant in the center. They recently began a business lunch buffet and aperitivo. If I’m with clients at the store, I’ll offer turkish coffee or nespresso. I’m quite partial to my Nespresso machine.

Where is your go-to for an after-work drink?

Locarno or the rooftop of Hotel DOM on via Giulia.

Where is your go-to for a quiet evening with your husband?

We like to mix it up, but we love Asian food and often go to the newly opened Zuma in the center. We also love Giulio Passami Olio if are craving quaint Italian. Another favorite is a speakeasy for yummy cocktails called Jerry Thomas.

The best artichokes giudea in Rome is in Ghetto- try Piperno or Nonna Betta.

Where do you go for vintage finds?

ES: For a vintage Rolex, Patek Philippe, Panerai, or other chic, rare items, go to Via dell’Oca 46. Get your loved one a Rolex from the year he/she was born..

Where can we find you on the weekends?

ES: Weekends we make escapades to the nearby beaches. If we go to Santa Marinella, we stay at Hotel Villa Le Palme and have divine seafood at Perla Nera. Then there’s Posta Vecchia and also Punta Rossa in Circeo. We have a home in Venice, so that’s a frequent escape, and Capri is always a good idea. The girls love the beach.

Where do you go when you want to escape the city?

ES: We love to travel, so we try to be adventurous and take the girls somewhere they’ve never been before. This summer is the summer of “Puglia”- Borgo Egnazia and more!

What is your perspective on the way Rome’s ‘look’ is changing at the moment? How do you see it progressing from a few years ago and where do you think it is going? How would you compare it to Milano?

The Milanese love to badmouth Rome. Having lived in Bergamo before moving to Rome, I have heard the cliche comments far too often. However, as much as Milan would like to think they are better, they forget that they have never been the capital of an empire! I feel Byzanteum in Rome (perhaps being an Istanbulite). In fact, Istanbul and Rome are very similar in spirit.. and more. But that is a whole other discussion.

My father was the Turkish Ambassador to FAO in the late 90s.. I have known Rome since then. At the time I lived in Berlin, where my step-father was the Turkish Consul General to Berlin. Berlin was bubbling while Rome was beautiful, but sleeping. It felt like a museum, covered in dust and mothballs. We visited Rome often and over time we saw it changing. Now Rome is a different city; more cosmopolitan, with many people from many different places, all with many different stories to tell. I wouldn’t trade it for anything, a questo momento.

Artisanal Cornucopia Via dell’Oca 38A Roma. Hotel Locarno. Via della Penna. Roma. Patrizia Fabri. Mondelliani. Bomba. Laura Urbinati. Nest. Via del Leone, 23 Roma. Zuma.Via della Fontanella di Borghese, 48. Roma. Giulio Passami Olio. Via di Monte Giordano, 28. Roma. Hotel DOM. Via Giulia 131 Roma. Jerry Thomas. Vicolo Cellini 30. Roma. Piperno. Via Monte Dè Cenci, 9. Roma. Nonna Betta. Via del Portico D’Ottavia, 16. Roma. Via dell’Oca 46. Hotel Villa Le Palme. Lungomare Guglielmo Marconi, 9. Santa Marinella. Posta Vecchia. Via Palo Laziale, Ladispoli. Punta Rossa. Via delle Batterie, 37, San Felice Circeo. Borgo Egnazia Savelletri di Fasano, Puglia.

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