Bulgari is a world-wide renowned brand. The enterprise sells jewellery, watches, perfume, leather goods and even possesses hotels.
Legend has it, that “Bulgari” was the only Italian word Elizabeth Taylor knew.
However, the company was founded by the Greek goldsmith Sotiros Voulgaris. He set up his first shop in a Greek village and moved to the island of Corfu in1877 from where he should soon go on to Naples. Only in 1881 he arrived in Rome.
As it seems Mr Voulgais himself believed in diversity. Being a goldsmith he not only opened several jewellery shops but also antique shops. One of the jewellery stores was in the Via Sistina, in the centre of Rome.
In 1905 Sotiros supported by his two sons Costantino and Giorgio moved into his flagship store in the famous Via Condotti (Bulgari owns number 10). This place is famous, fancy and expensive. By expensive I mean that it is no problem to spend an average yearly income (or more) within a few minutes.
Only after 1910 Bulgari specialized in jewellery, inspired by the Parisian and the American styles.
Sotiros passed away in 1934 and his sons managed the enterprise. They enlarged the store in the Via Condotti in the very same year.
The 1950ies and 60ies were the heyday of Italian’s cinema history. On the sets of the so called Cinecittà (movie city) high calibre movie stars were filming. Many of them seemed to spend quite some time and money on Bulgari.
Stars like Sophia Loren, Marlene Dietrich, Clark Gable and Audrey Hepburn went in and out at Bulgari’s. If I am not mistaken the very favourite client was Elizabeth Taylor.
You might remember my article about Cartier and their iconic “La Panthère” (leopard). Bulgari choose the snake as their trademark as the symbol of wisdom, life and eternity.
Since one snake is not enough for a brand like Bulgari they use the emblem in the plural: “Serpenti”, meaning snakes. Apparently, the snakes served them well as they keep on growing their business.