A few years back my friend Laurel Barton and hubby Ric moved to Rome. She worked for the FBI housed in the American Embassy, traveled Europe, and met some of the most interesting people in Italy, including a Texas girl now known as Rita Boncompagni Ludovisi, Principessa di Piombino. When Laurel met the Principessa, she insisted upon being called “Rita” – just as she did in a recent interview with Mo Rocca of CBS News.
In his interview and article, Rocca repeated some of the Principessa’s interesting history: born Rita Carpenter (on a Texas ranch), married for a time to John Jenrette (later ousted from his Congressional seat for bribery), posed for a modest photo on Playboy (to pay the bills after Jenrette’s debacle). Later Rita sold real estate in Manhattan (including a building to Donald Trump) and her career led her to Italy where she met her Prince.
Rocca also explored the Casino dell’Aurora, a grand palace that houses the Ludovisi family, as did my friend Laurel back in 2013. She and Rocca wrote about the elaborate collection of original art by Michelangelo, Caravaggio and others. After all, Rita’s husband is Prince Nicolò Boncompagni Ludovisi, a direct descendant of 16th century Pope Gregory XIII, so this titled family has been collecting great art for centuries.
If I recall correctly, I also blogged about the Principessa – we Texas girls have to stick together — and she sent back a gracious note via Laurel. Everyone loves a fairy tale, but I can’t do this story justice in just a few words. Instead, I think you will enjoy Rocca’s interview and the blogs written by Laurel, including lush photos of the art:
— Jonnie Martin