Ciao Bella!

Italy's Presidential Palace and Instagram

Perhaps the one good thing Silvio Berlusconi did was put the Italy's Prime Minister role on the map as the Presidente del Consiglio dei Ministri della Repubblica Italiana, but how many of you know about the Presidente della Repubblica, aka the Prez of Italy? More likely, you 've heard of the Quirinale, that gorgeous residence and office of President Mattarella, a place that has more history, art and style than Buckingham Palace, and better dressed security. Over my life in Rome, I've only been able to snag a visit to the Quirinale once with a decisive search for a fresco by Melozzo da Forlì, and virtually meandered its gardens and halls via its virtual tours [English is narrated by a winsome Stanley Tucci and Greta Scacchi!], but it wasn't until last week that I had it all to myself IRL.  Instagram invited me and 14 Instagrammers for a walk through an #EmptyQuirinale, for a private after hours visit where we sized ourselves up with the 6 ft 2 in corrazieri (carabinieri honor guards), walked through the President's kitchen, garden and hallways, and selfied our way into history. Italian newspaper La Repubblica joined us and caught all the action in celluloid- check me at 1 minute 25 seconds.

To join in on the fun, click #EmptyQuirinale-  and for my personal perspective, here's a Steller Story.