While I was in Rome last week (working on the next Tod’s ad campaign), Emanuele Della Valle took us to Taverna Flavia one night for dinner. As soon as we walked in I was charmed by its old school neighborhood restaurant-type feel and the charm of the waiters who greeted us. I was further impressed by the floor to ceiling photos of celebrities from all decades. But I was actually floored when we got to the private dining room and noticed that the entire room was a museum’s worth of photos and articfacts dedicated to the owner Mimmo Cavicchi’s infatuation and long standing friendship with Liz Taylor, dating back to her days on the set of Cleopatra shot in Rome in 1961.
I took some photos (sorry for the poor lighting) and found the below interview which I found online. Its worth a vist for the photos alone, but the food is excellent too.
How did you know Elizabeth Taylor?
I met her in Rome in August 1961 during the shooting of the film Cleopatra. A series of fortuitous events had made me become not only the official supplier of her meals, but also and above all a great friend. We are still on the phone and each time is always exciting. I am madly in love with her, she is a myth, a special woman, both strong and fragile. I have hundreds of beautiful photos.
Is that why you have dedicated a museum?
I have dedicated a room in the Taverna Flavia called “Little Liz”, where you can find not only photos but also telegrams, letters that I send and the famous Queen Cleopatra sandals which are authentic.
What did Liz love to eat?
San Daniele ham, mozzarella, spinach cannelloni. She loved exotic fruit. She hated grapes.
Have you ever done something crazy for her?
More than once. One evening I filled the entire room with hundreds of white roses. She hated red roses. I asked her at the telephone: “What you’d like to find here tonight?” She said: “A garden.” Every wish of her was a order for me.
Elizabeth Taylor has been the success of Taverna Flavia?
Surely she helped. In America, she used to repeat to her friends: “When you go to Rome consult Mimmo. Then Tony Curtis, Brigitte Bardot, Burt Reynolds, Burt Lancaster, Roger Vadim, Jane Fonda, Kirk Douglas and many others arrived.