Agnelli, Marella 1927(?)-

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AGNELLI, Marella 1927(?)-


Born 1927(?), in Florence, Italy; daughter of Prince Filippo Caracciola di Castagneto and Margaret Clarke; married Giovanni Agnelli (an industrialist and executive), 1953. Education: Attended Académie des Beaux Arts and Académie Julian (Paris, France). Hobbies and other interests: Garden design.


Home—Villar Perosa, Italy. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Harry Abrams, 100 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011.


Philanthropist and writer. Vogue, New York, NY, photographer, early 1950s, model, 1950s; fabric designer for couturiers in Europe and the United States, 1973—.


World Monuments Fund, FAI 200 (Italian Environment Fund, president), Turin Friends of Contemporary Art (president).


Product design award, fabric industry, 1977; Hadrian Award (with husband Giovanni Agnelli), World Monuments Fund, 1992, for commitment to art and architecture and their role in contemporary life.


(With Luca Pietromarchi, Robert Emmett Bright, and Federico Forquet) Gardens of the Italian Villas, Rizzoli (New York, NY), 1987.

(With Marella Caracciolo, and photographer) The Agnelli Gardens at Villar Perosa: Two Centuries of a Family Retreat, Harry Abrams (New York, NY), 1998.

Also contributor of photographs and articles to various publications.


Marella Agnelli has long played a prominent role in international fashion, art, and gardening circles. After an earlier career as a photographer and model, and following her marriage into the prominent Agnelli family in 1953, she devoted decades of work to reviving and transforming the huge, private family estate near Turin, Italy. Working with celebrated English garden designer Russell Page, she created a remarkable series of landscapes including ponds, woodland, and flower beds. Her experience at Villar Perosa helped inspire her work with the Italian Environmental Fund, which acquires and preserves historic landscapes, gardens, and estates across Italy. Her writing and photography career has focused on promoting the love of historic Italian gardens.

Agnelli's two garden books were welcomed by gardeners and garden enthusiasts. Paul Frosch wrote in the Library Journal that Gardens of the Italian Villas "is a reminder of both Italian Renaissance spirit and Baroque exuberance," which "are captured in splendid photographs and elegant prose." Susan Dooley, writing in the Washington Post Book World, recommended the book for those "who would like to travel to Italy without having to cross the Atlantic." However, Agnelli's book on the Villar Perosa gardens was criticized by Mac Griswold in the New York Times for reflecting an Italian tendency "to gauze-wrap any critical focus" on the Agnelli family. Griswold does concede, though, that "within the pages of the book at least, Villar Perosa is perfection."



Choice, January, 1998, D. Posner, review of Gardens of the Italian Villas, p. 755.

Library Journal, December, 1997, Paul Frosch, review of Gardens of the Italian Villas, p. 103.

New York Times, October 22, 1998, Mac Griswold, "The Blurry Images of a Family History," section F, p. 13; December 6, 1998, Verlyn Klinkenborg, review of The Agnelli Gardens at Villar Perosa: Two Centuries of a Family Retreat, section G, p. 32.

Washington Post Book World, December 6, 1987, Susan Dooley, review of Gardens of the Italian Villas, p. 15.*