Prague, Czech Republic
A hot-pink confection of Bohemian Neo-Renaissance style, the Hotel Opera stands in the less touristy Nové Město, or “New Town,” quarter of storied Prague.
The Hotel de Boisgelin, sometimes called, “La Rochefoucauld-Doudeauville Hotel” is a former private hotel particulier, or hotel inside a mansion. The mansion was built for Gerhard Heusch of Janvry, Secretary to the King of France, in 1733. It has housed the Italian embassy in Paris since 1938.
Though originally designed by French architect Jean-Sylvain Cartaud, the current building is the result of works by many successive owners. One such owner was the future Duke of Doudeauville, Marie-Charles Gabriel Sosthene of La Rochefoucauld who bought the hotel in 1864. The architect of the Duke, Henri Parent, designed some of the most striking features in the mansion, including the majestic staircase, which was inspired by the staircase of the Queen at Versailles.
After changing hands several more times, the hotel was purchased by the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, the financial arm of the French state. Following an agreement, the Italian government was given a long lease on the building, and it became the seat of the Italian Embassy in Paris. In return, the agreement provided that the French government should be given the Palais Farnese as the seat of the French embassy in Rome.
The Sicilian theater – pictured here – was designed by Adolfo Loewi, a famous Venetian architect and decorator in the 18th century. The walls are decorated with mythological characters, the Commedia dell’Arte, and exotic figures and fashions of the time. The Rococo style wooden cladding comes from the Butera Palace in the Marina of Palermo.
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