“We’ve lived in our Milan apartment for exactly 10 years. I already had my PR studio, Garbo, on the ground floor of this building. When the apartment on the second floor opened up, we thought it could be the perfect solution. We liked the type of property, the location, the area of Milan…. As they say, it was fate.”
That’s Roberta Sarchi speaking—a former professional dancer who now runs PR for international brands. Her partner is renowned interiors photographer Francesco Dolfo, whose work often appears in prestigious design magazines including AD. Sarchi and Dolfo live in a beautiful apartment in the Porta Romana area of Milan—a home-studio where Dolfo (Cecco to his friends) has his office, which is used for photo selection and postproduction.
There’s a radiant, fresh atmosphere that’s befitting of this pair, who are athletes as well as creatives (Dolfo was a gold medalist in canoeing). Full of light and color, the apartment opens onto a terrace that has been transformed into a joyous urban jungle, with rambling jasmines, palms, hydrangeas, roses, and lemon trees—all lovingly tended to by the couple.
The home is near Via Bellezza: A neighborhood in Milan that has its own soul and feels complete in itself, almost like a self-contained village. “There’s everything here, and since we’re in the city we like to live in this area: We have Ravizza Park nearby, there’s a lot of greenery, old-fashioned mom-and-pop stores, and buildings of two or three stories at most,” says Sarchi. “We’re also fairly close to the Fondazione Prada contemporary art space, which is developing this part of the city in a very modern way.”
Sarchi is a Milanese-born philosophy graduate who, after dancing for years (on stage and on TV) went on to work in PR for fashion brands and luxury hotels. She later opened her own agency, Garbo, where she scouts out new clients and launches them on the market. Dolfo, meanwhile, is originally from Pordenone in northeast Italy and is a multitasker: a photographer with an exquisite touch, he’s also a bit of an engineer (a degree that gives him a certain observational spirit, it has to be said), and an expert cyclist, cook, and gardener. “We like to entertain and apart from the lockdown, our house has always been full of friends. We like to invite people over—we organize dinners, brunches, and aperitifs,” says Dolfo. “When I have time, I relax and cook. There’s no shortage of space, the lounge is huge, and if there’s good weather we head to the terrace.”
“Sometimes I feel like this house is far too big for us,” says Sarchi. “But then again, its size—around 1,500 square feet, plus about 500 square feet of terrace—allows us to really live in these spaces. Even during lockdown, when we couldn’t go outside, I never felt like I was closed up in a cramped apartment. We both had our own space. When Cecco’s not traveling around Italy on shoots, he works from home. And I’m just downstairs.”