Beverly Pepper

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Beverly Pepper

Pepper's decision to settle in Italy was both personal and professional, but the salubrious Umbrian hills did not mean a quieter lifestyle. In four decades, everyone who is anyone in the worlds of Italo-American culture and diplomacy has made at least one, if not numerous, pilgrimages to the Todi castle of Signor e Signora Pepe. So many visitors returned to buy and restore their own castles and villas that the terrain around Todi earned the nickname Beverly's Hills.

American friends who followed the Peppers into the Todi real estate market include American art dealer Joseph Helman, former Yale president Benno C. Schmidt, the late actor Ben Gazzara and artist Al Held. Before he died, Time Warner Chairman Steven Ross bought a whole village. Younger friends have started making the pilgrimage as well. Film director Liz Garbus and her producer husband, Dan Cogan, had just visited with their two children this summer. In the late '90s, the Peppers sold their castle (vertiginous steps became unmanageable as the years passed) to a pair of American multimillionaires, Peter Mullin and Miles Rubin, men with fortunes from finance and insurance, respectively.

The Peppers' social set has always included bold-faced names from Hollywood, international art and politics. Pepper can riff about watching Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren's boxer shorts drying on a line on a luxury yacht they shared ("They really should have paid to have their laundry done," she says), and reminisce about Gellhorn dropping into their Rome house one day to beg Bill to go with her on an assignment to Africa, "because she didn't know how to change tires." Gellhorn continued working in international journalism after her marriage to Hemingway ended, often staying with the Peppers when she bounced through Italy. "Martha told me Hemingway was actually a coward," Pepper says. "She said that during the war they had a flat in London, and when the bombers came overhead, he would drag her into bed to do whatever—he had to do that in order to escape his fear." 

Brano tratto da "Beverly Pepper's Umbrian Influence.
The Nonagenarian artist found inspiration for her large-scale sculptures in Todi, Italy and put the village on the map"
by Nina Burleigh, The WALL STREET JOURNAL

Homepage thumbnail IRON LADY | Pepper in her studio in Todi, a hill town in Umbria, Italy, with her dog, Cato, Photography by Guillaume Bonn, from the same article.

Picture in this page A sculpture by Pepper, Photography by Guillaume Bonn, from the same article.