The Italian Almanac

Dado Ruspoli

Italian News - January 14th

Italy's aristocracy is mourning the death of Dado Ruspoli, the playboy prince and wayward Renaissance Man of its post-war Dolce Vita era.

Dado, born Alessandro 80 years ago, charmed and delighted, but also shocked, Italy's smart society. A poet, painter, photographer and traveller, he also became a sometime film actor, and among his roles had a small part in The Godfather, Part III. He was an expert on yoga and an authority on other aspects of the Orient, including transcendentalism and opium and other drugs.

His easy-going hedonism, especially when indulged on the island of Capri, inspired one film and probably helped set the scene for another, Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita, about the so-called sweet life. A favorite of the gossip columns, the prince also won eternal fame by being photographed strolling around Capri barefoot, with an injured raven that he had rescued perched like a pirate's parrot on his shoulder.