Alliata Di Montereale family lives the Hawaii lifestyle

Prologue: While the glory days of Kingdoms in Italy are long past their colorful chapter in history, there are still present among us those who trace direct royal lineage to that era from which their pre-existing titles continue. Prince S.R.I. Sacro Romano Impero (Sacred Roman Empire) Vittorio Alliata di Montereale’s title dates back to the Holy Roman Empire.

“Where to begin?”smiles Princess Dialta (who is in the process of writing a moving love story inspired by the personal diary of her grandmother and her passionate relationship with Arthur Acton, the noted collector of Tuscan Renaissance art who built Villa La Pietra in Florence) when asked “Why Honolulu when you could live anywhere in the world?”

“I fell in love with the air on Tantalus, the way it feels on the skin – I think better than any other place I’ve been. I can be sleeveless and barefoot all year round. Contrary to Paris, Rome, London, New York or any world-class city, Honolulu has virtually no pollution. Also contrary to those other cities, the people of Hawaii have their hearts in their hands (our tradition of aloha). I could go on and on.”

Prince Vittorio Alliata di Montereale, an avid athlete who regularly competes in local triathlons, and who is in the midst of building a Frank Gehry-inspired glass house near his home, agrees. “Where else can one see the magnificent sunsets from their lanai 365 days a year? Here there is a healthy lifestyle, and a strong contact with nature – a fantastic place to raise children.” Their five children, Yana and Azzurra (twins, age 17), Fabrizio and Mirtilla (another set of twins, age 15), and the youngest, Allia (age 14), would agree. Between their schooling, their involvement with community projects, and sports, their schedules are full.

Dialta, from Florence, met Vittorio in his native city of Rome. “Vittorio and I first met at the house of Egon von Furstenberg. He had a long beard and I could only see his eyes, but even from across a crowded room I felt a magnetic thread between us.” Vittorio recounts: “When we saw each other in New York the following week, she was chatting with the artist, Julian Schnabel. I looked at her and she was simply incantevole [ravishing]. When we talked, I thought, ‘She is a woman that will have the practical sense of life I am lacking.'” Laughing, he added “the latter proved not to be so true.'”

Dialta says after New York, they never parted. Having had five children in less than three years (Vittorio calls his wife a bi-ovulator), they made the decision to put aside their full-time business interests (Vittorio as a publisher of the magazine Contemporanea and film producer of Marco Ferreri’s films, Dialta, as the director of the magazine, Essere and independent film-maker), and to dedicate the next 20 years of their lives to the education of their children. This primary choice became the determining factor as to where to live and travel.

Back in the islands just in time for the fall school term, the Alliatas spent their summer touring prospective universities for their eldest daughters; sailing in the Mediterranean; visiting friends and relatives in Venice (also the home of Palazzo Cini, a museum founded by and containing the art collection of Vittorio’s grandfather, Vittorio Cini, well know for its important treasures including paintings by Botticelli, and Piero della Francesca), Tuscany and Rome.

“It is very important to travel, especially when living in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Traveling allows children to acquire social skills, especially if it includes speaking different languages. European children are brought up learning the art of conversation, and to mix with people of all ages and backgrounds. We want our children to be social and very communicative in the everyday lives of the people and country we are visiting. The experience needs to be complete, not just based on a simple touristy voyeurism.”

Inherent in Vittorio’s reflection is a vision of the world as interconnected and cohesive, and not simply a jumble of disconnected fragments. Both parents engender in their children a keen awareness of their relationship to the larger world around them.

When traveling, the Alliatas share a little Hawaii wherever they go. Following the tutelage of Peter Rockford of Tau Dance Theater, the Alliata children danced hula to an amused audience in Rome on the Appian Way as well as in the Tuscan hills of Montalcino. “As travelers, we make sure not to miss an art exhibit. We visit museums, take in a new musical or theatre play, attend the gatherings of friends, and even take mountain hikes whenever possible. On foot, by bike, by car, by train, or on boats, we all appreciate the adventure.” This summer for example, the Alliata family hiked on the volcano Sromboli while sailing the Aeolian Islands, explored Pompei and watched the Palio di Siena, a horse race that dates to around 1300 and is known for its majestic pageantry.

For Vittorio and Dialta, family is paramount. “There is a lot of loud yelling in large Italian families and it is the same in ours. At times I have to personify a general in the army in order to be listened to, but it pays off. As of now, as we say in Italy, ‘tocca legno‘ (touch wood). We have been very fortunate with our five children; we can trust them and they make us very proud. Next year Yana and Azzurra will attend university and in four years all five children will have left. But we are such a united little group of seven that every year we will make it a point to spend Christmas and part of each of our summer holidays together. Boyfriends and girlfriends will be welcome and may even come and go, but our motto is, l’ unione fa la forza (the union makes the strength).”

Their exuberance for life is infectious. For Vittorio, “Living in Hawaii is the perfect fit for my persona; it is where I am most comfortable.” Dialta adds, “Ahh, living in Hawaii is truly una bella vita. Where else could I enjoy Van Gogh and Modigliani in the human dimensional environment of the Academy of Arts rather then in an overpowering urban Museum? Where else could I arrange such beautiful tropical flowers from the garden? Or walk in to Neiman Marcus in my pareo without being a fashion victim? Where else are there the divine champagne waters of our favorite beach, From Here to Eternity?” (Also known as Halona Cove, where Dialta swears the effervescent water is the cure-all for jetlag). “Really, Hawaii is the only place in the world where people shouldn’t ask ‘why are you here?'”