Couple’s historic Laurens Street home becomes gathering place, showcase for Italian culture

Jun 06, 2015 1263

By Sybil Fix

The house at 57 Laurens St. sits proudly off this quiet street, grounded in beauty and stateliness. Perhaps because it survived the fire of 1838 here, and the Civil War; perhaps because afterward it provided housing for freed slaves. Or perhaps because at sunset, rays of light reach in from the west like elongated fingers and spread luminously through its windows and vast porches.

The house seems fit for contemplation and celebration, a mission it has come to embody under the ownership of Giulio and Donatella Della Porta. Hailing from the tiny and proud Italian region of Umbria and steeped in ancient culture and sensitivities refined through the generations, the Della Portas have become genuine ambassadors of the Italian arts in Charleston as well as sponsors and promoters of excellence in things Italian, from film to music to gardens and food.

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