Rome and Marilyn: a diva’s secret world

In Rome a show not to be missed. At the Palazzo degli Esami are exhibited precious clothes, jewels and objects which once belonged to Marilyn.

For those who are passionate about cinema or vintage or who are fans of the most famous platinum blonde in the world, or for all those who are interested in discovering Hollywood’s other side.


Kiss and Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friends; these are very famous tunes, and who sings them? Marilyn Monroe, brilliant and sparkling diva, who, with her successes and her excesses, has become an international persona, a timeless myth that still, to this day, marvels and captures the eye.


A girl, her name was Norma Jeane Mortenson, and her mother, who was interned in a psychiatric ward; this is how the sweet and sour fable of this young girl, who felt like an ugly duckling, started. Although, she really was a tough girl, who at whatever cost, wanted to be part of the American dream. Away from the foster homes, the physical and emotional abuses, misery and solitude. She managed to leave all that behind and become one of the shiniest stars. Nonetheless, behind all of those sequins, the jewels, the villas and the loves, one could still see that little girl who only longed for real love.


In Rome, until July 30th, an iconic exhibit of approximately 300 pieces, will bring you back to the 50’s, to the star system, and to the short-lived glory that the celluloid world often gave its actors. You will be able to find here the “cult” objects, from the Chanel 5 perfume bottle, to the ivory silk shoes and the precious clothes worn during her most famous films.


As if directly from a script, Marilyn Monroe, began her career with small parts, not so prudish photoshoots, and finally a small but very important part in All About Eve, with Bette Davis. On the screen, she would transform, and the fairness in her skin tone together with her near-sidedness, gave her that vulnerable and surprise look that would have made millions of fans fall in love. Then came the success, unstoppable from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes to The Seven Year Itch. In the exhibit, you will be able to see the famous pleated dress that she wears in the latter film. The skirt rises when, to fight the heat, she is taking a walk with her neighbor, and from the subway’s grill on the sidewalk comes a powerful blast of air that exposes her breathtaking legs.


In the exhibit that take us along Marilyn’s life, there are also objects from the sets, such as the classic fan used to cool the always torrid air in the films, to the legendary marks that she had left with Jane Russel for the occasion of the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, which is another very famous film. Here she emanates all her charm: ingenuity with a certain irony, her moving uncertainty and the ditzy stride in a fantastic body. Then there is the white satin shoe, a small foot, the sweet silk shirt with which she took the last photos of her tragic life.


Marilyn knew fame, glory and the love of the public, but in her private life she was well aquatinted with real unhappiness, anxiety and anguish that neither medicines nor sedatives nor the love of her faithful husband Joe Di Maggio, were ever able to alleviate. Her marriage to Henry Miller, film writer and fine intellectual, appeared to be out of a fairytale. In the exhibit, there is one of the love letters where he asks her to marry him. She wanted a normal existence and most of all she wanted children to hug and grow with love. Nevertheless, she experienced a series of abortions, losses and painful dreams.


Then the divorce. In Some Like It Hot she was able to show what kind of actress she really was being paired with the great stars Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon. Billy Wilder directed the film. He was a great director and was able to show how exceptional a person Marilyn was, through her character, Sugar. Disappointments and affronts did not miss throughout the course of her career. For example, in The Prince and the Showgirl, she was playing along the great actor Laurence Olivier. Ironic and malicious comments were made when comparing her awkward way of acting to the one of a legend of cinema and London theatre. Even worst were the criticism while on the set of Let’s Make Love, with Yves Montand. The story of their falling in love was told by Montand’ wife, Simone Signoret, who was a successful actress as well, a rock next to the fragile crystal that was Marilyn. Love sparked immediately, an inevitable physical attraction, an overwhelming passion, which left behind burnt territory, a not to good film and a marriage destroyed- clearly, Marilyn’s. Of this film one can see exhibited the pants suit, very elegant and modern. Remember, that this film was the beginning of the end. And more Tiffany and Cartier jewels, international stylists and the classic Warhol portrait are all the elements that contribute to making known a woman who became a fixed star in an ever changing sky.

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