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Barbara’s magic wand

22.03.2016. Le Sirenuse

When Le Sirenuse threw open its doors for the beginning of the 2016 season, one woman’s work was already over – for this year, at least. Talented decorator Barbara Giulienetti has been visiting Positano for several years, always in the winter months, to freshen up the décor and details of the hotel.

Barbara studied decorative painting techniques in Brussels and has worked for around 25 years as a decorator of domestic interiors, hotels and even yachts, in Europe, the States, and the Middle East.  It was a fortuitous meeting with Franco Sersale, who she describes as “a true gentleman, and connoisseur”, that led to Barbara’s first commission at Le Sirenuse – giving new life to some light-blue grisaille canvases that were a little the worse for wear.

One decoration or restoration task led to another, always prompted by Franco’s prescient grasp of every detail of a hotel – previously his family home – that he had done so much to create. “He understood what needed doing even before I could tell him”, Barbara recalls, “and he was always right”.

Barbara Magic Wand 02

Since then, Barbara has returned to Positano almost every winter, when the renowned Amalfi Coast resort becomes a quiet village once more. “It’s a different world down there off-season”, she says, “but I rather like it”. She rubs shoulders with the painters, carpenters and other artisans who are busy getting the hotel ready for the new season, and never fails to be impressed by “the pride they put into doing the job well”.

Barbara was once called on to paint a large panoramic mural of Positano inside a Roman apartment. “Now when I look at the cupola of the church down by the beach”, she laughs, “I feel I know every single tile”.

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