This magnificent seaside villa built in 1930 was once the palatial home of Italian ambassador Count Natale Labia and his South African wife. It now hosts a program of concerts, lectures and events, as well as exhibiting the Labia family’s furniture, imported from Venice in the 1920s, and works from their art collection (including paintings by Irma Stern and Gerald Sekoto). The ornate building also houses Cucina Labia restaurant and the South African Print Gallery.
Capetonian architect Fred Glennie designed the grand palazzo in the style of 18th-century Venice, and a Venetian interior designer furnished it with antique fixtures and fittings. It served as the Italian, Canadian and finally Argentinian embassy for several decades, before entering its current incarnation in the 1980s. The rights to oversee the building were handed back to the Labias’ son and granddaughter in 2008. It has since undergone a loving restoration.