Interview with singer-florist Rosalba Piccinni. Between flower design, jazz music, and culinary delights

Flower design, jazz music, and culinary art, creativity has no boundaries for Rosalba Piccinni. A face-to-face interview with the singer-florist who brought the ancient rite of serenading into contemporary society, to discover that life’s true talent is having the courage to follow your own identity.

If her name evokes a profession that is an art; the combination of tawny hair and pale skin mirrors her pre-Raphaelite-inspired floral arrangements. An icon of flower-design, a leading voice on the jazz scene, and an entrepreneur in the restaurant industry; Rosalba Piccinni defines herself first and foremost as a “singer-florist.”

It is early August when Rosalba offers to meet me at Potafiori: a corner of paradise in the heart of Milan where time is marked by the rhythm of nature and musical notes. The mix of white dress and purple lipstick underscores a personality in which sweetness and passion, creative zeal and professional rigor blend pleasantly. We sit surrounded by gerberas, roses, and orchids, and so begins a gripping tale, interspersed only by a few sips of ginger-flavored water.

1- How did your passion for flowers begin and how did you manage to turn it into a real profession?

– Rosalba Piccinni- It all started out of need. After changing several jobs, I happened to work in a flower store in the province of Bergamo.

I immediately appreciated the artistic aspect of the florist’s job: in fact, I believe that composing a bouquet or a more complex arrangement is almost like creating a work of art. Over the years as an employee I tried to learn as much as I could, until in 1997 I found the courage to open my first business. Today I consider myself lucky: I have three stores (editor’s note: Fiori Bergamo, Fiori Milano, and Potafiori) that give me great satisfaction and I hope to develop a lot more.

2- Where do you find inspiration for creating your flower arrangements: real works straddling the line between art and design?

– R.P.- I believe that the starting point should always be with the client: understanding their tastes, needs, and the reasons that led them to come to us. There are then countless elements that serve as inspiration, I borrow a lot from the world of art and architecture. I’m lucky to live in Milan and this helps a lot, in fact I get to see different exhibitions and shows almost every week. But in general I feel I can say that any experience can be an inspiration, you just have to have a can-do and curious attitude.

3- Music has always been a part of your life, but it is with Contemporary Metropolitan Serenades at Home that your voice has taken over. How did the idea of reviving this ancient courtship ritual in a contemporary way come about? How do you perform your serenades?

– R.P.- At the risk of sounding repetitive, I will admit that the metropolitan serenades were born by chance, or rather as a game. Talking with some friends and clients, we were wondering how one gesture could cancel a mistake we had made and make our beloved forgive us; we came to the conclusion that the only possible solution was to show an open heart. To demonstrate this, the serenades were born. Serenades very often take place directly inside the recipient’s home: when I show up at the door together with musicians of incredible depth, as soon as the door opens I start singing, at the same time honoring the recipient with a flower arrangement. The beauty of these serenades is the emotional contact with the recipient. In fact, by physically entering people’s homes, bringing a message of love, we create a unique situation of exceptional intimacy. Incredible friendships are also born from these experiences, one of the most beautiful and still thriving is the one with Antonella (editor’s note – Antonella Clerici, who, as a gift from her partner Vittorio Garrone, received a Rosalba serenade accompanied by 200 roses).

4- Your music has enjoyed national success, thanks to an enchanting voice and a strongly identifiable style, capable of embracing different situations: from the Blue Note to the Hunziker-Trussardi wedding, from the Arrivi album to the Unicredit event…

– R.P.- The Hunziker-Trussardi wedding was a wonderful experience, especially because of the trust placed in me by Tomaso; who – after a simply audition – gave me freedom to choose the musicians, and this filled me with joy. Recently, the experience at Palazzo Mezzanotte, as part of the Midnight Jazz Festival, was an incredible surprise: to have the opportunity to participate in a festival with names like Fabio Concato and Leroy Jones was beautiful. The Blue Note is another milestone in my singing career, as well as a source of great satisfaction: the twelve sold-out concerts fill me with pride. I hope to be able to replicate it on September 11….

5- In 2015 Potafiori was born from this love between you and your audience: a floral workshop and bistro that in the evening changes skin and becomes a restaurant: here the art of flowers and music meets the art of food…and more.

– R.P.- That’s right, it all came about from my previous two flower stores, where I happened to organize small aperitifs with friends who played music and my most loyal customers who would attend the party, only that very often the space was not large enough to hold all the people who showed up. That’s why I decided to jump into the restaurant business: an incredibly tiring and competitive world, but one that – I admit–is very fulfilling. Seeing people leave POTAFIORI with smiles and happy with the experience they’ve had makes me proud of what I and my team have managed to create.

6- And finally: any future dreams and upcoming projects? I am sure you will amaze us.

– R.P.- I always have many dreams and more projects every day, I think I am hyperactive; the ones I can talk about are Potalove and an upcoming book. POTALOVE is a brand new project, which we presented at the last Salone del Mobile and which aims to revolutionize the funeral industry by handling the moment of death in a new way. As for the book, on the other hand, I would like to thank Vallardi who, as publisher, is giving me the great opportunity to tell various anecdotes from my life, one more opportunity to share small moments and big emotions.

While waiting to read Rosalba’s exciting tale in her book, NMWA’s Italian Committee suggests you “savor” the dreamy world of the singer-songwriter from Potafiori ….



(Article by Federica Galassi)