Italy: Talk About Branding!

Under the leadership of its CEO, Francesco Trapani, Bulgari has blossomed into a $1 billion luxury powerhouse — with a new seemingly incongruent brand extension

Bulgari 's Astrale ring in 18 karat white gold with pave diamonds.

Bulgari, one of the world's leading luxury marketers, has been known for its fine jewelry since its founding in 1884. But under the leadership of its CEO, Francesco Trapani, 48, the great-grandson of founder Sotirio Bulgari, the brand has blossomed into a $1 billion luxury powerhouse that also sells watches, ties, handbags and fragrances. Add one more item to Trapani's portfolio, and it isn't something you (or even a Hollywood starlet) could wear around your neck: a five-star hotel. TIME's Dody Tsiantar recently spoke with the Bulgari chief about the company's newest and seemingly incongruent brand extension.

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