Marajen the Entertainer


Label for the villa's olive oil brand.

Marajen enjoyed entertaining and did so frequently.  She brought groups to the villa for visits lasting several days.  Her circle of friends and acquaintances was extensive and included business and celebrity friends.  Our collection includes a guest packet for a trip in 1994.  The packets included the week’s itinerary, usually beginning at Willard or O’Hare Airport.  The agendas included time in Rome for dining, shopping, and sightseeing in addition to time at the villa.  Astronaut Buzz Aldrin (multiple missions including Apollo 11 when he became the second man to walk on the Moon), actor Larry Storch (perhaps best known for TV series “F Troop” on 1965-67), and their wives were part of the guest list on this trip.  The packets included room assignments, telephone numbers, house rules, a photo of the villa, and a map.  This exhibit features items from the packet as well as villa related items like a label used for the villa’s own Olive Oil brand and a larger silk-screened version of the villa’s wine label.

Marajen maintained guest books at Torre di Civita that are filled with the signatures of her famous and not-so-famous guests such as actress Mary Martin (Peter Pan and South Pacific), actor (and brother-in-law) Buddy Rogers, and University of Illinois and other Champaign-Urbana people.  One book is open to Jacqueline Kennedy’s signature from her 1962 visit as well as a signature of a young Caroline Kennedy.  The second book is open to Buzz Aldrin and wife’s signatures.


Marajen's guestbook containing the signatures of Jacqueline and Caroline Kennedy


Marajen's other guestbook signed by Buzz and Mrs. Aldren

We are displaying a selection of photos in and around Torre di Civita.  Included are photos of Marajen descending a circular staircase into the dining room; Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, and Desi, junior; Buzz and Mrs. Aldrin; and Jacqueline Kennedy’s formal arrival in Italy.

Jackie O- August 1962 adj.jpeg

Jacqueline Kennedy arriving in Italy.

Marajen Stairs.jpeg

Marajen descending down a set of stairs into a formal dining room.

Marajen the Entertainer