After 30 years in exile, the Prince of Venice says there is still a role for abolished monarchies
- Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy, Prince of Venice, spent 30 years exiled from Italy until 2002.
- Italy abolished its monarchy in 1946 but Prince Emanuele says their family still has a role to play.
- He is now an established restauranteur in Los Angeles and a television personality in Italy.
- Visit Business Insider SA's homepage for more stories.
Emanuele Filiberto di Savoia, the Prince of Venice, spent the first 30 years of his life away from his ancestral home.
In 2002, the Italian government ruled that the Savoy royal family could re-enter Italy after a 56-year exile imposed on male heirs, Prince Emanuele told Insider from his Monte Carlo residence.
"I'd always dreamed of Italy. I always wanted to go back because I felt Italian," Emanuele said. He remembers turning to books, documentaries, and the company of Italians who visited him in Switzerland to stay connected to his heritage until he was allowed to go home.
The BBC previously reported that the country, now a republic, voted to abolish its monarchy in 1946 after the last king Victor Emmanuel III had illicit involvement with Benito Mussolini's fascist regime.
"I really took the time to go to all the regions and provinces in Italy to meet Italians and try to catch up on the time I've lost outside Italy," said the TV personality and restaurateur.
While the House of Savoy remains a defunct monarchy, Emanuele believes there is still a role that his family can play in Italy, not least his eldest daughter Vittoria, a 17-year-old influencer and the first female heir in 1,000 years.
According to The New York Times , Vittoria inherited her role as well at the title of Princess of Carignano, her ancestral home, on her 16th birthday from her grandfather Vittorio Emanuele di Savoia, the son of the last king of Italy.
"Time evolves and I think it's a very important step. It's important to show that in monarchies, something that could look old, with 1,000-year-old values, can change and enter a new world," Emanuele told Insider.
Emanuele believes that having his daughter at the forefront of the family can facilitate change
Vittoria will inherit oversight of the dynastic orders of the family, which include charity work and outreach programs across 20 delegations in Italy and 17 outside the country.
"We created a program for young people in difficult neighborhoods in Italy where we teach them art, theater, and culture so they gather after school and at least they're in a safe space. We do this in Naples, in Turin, and Rome," Emanuele said.
He hopes that as his daughter - who lives in Paris with her mother, French actress Clotilde Courau, and younger sister Luisa - studies economics and political science at university in London next year, she will become more "open to other cultures."
Emanuele said his absence from Italy created a gap between public perception of the House of Savoy and who he really was
"I really wanted to present myself to Italians and to show who the real Emanuele Filiberto is," he said.
In a bid to do just that, he undertook Italy's "Dancing with the Stars" in 2009 and emerged as a winner. He also hosted the Miss Italia pageant in 2010 and starred in the reality show entitled "Il Principiante" or "The Beginner" in 2012, where 10 Italians invited him to spend some time working their job.
"People would say, 'Yeah, but you're the prince, you've never worked in your life. You have money.' So I said, 'Okay. I will do a TV show where each Italian can invite me to work with them,'" he said, laughing. "I did like 10 jobs, and it was a quite funny show."
While Emanuele has secured his place as a television personality, it is when he is discussing the restaurant business that his passion is palpable.
"Everything I tried to do in my life is to to do with the promotion of my culture and country, and food is very important for Italy," he said, adding that his self-titled LA restaurant, Prince of Venice, began as a food truck after he failed to find a good pasta truck in the city.
"There was like, hamburgers, hotdogs, sushi, tacos, whatever, but no pasta, so I came back home and I said, 'Well, I will do one,' without knowing anything," he said.
Since then, Prince of Venice has developed into a restaurant in Westwood with fresh, handmade pasta, organic produce, and Italian chefs. Emmanuel soon hopes to start a franchising program across America, Asia, and Europe.
The House of Savoy might never rule again, but Emanuele believes they can still use their name for the public good.
"What I've always said is if I could be helpful for my country, I'm the first one willing to go and help," he said.