Anne Martin Larger Profile Picture

Welcome to ‘Founders of Rome’

Over many years I’ve been enjoying regular travel to Italy, exploring such exciting places as the Amalfi Coast, the Cinque Terra, Rome, Naples, Florence and many ancient villages and hilltop towns I have found myself addicted and immersed in Italian food, culture and the European way of life.  Add France and the French Country style and you have an Italian and French Viva Grande!

It all started for me in the 1970’s when I was travelling Europe buying models for my business Phoenix Italia.  Located in Drury South Auckland we established a successful business manufacturing Crushed Marble Garden Statuary, Fountains, furniture, birdbaths, urns, pillars, jardinières and figurines.  So successful was the Italian/European nature of the business that very soon after we opened the Italian Restaurant ‘Palazzo Roma’ within our retail complex.  Wine flowed, Pavarotti’s music coursed through the pillars and antipasto and pasta was served in abundance.


Not content with only that our successful Vineyard and Guest Lodge, Karaka Point Vineyard was established on the family estate at Waiau Pa, South West Auckland.  Award-winning wines were grown surrounding magnificent gardens and lakes gracing the estate in such an Italian fashion that one could easily be transported back to that wonderful time of their travels.


With each annual sojourn to Italy to savour its charm, I felt more and more passionately that I wanted to share my delight with the good people of New Zealand.  Having received many compliments on my interior design and styling of homes and gardens I decided I would shop personally for them and bring home the antique furniture, copperware, antique linens, mirrors, armoires, marble furniture, candelabras outdoor furniture, wrought ironwork, and whatever else takes my fancy.


A buying trip involves long flights, fast footwork and a discerning eye. This is not for the fainthearted, as one has to have the stamina to indulge in passegiata of an evening and stay on in a trattoria or pizzeria for dinner!


I am very privileged to have made such good friends over the years of travel that much of my buying is from private homes and with my trusted guides alongside me I get to go to where no tourist could dream of going.  


Founders of Rome; we are your personal shopping destination, if I don’t have what you want, the chances are that I will find it for you and bring it back.  Not only the Provencal tablecloth or antique candelabra but also that gorgeous French sideboard, shabby chic chair or bedside cabinet that seemed impossible to imagine getting home.   I can style your home or just a room, bringing you that special sense of European style.