The Mystique of Morocco

Two books entice readers to a country where history, nature, art, and design combine to create a feast for the senses. Plus, peruse our market finds featuring Moroccan-inspired decor and jewelry

Moroccan garden
A centuries-old fig tree in Umberto Pasti’s garden in Morocco (“Eden Revisited”/Photo by Ngoc Minh Ngo)

a throw inspired by the geometric tapestry patterns of Morocco
Annie Selke ‘Anatolia’ throw ($430),

Twenty years ago, Italian writer and horticulturalist Umberto Pasti was lured to the remote village of Rohuna in northern Morocco by a friend who promised a place where no nazrani, no foreigner, had ever set foot before. Pasti was enchanted and set about building a home and expansive garden there, a transformative experience he recounts in Eden Revisited: A Garden in Northern Morocco (Rizzoli, 2019).

When gardeners are writers, the gifts of beauty are twofold: magnificent swaths of earth coupled by words generous enough to capture it. “Around here the winds themselves have identities,” Pasti writes. “The sea wind is a giant with icy breath. Even the trees—every apricot tree has its states of mind, every plum tree its shifts of mood.” With every sun-dappled image of ancient olive trees or field of flowers, Pasti invites readers to share his piece of paradise.

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Morocco garden
Front courtyard of Pasti’s house ("Eden Revisited"/Photographer: Ngoc Minh Ngo)
A small white-walled room in Tangier, Morocco, features red and white stripes on the ceiling and on the L-shaped banquet. Rest of the room is decorated sparingly, with a single, richly colored painting, a brass lantern, a green, red and white stripe rug, and a circular coffee table.

The candy-striped ceiling in La Di Dar, decorator Gavin Houghton’s Tangier hideaway ("Inside Tangier"/Photographer: Guido Taroni)

An arched upholstered headboard on a 4-poster bed mirrors the arch of an ornate, dark wood door frame in a Tangier bedroom. Both the headboard and bedspread are bright orange, adding a punch of color to the room’s light walls, dark woodwork, antique rug, and rust-colored tile floor. An ornate, dark wood chest sits at the foot of the bed.
A vivid tangerine bed in Dar Zero, a centuries-old home owned today by Marco Scarani and Jamie Creel of the Manhattan boutique Creel and Gow ("Inside Tangier"/Photographer: Guido Taroni)

The city of Tangier is as complex as the ancient tapestries, tile mosaics, and carved lattices that adorn its homes. Over centuries, it has been Carthaginian, Phoenician, Roman, Vandal, Berber, Arab, Portuguese, English, Spanish, and, finally, Moroccan—each era leaving its ornamental imprint. It’s fitting then, that in his new book, Inside Tangier: Houses & Gardens (Vendome, 2019), interior designer Nicolò Castellini Baldissera tells the city’s story through its décor.

An ocean view framed by an ornate, but simply furnished sitting room with banquets on three walls around a low circular table
Fresco-painted walls in the former home of Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent in Tangier (“Inside Tangier”/Photo by Guido Taroni)

The iconic home of Yves Saint Laurent is here, as well as the ornate Moorish palace owned by Woolworth heiress and legendary hostess Barbara Hutton. Not everyone we meet in Inside Tangier is famous, but what we do find is an artistic community with international sophistication united by love of place.

Decor & Jewelry Inspired by Morocco

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Wallpaper featuring muted blue, tan, and off-white in a geometric, detailed pattern
Thibaut 'Kalahari' wallpaper,
Moroccan-style intricate brass lantern
Jamali Garden 'Alhambra' lantern ($24),
gold cuff bracelet with multiple colors of stones embellishing either end
Temple St. Clair 'Oasis Bella' bracelet with tanzanite, ruby, tourmaline, and spessartite garnet ($12,500),
square stool, with seat and legs covered in a vintage-look Ikat fabric in tones of red, navy, teal, taupe and sand
Ballard Designs 'Nala' stool in 'Marlton Red' fabric ($439),
A traditional Moroccan slipper design with a contemporary twist. The intricate sand-colored pattern is hand-cut by leather artisans into vibrantly colored leather, available in green, fuchsia, and orange
Bohemia babouche slippers ($47),
Blue-and-white tile with an Arabic geometric pattern, like the ones seen in homes across Morocco
Clé Tile 'Moroccan 2 Petite Arabesque' in blue ($14.50/sq. ft.),
Moroccan-inspired earrings
Colette 'Marrakech' diamond studs ($1,975),
Throw pillows covered in a small, repeating geometric pattern on a solid background in various colors including gray on white, white on light blue, gray on orange, white on bright blue, white on muted green, white on muted pink
Thibaut 'Parada' fabric,

By Kirk Reed Forrester and Terri Robertson

Book covers for Inside Tangier: Houses & Gardens by Niccolò Castellini Baldissera with photography by Guido Taroni (Vendome, 2019); and Eden Revisited: A Garden in Northern Morocco by Umberto Pasti and Ngoc Minh Ngo (Rizzoli New York, 2019)Featured Books

Inside Tangier: Houses & Gardens by Niccolò Castellini Baldissera with photography by Guido Taroni (Vendome, 2019)

Eden Revisited: A Garden in Northern Morocco by Umberto Pasti and Ngoc Minh Ngo (Rizzoli New York, 2019)

Read Next: A Moroccan Dream Hotel & Gardens

Located in the center of Marrakech and dating back to the 18th century, La Mamounia’s lush grounds reflect the ancient Islamic ideal of the garden as an earthly paradise appealing to all the senses. See more.