Genoa and San Francisco via New York
Taking in the sun on a lazy Sunday in the West Village New York. Photo: JH.
The Venetian Heritage gang, before they convened for their Biennale Weekend in Venice last June 9 through 12, first met for three days in Genoa for one of the grandest of small, private grand tours.

Evelina Shapira and Pierre Durand
Genoa was once the great rival of Venice, as a maritime republic. It was also the birthplace of Paganini and arguably Cristoforo Colombo (Columbus to us). Genoa today has many architectural references to the speed and treachery of modern man but it is still a city full of reminders of its brilliantly colorful past. Much of its treasures are not available to public perusal, although the friends of Venetian Heritage, with their supporters and connections were able, through their Genovese friends, to have the privilege of visiting private palaces with superb collections of art as well as splendid churches and museums.

Privilege is the operative word here. The stay was short otherwise – three nights and two days, but it included dinners as guests of the owners in two of the greatest palaces in Genoa – the Palazzo Nicolosio Lomellino di Strada Nuova and the Palazzo Durazzo Pallavicini. The Palazzo Durazzo Pallavicini, where guests were received by its owners, Marchese Marcello and Marchesa Sandra Cattaneo Adorno, contains one of the finest Italian collections (not open to the public) of Old Masters of the 15th and 16th centuries.

There were receptions and visits to private palaces and luncheons in private clubs. They visited the Palazzo Pareto Spinola which is now owned by fashion designer Andrea Oricini. Count and Countess Carlo Giorgi di Vistarino gave a luncheon at their beautiful house La Rocca de Giorgi. The villa is a vast, sprawling complex dating to the end of the 18th century and is well known to lovers of "la caccia” and wine.

Piero and Capinetta Benini
On the first night there was a welcome reception at Belvedere Montaldo where the privileged were received by the owners, Count Giovanni and Countess Richele Guicciardi. The following day, there was a guided visit to Palazzo Reale, built in the 17th century for patrician families as the Balbi, the Durazzo and the Savoia. That evening, after much touring, there was a dinner at the Palazzo del Principe (built in “500 by Andrea Doria”), preceded by a short Pagnanini Concert played by the violinist Maestro Luigi Alberto Bianchi and by Maestro Preda.

The following day it was up at and at ‘em for a guided visit to Palazzo Bianco which has an important collection of European, Italian and Genoese paintings such as Caravaggio and Veronese. This was followed by lunch at Palazzo Nicolosio Lomellino di Strada Nuova which was built in 1563, and which contains important frescoes by Bernardo Strozzi and a recently restored garden of 1711. From there it was a visit to the Palazzo Spinola di Pellicceria and then dinner that night at the Palazzo Rosso where visitors could see another prestigious collection of paintings by major Genoese, Flemish and European artists.

Brett Price and Marjorie Reed Gordon
The following day, the last, there was a lunch at La Rocca de’Giorgi hosted by its owners, Count Carlo and Countess Lavinia Giorgi di Vistarino. “La Rocca…” is a vast complex from the end of the 19th century, famous for its excellent wine and great shooting.

A big crowd made the excursion to Genoa including HSH Prince Amyn Aga Khan, Paul and Daisy Soros, Marjorie Reed Gordon, Prince and Princess d’Arenberg, Kenny Lane, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, Prince and Princess Michael of Greece (the princes are cousins), Donald and Muffie Miller, Patricia Patterson, Ariane Dandois and her daughter Ondine de Rothschild, Mimi Stafford, Judy Taubman, Doda Voridis, Paul Wallace and Saundra Whitney, Jay Krehbiel, Mrs. Frederick Krehbiel, Mr. and Mrs. George Lindemann, Tom Quick, John Mashek, Mr. and Mrs. David Brodsky, David Beer, Alexis Gregory, Mai Harrison, Betsy Lovett, Larry Lovett, Evelina Shapira, Trevor Traina, John Traina, Kristen van Riel, Bridget Restivo and Francois Borne.
Evelina Shapira and Marchesa Francesca Patrizi
Judy Taubman and Dimitri Mavromatis
Kay and Jay Krehbiel
Trevor Traina and Muffy Miller
Helen Vatis, Doda Voridis, and Princess Marina of Greece
Saundra Whitney and Marjorie Reed Gordon
Pat Patterson, David Beer, and Priscilla Miller
Paul and Daisy Soros with Adele and Carlo Croce
Conte Cesare Castelbarco Albani and Patrizia Signorini
Prince and Princess d'Arenberg
Maria Laura Guicciardi and Ottavio Mazzola
Clockwise from top left: Dining at Palazzo del Principe; Julien de Rothschild; Betsy Lovett and Elisabeth Colledge; Marchesi Alberto and Barbara Berlingieri.
Conte Matteo Bruzo with and Frayda and George Lindemann
Caroline Brodsky, Pat Patterson, and Elizabeth Battle
Kristen van Riel and Alexis Gregory
Kenny Lane and Pat Patterson
Elizabeth Battle and Treadwell Covington
Clockwise from top left: Alexis Gregory, Stephane Bloch Saloz, and Julien de Rothschild; Anna Pisano da Neri, HSH Prince Amyn Aga Khan, and Ariane Dandois; Jay Krehbiel, Kay Krehbiel, Elizabeth Battle, Treadwell Covington, and Julien de Rothschild.
Prince and Princess Pierre d'Arenberg
Contessa Elena Bruzo and Francois Borne
Rachele Guicciardi and Princess Michael of Kent
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San Francisco Social Diary
by Jeanne Lawrence for NYSD

The San Francisco Ballet celebrated the opening of its 72nd season
with “A Masked Ball” theme that set the tone for an opulent Venetian-esque evening of romance and revelry.

The dazzling gala also marked Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson’s 20th anniversary leading the ballet company that is the third largest in the US and certainly one of the most innovative. You might remember Helgi from his 15 years as a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, not to mention his work with the Joffrey and Harkness Ballets.

It took several venues to accommodate the sell-out crowd.
About 950 benefactors and patrons dined in City Hall amid Venetian and Veronese backdrops while across the street in the War Memorial Opera House Café, 350 members of the Encore group (young professionals) partied in an Italian villa setting.
City Hall goes Venetian
Not to be outdone, the women of San Francisco donned their most glamorous evening gowns for this sublimely stylish soirée.

The A-list crowd included socialites, members of the old and new guard, the business world and Hollywood including: actors Sean Hayes, Hector Elizondo, and director Garry Marshall (The Princess Diaries), Kathy and Nick Hilton with starlet daughter Paris Hilton, gala chairwoman Alison Carlson, Mayor of Oakland Jerry Brown, S.F. Chronicle editor Phil Bronstein (Sharon Stone’s ex), Chal de Guigne, contemporary art collectors Nora and Norman Stone, Frank and Daru Kawalkowski, Pres. of the Ballet Auxiliary Lis Petkevich, Yuri and Carl Pascarella (President of Visa), Malcolm and Therese Post, Lucy and George Jewett III, producer Carol Shorenstein Hays and Dr. Jeffrey Hays, symphonic benefactors Dr. Timothy Blackburn and his wife, Athena Troxel Blackburn, businessman Alex Mehran, Chandra and Bob Friese, vintners Andre and Gretchen de Baubigny, Ingrid and Ruben Hills III (Hills Coffee), Ann and Bob Fisher, grand dame Denise Hale with Sharper Image founder Richard Thalheimer, Hearst Magazines’ Claudia Ross.
Gala Chair Alison Carlson in Carolina Herrera
Gala Chair Karen Caldwell in Lily Samii
Dede Wilsey
Yurie Pascarella in Christian Lacroix
Claudia Ross
Paris Hilton in Ellie Saab
Alexis Swanson
Daru Kawakowski
L. to r.: Opulence on display; Cheryl Baxter and Jenny Baxter in Badgeley Mischka.
Kathy and Rick Hilton with Rosalina and Martin Lydster
Masked revelers
Donna and Chuck Huggins
OJ Shansby
Suzanne and Charles Thornton
Frank and Daru Kawalkowski with Peter Brandenhoff
Festive Flora
Celebrating San Francisco Ballet's 72nd season
After dinner, the guests hastened to the Opera House where the Company performed 13 classical and contemporary pieces. The program began with San Francisco Ballet School students performing Irina Jacobson’s Polonaise and included the world premiere of Tomasson’s Bagatelles. The finale from George Balanchine’s Who Cares? was performed to George and Ira Gershwin’s “I Got Rhythm” featuring 24 dancers.

Those with energy to spare were treated to a post-performance party that lasted until the wee hours, with a buffet highlighting the skills of 20 Bay area chefs, drinks galore and live music from The Zippers, Tim Hockenberry and the Back Burner Blues Band.

July 25, 2005, Volume V, Number 128


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© 2006 David Patrick Columbia & Jeffrey Hirsch/