|Save Venice Inc. has been restoring the art and architecture of Venice for nearly 40 years. Two weeks ago from July 16 – July 19, the New York based group held a four-day Palladian Gala in Venice, celebrating the 500th anniversary of the birth of architect Andrea Palladio and La Festa del Redentore, to raise funds for restorations in Venice.
The four days included dinners and luncheons at Palladian sites, cocktail parties in Venetian palazzi, visits to Save Venice restoration projects, lectures by experts in the field, and tours of Palladian sites.
The Palladian Gala Chairman was Mary Kathryn Navab and the International Gala Chairman was Francesca Bortolotto Possati. The 120 guests, all of whom share a passion for art and Venice, came from New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Europe, and South America.
|Several of the events were designed by Matteo Corvino, an architect, designer, and event organizer who has created events in Venice for, among others, Chanel, Pinault and Palazzo Grassi, and Teatro La Fenice. He has also designed events at the Grand Trianon at Versailles and a hunting dinner at the Petit-Trianon preceded by a concert at Marie-Antoinette's Theatre. His creativity impressed and amazed the guests throughout the four days.
Highlights included a Pre-Gala day for 35 guests, which included intimate visits to three Palladian Villas on the mainland with experts Patricia Fortini Brown, Tracy Cooper, Sonia Evers, Deborah Howard and Frederick Ilchman. Guests gathered for lunch at the beautiful Villa Marcello. There was a Palladio–inspired treasure hunt designed by Michael LaPlaca and generously supported by the Arthur Loeb Foundation. Opening night cocktails were held at Palazzo Polignac Decazes, generously given by Elizabeth Locke and John Staelin. This was followed by gondola rides, transporting the the guests through the canals of Venice and delivering them to the terrace of the Hotel Bauer for dinner.
|There was a Luncheon at a private Palladian Villa on the mainland, generously given by Mr. and Mrs. Julio Mario Santo Domingo.
There was a concert on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore, sponsored by the Francena T. Harrison Foundation Trust, followed by cocktails and dinner in the cloisters of the Giorgio Cini Foundation. Also designed by Matteo Corvino, the evening featured tables each adorned with a model of a different Palladian building. Each guest was treated to a custom designed glass piece created by Giampaolo Seguso of Seguso Viro on Murano.
|There was a garden luncheon and fashion preview of Sete-Cento at the former Zitelle Convent, now the Palladio Hotel & Spa, generously given by the owner and Save Venice board member Francesca Bortolotto Possati.
There were tours of Venice and Save Venice restoration projects lead by experts in the field, including Theodore K. Rabb from Princeton University, Deborah Howard from Cambridge University, and Frederick Ilchman of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. There was a Dinner in the cloisters of San Francesco della Vigna, where Save Venice has completed numerous restorations. This was given by Ristorante Do Forni.
|There were Lectures held in the Palladian Refectory on San Giorgio Maggiore and at the Hilton Molino Stucky; and a visit to the church of San Sebastiano, Save Venice’s current restoration focus, where guests learned about the intricacies of the restoration effort from experts David Rosand, Frederick Ilchman, Deborah Howard, Sonia Evers and Melissa Conn.There was also an on open house and lunch at Palazzo Corner Spinelli on the Grand Canal, the home of Rubelli, the world renowned creator of Venetian textiles.
Everything culminated on Saturday night when guests gathered at the Hotel Cipriani's Granai to celebrate La Festa del Redentore with cocktails, a five-course feast, a fireworks display over the lagoon, and dancing by the Cipriani pool with a midnight buffet. Matteo Corvino again, designed two spectacular long tables, surrounded by colored lanterns and adorned with stunning arrangements of fresh lemons.
|You can see by the schedule that if you followed it all, it could be exhausting. But the way these grand excursions work, people pick and choose what interests them most. There is social life and there is cultural life. And then there is simply being in Venice the gift.
Proceeds from the Gala will go toward the restoration of the church of San Sebastiano in Venice.
|Photographs by Mary Hilliard.|