Italian Renaissance Celebration

Life’s milestones need to be marked with celebration, and this lucky birthday guest of honor had a three-day weekend celebration to commemorate hers. The main event, which by chance fell on her actual birthday, was more than just a celebration of life and friendships, it was a party to rival all parties, one not to be missed, and one not to be soon forgotten. 

Overlooking the Arno River that snakes its way through Florence, the 17th century Palazzo Corsini is a late baroque creation distinctly marked by wonderful statuary, terracotta vases, and a main U-shaped courtyard and an ideal setting for this Renaissance-themed celebration. The architecture, the pitch of the roof, the balustrades, and most definitely the interior décor, all quintessentially Renaissance Florence. 

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Every detail from start to finish was meticulously planned to ensure guests had a true Florentine experience. Hosts dressed in Renaissance-era attire welcomed guests as they arrived for cocktails in the courtyard. Classical musicians, costumed performers, jugglers, sketch artists and magicians entertained the adults and children for the 45 minutes leading up to dinner. A square cocktail bar was set in the middle of the courtyard, and to demarcate the area, boxwood hedges with large balls of over-scaled hot pink carnations rested in gorgeous urns. Typical of 17th century architecture, anteroom after anteroom of paintings by some of the world’s outstanding Renaissance artists covered every wall.Typical of 17th century architecture, anteroom after anteroom of paintings by some of the world’s outstanding Renaissance artists covered every wall.

The grand entry staircase leading into the Corsini was covered with a Schiaparelli pink carpet and flanked by ornate, gold candelabras. Drapes trimmed in ivy with pullbacks made of shocking pink carnations added another touch to an already opulent setting. The Palazzo’s magnificent ballroom was transformed into our dining room for the evening and staged with three long tables set for a banquet. The room was absolutely breathtaking with two giant wooden chandeliers hanging over the tables that created a dramatic setting. 

Typical of 17th century architecture, anteroom after anteroom of paintings by some of the world’s outstanding Renaissance artists covered every wall. When dinner concluded, guests descended down a long hallway to three rooms set for a different purpose: one for cheese and after dinner drinks, another for desserts and the last transformed into a modern disco with a glittering silver metallic floor, a small stage and chic cocktail tables for gathering. Its intimate feel was the perfect environment for the surprise performance by Kanye West. Needless to say, our guests and the guest of honor were beyond thrilled.

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Directly off the disco was an outdoor lounge set for smoking and relaxing, a truly ideal escape. Groupings of furniture overlooking the Arno became everyone’s favorite gathering place to relax and enjoy the clear starry sky of Florence. The party finally quit in the wee hours of the morning, just before sunrise.

--Colin Cowie