Renzi invites the Obamas to visit Tuscany

Renzi invites the Obamas to visit Tuscany

Prime Minister likens President to a "Renaissance master"

Wed 19 Oct 2016 5:26 PM

During his visit to Washington this week, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi invited U.S. President Barack Obama to visit his hometown of Florence after his term ends in January for a taste of Italian gelato and Tuscan wine.

Photo via @WhiteHouse on Twitter

Photo via @WhiteHouse on Twitter

The former mayor of Florence and his wife, Agnese Landini, were feted with a lavish state dinner at the White House by Obama and his wife, Michelle Obama. It featured an Italian-style menu overseen by celebrity chef Mario Batali and a musical performance by singer Gwen Stefani.

Throughout the daylong events, the names of Italians who helped shape America’s history and traditions – Brumidi, Cincinnatus, Cicero, Cato, Piccirilli – were cited. As Renzi noted, it was “a young Italian called Amerigo Vespucci {who} gave his name to America.” And as Obama pointed out, “our declaration that ‘all men are created equal’ was penned by Thomas Jefferson, and it was a concept shared by his friend, also from Florence, Filippo Mazzei.”

Obama recalled his own travels to Italy, touring Tuscany with his wife before they had children, and later taking their daughters to Rome. “All of which,” he added, “has prompted Malia and Sasha to ask the question posed by generations of visitors to Italy – when can we go back?”

Later, as the two men offered toasts, Renzi, speaking in English, offered to serve as tour guide: “I think, Mr. President, that we can organize after the finish of your service, a dinner in Florence. After a little look in Uffizi Gallery, and in front of David,” then some Italian ice cream and “the Florentine wine and Tuscan wine we can taste.”  

That offer prompted Michelle Obama to quip they would visit Italy, “maybe more than you like.” The American first lady wore a rose gold, chainmail gown designed by Atelier Versace. The Italian first lady chose a silver filigree strapless gown with a floral pattern and a sweetheart neckline by Florentine designer Ermanno Scervino. Renzi wore a tuxedo by Armani – and Giorgio Armani was among the 382 guests.

Renzi thanked Obama from his perspective as a Florentine with a love for history, describing the president’s work as “the service of a {Renaissance master}” and highlighting how the two men have worked together “with the spirit of botteghe”, aiming to create opportunities for new and future generations. 


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