Every round-number anniversary deserves a celebration, and Palazzo Tornabuoni knows how to celebrate like nowhere else on earth, especially when it comes to the Palazzo's tenth anniversary. On May 16, the members of Florence’s private residence club flew in from all over the world for a night to remember: Andrea Bocelli singing in the birthplace of opera.



The evening got underway in the sumptuous surroundings of Stefano Ricci’s bespoke menswear boutique in via dei Pescioni as Don Perignon flowed and petit canapés were lavished on the select circle of guests from Palazzo Tornabuoni. Among the pietra serena pillars and Liberty-style glazed ceilings, tailored suits perched inch-perfect on eagle-beaked stands as the designer’s son Niccolò Ricci spoke about the store’s ten-year anniversary and Veronica Berti, Andrea Bocelli’s wife and vice-president of ABF Andrea Bocelli Foundation, explained the association’s charitable endeavours in addition to thanking the members of Palazzo Tornabuoni for their generosity.



Back upstairs on the Palazzo’s piano nobile, shimmering chandeliers welcomed us into the sublime Sala delle Muse, where Jacopo Peri’s Dafne, the world’s first opera, was performed in 1598.



President of Palazzo Tornabuoni Gabrielle Taylor thanks the Palazzo's members



“This is truly the most magnificent evening and I am so honoured to have all of you here,” commented Gabrielle Taylor, president of Palazzo Tornabuoni, as applause rang out. “Our members have travelled from all over the world to be here for one night only…We are here in the Sala delle Muse, where opera as an art form was created. It is a dream to have Maestro Andrea Bocelli here this evening.” 


The frescoed hall hummed with anticipation as arts patron Maria Manetti Shrem, a close friend of the Bocelli family and a Palazzo Tornabuoni resident, presented Andrea Bocelli with a honorary membership to the Palazzo.



Maria Manetti Shrem (left) presents Andrea Bocelli with a honorary membership to Palazzo Tornabuoni with Veronica Berti, Bocelli's wife (right)



“We are all here from around the world because of our love for Florence and Italy, which we are demonstrating through our contributions to the ABF Andrea Bocelli Foundation,” explained Maria Manetti Shrem.


Then came the much-awaited moment as the famous tenor treated the members to an unforgettable concert comprising three songs: ‘Ave Maria’ and ‘O Sole Mio’ before being joined by talented Cuban soprano Maria Aleida for the lively duet ‘Libiamo ne’ lieti calici’ from La traviata.



Andrea Bocelli with soprano Maria Aleida



Opera still ringing in the air, the Ricci family generously ushered guests into the Palazzo’s lounge for an exclusive dinner catered by three Michelin star restaurant Enoteca Pinchiorri.


The evening’s monies, which amounted to 100,000 euro, have been invested in the reconstruction of a school in Muccia, in the Marche region, which was devastated by the 2016 central Italian earthquake. The music room in the new institute, expected to open by the end of the year, will be named Sala delle Muse, in recognition of the generous donations pledged by Palazzo Tornabuoni members.


The tenth anniversary celebrations at Palazzo Tornabuoni have also included Florentine photographer Massimo Listri’s Classical Antiquity exhibition; a Sicilian-themed night with artisan jewellery makers Alvaro & Correnti, a private tour of the Uffizi; an exclusive gala dinner at Palazzo Gondi with the Marchesi; and a preview of the Aquazzura footwear collection.

Support The Florentine

The Florentine is still here.

“Thank you, The Florentine, for the support you’ve offered to the city of Florence during such a difficult time.”


We’ve kept our promise to stand by your side during lockdown with real-time updates on legislative changes to inform local readers; with thoughtful words and iconic photography in Healing not Broken, a commemorative special issue; a more frequent and redesigned newsletter; and TF Together, our live interview series on Facebook and YouTube.

We’re bruised, but alive. We’re hurt, but refuse to break. Our advertising revenue has all but vanished, but we are striving to stay true to our mission as the English News Magazine in Florence since 2005. It’s thanks to our readers, the international community of Florence, wherever you are in the world that we are still afloat as Covid-19 relinquishes its grip on Italy and the economic crisis begins to bite.

If The Florentine is here tomorrow, it’s thanks to you.

Please donate to help us continue our coverage from this city we love.

Our request

We’re asking Florence lovers, here in Italy, in the US and further afield, to pledge what you can to guarantee coverage in the short- and mid-term.

Donation Total: €20,00

more articles