This week I received a welcome email from a visitor, who used the Research Library in January. Margarita Martinez is a costume designer based in Florence, Italy. She designs and creates historical ball gowns and for over 20 years her costumes have danced in the most magnificent ballrooms in Tuscany…more from her website
In her email, Margarita told me about two remarkable events organised by her recently. They were held in Florence during the weekend of 22-23 May 2010. The first, on Saturday, was a Grand Napoleonic Ball held at Villa del Poggio Imperiale to honour the bicentenary of Napoleon’s sister, Elisa taking up residence there. Guests were requested to dress in Napoleonic Court dress. The dances, led by historical dance master Donald Francis, were accompanied by an orchestra led by Maestro James Gray. An Empire Buffet Froid Supper with dishes of the period was also served.
Sunday was Jane Austen Day at Villa Gerini, a grand family home set in classical gardens on the outskirts of Florence. Guests dressed in Regency attire for a relaxing day of promenading around the lake, playing croquet, cricket and quoits, before changing outfits for a Regency Ball in the evening.
One reenactor described the weekend to me: “…it was absolutely huge, people came from all over the world to attend. On the nights of the rehearsal and [Grand Napoleonic] Ball I spoke to people from Sweden, Norway, France, Spain, Czech republic, Hungary, Switzerland, England, Italy and America. The settings were beautiful, with the dance rehearsal being held in the ballroom of the Palazzo Borghese all green marble and gold chandeliers, and then the ball itself at Villa Poggi Imperiale with amazing frescoed apartments and a grand white ballroom with an enormous chandelier.”
Margarita had 22 of her own costumes on the dance floors!
You can see Phil Thomason’s wonderful photos of the Weekend here.