Florence Celebrates its Own 'Last Supper' Frescoes with Sumptuous Pop-Up Dinner Series
A new series of exclusive dinners celebrating Last Supper frescoes will take place across several iconic sites in Florence, and feature top-rated Tuscan chefs.
Mention the Last Supper and most people think of Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic Milanese fresco, but a new series of pop-up dinners that’s just launched in Florence aims to highlight the city’s lesser-known depictions of the infamous biblical banquet—by Renaissance painters such as Domenico Ghirlandaio, da Vinci’s talented contemporary.
Sponsored by Firenze Expo 2015, several dinners will be held now through September in the cloisters of three much-loved Florence monuments: the Basilica of Santo Spirito, Convent of San Marco and Ognissanti church. All were built between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries.
Top Tuscan chefs will mastermind the meals (Marco Stabile of Michelin-starred Ora d’Aria recently cooked for an invitation-only crowd to promote the program). The next dinner will take place July 2 at San Marco Cloister; chefs Maria Probst and Cristian Santandrea, of the lauded La Tenda Rossa restaurant in Cerbaia, will make the meal.
Then, Filippo Saporito will lead the July 16 event at Santo Spirito; followed by Entiana Osmenzeza’s September 10 dinner at San Marco; and Luca Landi’s September 24 menu at Ognissanti.
The evening begins with aperitifs and a tour of the edifice’s artworks, followed by a multi-course, regionally sourced dinner. At Santo Spirito, treasures include a beatific wooden crucifix by Michelangelo, and a recently restored Last Supper fresco by sixteenth-century painter Bernadino Poccetti in a rarely viewed side chapel. Colourful Last Supper frescoes by Ghirlandaio will be the focus of visits to both San Marco and the Ognissanti church.
At the preview event, 49 guests sat down at a 72-foot, candlelit table strewn with olive leaves in the Santo Spirito cloister, with views over the lush garden dominated by a giant gingko tree. Roast tomatoes with orange-flavoured olive oil, and caramelised guinea fowl with crunchy mint were accompanied with wines from Frescobaldi.
If all this whets your appetite, it’s best to book right away—tickets ($91 each) are going fast, but can be purchased here. Only 50-60 guests will be admitted to each dinner on a first-come, first-served basis. Buon appetito!
Valerie Waterhouse covers Italy for Travel + Leisure. You can follow her on Twitter at @val_in_italy.