Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Three café's in Europe ... Florian, Venice / Greco,Rome / New York, Budapest.

 European Café's . A unique culture, and daily philosophy of civilization and life ...

 Caffè Florian is a coffee house situated in the Procuratie Nuove of Piazza San Marco, Venice. It was established in 1720, and is a contender for the title of the oldest coffee house in continuous operation (Antico Caffè Greco in Rome was established in 1760).

Coffee, which the Venetians first recorded in Turkey in 1585, began to be sold commercially in Venice in 1638, and coffee houses soon sprang up around the city. The Florian opened with two simply furnished rooms on 29 December 1720 as Caffè alla Venezia trionfante (the Café of the Triumphant Venice), but soon became known as Caffè Florian, after its original owner Floriano Francesconi. The elegant surroundings attracted many of the notables of the day including the playwright Carlo Goldoni, Goethe and Casanova, who was no doubt attracted by the fact that Caffè Florian was the only coffee house that allowed women, and later Lord Byron, Marcel Proust, and Charles Dickens were frequent visitors. It was one of the few places where Gasparo Gozzi's early newspaper Gazzetta Veneta could be bought, and became a meeting place for people from different social classes. In the mid-18th century the Florian expanded to four rooms.

 Valentino Francesconi, the grandson of Floriano Francesconi, took over the business at the beginning of the 19th century, and passed it on to his son Antonio, but by 1858, the establishment had passed into the hands of Vicenzo Porta, Giovanni Pardelli, and Pietro Baccanello, and was in need of some restoration. Lodovico Cadorin was commissioned to carry out restoration work and redecorate the interiors, but there was public outcry over the expense and because he was tampering with a much loved institution. However the work pressed on, and the interiors of the rooms were redecorated in opulent splendour and rebaptised with the names by which they are still known today.

Café Greco Roma

The Antico Caffè Greco (sometimes simply referred to as Caffè Greco) is a historic landmark café which opened in 1760 on 86, Via dei Condotti in Rome, Italy. It is perhaps the best known and oldest bar in Rome and within Italy only Caffè Florian in Venice (established in 1720) is older.
Historic figures including Stendhal, Goethe, Bertel Thorvaldsen, Mariano Fortuny, Byron, Franz Liszt, Keats, Henrik Ibsen, Hans Christian Andersen, Felix Mendelssohn and María Zambrano have had coffee there. Today it remains a haven for writers, politicians, artists and notable people in Rome.

Café New York Budapest

The Boscolo Budapest Hotel, formerly the New York Palace (Hungarian: New York-palota) is a luxury hotel on the Grand Boulevard of Budapest's Erzsébet körút part, under Erzsébet körút 9-11, in the 7th district of Budapest, Hungary. Built by the New York Life Insurance Company as a local head office, its Café in the ground floor named New York Café (Hungarian: New York kávéház) was a longtime center for Hungarian literature and poetry, almost from its opening on October 23, 1894 to its closure in 2001, to reconstruct it into a luxury hotel, as it is now. The café was also reopened on May 5, 2006 in its original pomp, as was the whole building.

The New York Life Insurance Company assigned architect Alajos Hauszmann, to plan the company's hall building in Budapest. Hauszmann, with Flóris Korb and Kálmán Giergl planned a four story eclectic palace, with a café on its ground floor. The building and the café opened on October 23, 1894. The statues and other ornaments on the front side of the building, as well as the ground floor café's 16 imposing devilish fauns, each one beside the café's sixteen windows, are the works of Károly Senyey.
The building was nationalized during the communist era. After the collapse of socialism, the palace was bought by Italian Boscolo Hotels in February 2001. The building was totally renovated, and reopened on May 5, 2006 as a 107 room luxury hotel, with the Café, also totally renovated, on its ground floor.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Villa Kerylos

Villa Kerylos in Beaulieu-sur-Mer is a Greek-style property built in the early 1900s by French archaeologist Theodore Reinach, and his wife Fanny Kann, a daughter of Maximilien Kann and Betty Ephrussi, of the Ephrussi family.
Madame Fanny Reinach was a cousin of Maurice Ephrussi, who was married to Béatrice de Rothschild. Inspired by the beauty of the Reinach's Villa Kerylos and the area they built the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild at nearby Cap Ferrat.

 A Greek word, "Kerylos" means Halcyon or kingfisher which in Greek mythology was considered a bird of good omen.

Reinach admired the architecture, interior decoration and art of the ancient world and decided to recreate the atmosphere of a luxurious Greek villa in a new building. He purchased land surrounded on three sides by the sea on the tip of the Baie des Fourmis at Beaulieu-sur-Mer which he felt offered a location similar to that of coastal Greek temples.

Reinach selected as architect Emmanuel Pontremoli, who drawing on this travels in Asia Minor designed a faithful reconstruction of the Greek noble houses built on the island of Delos in the 2nd century B.C. and laid out the building around a open peristyle courtyard

Construction of the building began in 1902 and took 6 years to complete.  The interior integrated influences from Rome, Pompeii and Egypt with the interior decoration overseen by Gustave Louis Jaulmes and Adrian Karbowsky.Stucco bas-reliefs were created by sculptor Paul Jean-Bapiste Gascq.

Reinach commissioned exact copies of ancient Grecian chairs, tabourets and klismos furniture kept in the National Archaeological Museum in Naples from the cabinetmaker Bettenfeld. Other were to original designs by Pontremoli.

The building incorporated all the latest modern early 20th century features including plumbing and underfloor heating.

Upon his death in 1928, Reinach bequeathed the property to the Institut de France, of which he had been a member. His children and grandchildren continued to live there until 1967, when the villa was classified as a Monument historique. It is now a museum open to the public.

Photographs courtesy