An Art Hotel in Florence Hotel Il Guelfo BiancoMin. reading
A coffee ‘da ritti’ with the artist Silvio Loffredo
Today I will tell you a story that every art lover in Florence will enjoy. Actually, I think it would attract the attention of all people who appreciate 20th century paintings and that are searching for one more reason to spend a weekend in Florence, maybe at the art Hotel in Florence Hotel Il Guelfo Bianco.
Let’s talk about Silvio Loffredo, a post-expressionist artist born in France who, in 1940, chose to settle in Florence, becoming one of the most important artistic and cultural points of reference of the city. Loffredo exposed his works all around the world, New York, London and Paris among the numerous cities that had the privilege of hosting him from the post-war years onwards.
Knowing that, you will now understand how proud I am that one of his works, Il Battistero (Baptistery), was one of the first paintings in our collection to be exposed at the art Hotel Il Guelfo Bianco of Florence. As soon as we purchased it at the Galleria Il Ponte, we couldn’t wait for it to be delivered. Days passed but nothing was delivered. We called the gallery and they told us that the artist was adjusting the work in order for the colours to be more vivid.
We waited for more than a month. Once dried, the painting was hung at the entrance of the hotel to our great satisfaction, considering that the final adjustment of Loffredo enhanced one of the features that had struck us the moment we made our choice : its chromaticism.
A few months later I was informed by our concierge of a very peculiar fact: an old man, in the mornings, would have a look around the ground floor of the hotel, stopping a while in front of the Baptistery of Loffredo. Once he had finished his tour, he would politely say goodbye and leave.
You won’t believe it, but one day I arrived at the hotel very early in the morning and in the hallway I got the chance to meet this nice old man who turned out to be the artist himself, Loffredo! I asked if I could offer him a coffee, but he refused, very shy and reserved as he was.
We didn’t see him again for two months at least. When I finally saw him again I was happy to hear him say “Is your offer of coffee still valid?”
From then on, once I got to know that Loffredo was a client of the bank in front of our hotel, it became a habit for me and him to get a coffee together ‘da ritti’, the coffee that you drink standing, as we were real Florentines, having a lovely chat and admiring the Baptistery, such a pleasant presence in our art collection.
When I think of how we first met, by chance, and how we would often meet afterwards it reminds me of a phrase that someone once said: “ Shyness is just the side effect of a precious gift that has to be appreciated and protected: sensitivity”. And Silvio Loffredo never lacked this essential gift.
I wait for you, Alessandro Bargiacchi