Lovers of the good life who attended the 9th Annual Festival Del Sole have certainly walked away with fond memories. Just as in years past, this year brought many magical highlights of the 10-day festival, from the Meadowood Gala to the Sphinx Orchestra, but none more stunning than the Bella Italia! tribute to Hollywood legend Sophia Loren at Far Niente Winery in the Napa Valley.
Napa Valley, Hollywood and culinary luminaries all came together to honor Academy Award-winner Sophia Loren, and her son, conductor Carlo Ponti at Festival del Sole’s “Bella Italia!” Tribute.
The room was filled with international luminaries and A-listers including Robert Redford, Francis Ford & Eleanor Coppola, Whoopi Goldberg, Margrit Mondavi, Jan and Maria Manetti Shrem, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, United States Congressman Mike Thompson, Far Niente proprietress Beth Nickel. Guests were in for a special treat as Ms. Loren was delighted with videotaped presentations from President Bill Clinton and Robert de Niro, along with a letter from George and Barbara Bush.
The crowd was also treated to a special performance by Ponti and the orchestra as they debuted Sinfonietta per Sofia by contemporary composer Daniel Brewbaker, a piece that was written in honor of Loren’s 80th birthday. Following the performance, Piero Selvaggio of Valentino Santa Monica and Chef Michael Chiarello of Bottega Napa Valley served a grand dinner inspired by Sophia Loren, which was paired with none other than Far Niente wines.
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