An Instant Friendship

My friend Maria Manetti grew up in Florence, moved as an adult to California, and helped introduce Gucci to an American clientele. I met Maria in St. Barts and we hit it off instantly. She is a fascinating woman, and we talked forever about spiritual laws and love, and about her passions, Italian art and opera. She is a philanthropist and has done so much to support opera and the arts.

A Successful Lunch Date

A year ago Maria held a luncheon in her home, Villa Mille Rose, a 60-acre estate in Napa, and invited her friend Jan Shrem, an art collector and owner of Clos Pegase Winery. Apparently the lunch went well because the two lovebirds were married in San Francisco’s City Hall last Valentine’s Day!

But the celebration did not stop there. Last weekend Maria and Jan threw an extravagant black-tie Harvest Moon Ball to celebrate their union with friends. Michael and I were so honored to be included.

We were greeted with Bellinis made from the white peaches growing in Maria’s orchards! And we drank plenty of Clos Pegase wine throughout the evening!
Maria loves to entertain, and does so with such style, grace, and elegance.
Since her breathtaking home is named Villa Mille Rose, there was a rose theme. Everything was pink! Pink silk fabrics. Napkins embroidered with pink. And pink roses of course… thousands of them.

Roses in the pool

The crowd was so diverse, as Maria has made so many wonderful friends… from Sandy Weill to Nancy Pelosi to Thomas Keller to Lidia Bastianich to famous opera singers and wine makers. We were served a glorious gourmet four-course dinner, and serenaded by several opera stars.


Maria changed from a bright blue couture gown to a traditional wedding dress after dinner. Then the bride and groom cut the cake.
We all shared Champagne and the bottle was autographed by Luciano Pavarotti!
We danced and sang until 2 in the morning. It was a night to remember! Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Shrem, and thank you for an evening we will remember for a lifetime.
(special thanks to the San Francisco Chronicle for the wedding pictures!)