‘To Leo for a great Martini’
wrote Burt Lancaster in The Album of Memories of Leo Vadorini
In 1952 Enrico Mariotti was working on his project in Florence, to be known as “Boston Bar”. His friend Giuseppi Cipriani, founder of Harry’s Bar in Venice, persuaded him to use the name ‘Harry’s Bar’ instead, since, among other things, “Enrico” is Italian for Harry. From there began the story of one of the most renowned restaurants in Florence, known throughout the world thanks in no small part to the skill and understanding of bartender Leo Vadorini, a treasure so beloved worldwide that he was awarded the key to the City of San Francisco by Mayor Diane Feinstein.
From Florentine nobility to personalities from politics, cinema and international sport, everyone sat at least once at a table in Harry’s Bar in Florence. So many memories, in the words of Florence’s most famous barman. Fascinating anecdotes of the past with the likes of Paloma Picasso, Burt Lancaster, Margot Hemingway and Paul Newman, who walked away with a gift in his pocket, the bowtie of Leo that he liked so much, leaving in exchange an autographed photo. Of Robin Williams who managed to spill coffee on his shirt and so walked around all day in a T-shirt procured for him by Leo. Franco Zeffirelli, Elizabeth Taylor, whose husband refused to permit more than two photos, Chelsea Clinton, and the list goes on.
In the course of over 50 years, Harry’s Bar has seen the waters of the Arno pass by from its palce on the Lungarno Vespucci. But in all those years, Harry’s has never lost the characteristics that make a place out of the ordinary, with caring and kindness towards the customer and attention to every detail.