There are two cocktails which are irrevocably identified with Venice: the Spritz and the Bellini. The Bellini was born in Venice’s most famous watering hole: Harry’s Bar. Owner and barkeep, Giuseppe Cipriani, created his bubbly celebration-in-a-glass in the 1930s. When he reopened his bar after World War II, he resurrected the cocktail and christened it “the Bellini” in honor of Giovanni Bellini, one of Renaissance Venice’ finest painters.
That Cipriani named his smooth and elegant cocktail for Bellini is particularly appropriate. Giovanni Bellini (c. 1420 -1516) shaped Venetian painting, bringing the best of Florentine technique to Venice while still maintaining the smooth sensuality that distinguishes Venetian painters from other Italians. His work doesn’t have the raw sexiness that would define Titian, his student. But his figures are soft, fleshy, and strikingly human.
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