Italy Grand Chapitre
Lucca, October 1-4, 2020
Food, wine and culture at the highest level
" It was a very challenging Grand Chapitre to organise given the COVID-19 restrictions "

The National Bailliage’s 52nd Grand Chapitre was held in the beautiful Tuscan town of Lucca.

Tuscany is known for its landscapes, history, artistic legacy and its influence on high culture. Regarded as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance it has been home to many figures who influenced the history of art and science. Foremost among them is not only da Vinci but also the opera composer, Giacomo Puccini.

It was a very challenging Grand Chapitre to organise given the COVID-19 restrictions. Due to have taken place in April the pandemic moved everything back by six months.

The determination of the National Bailliage officers was stronger than any adversity. In strict compliance with the rules, it was possible to give life to a weekend that turned out to be a great party.

Presiding over the Induction Ceremony was our Bailli Délégué, Roberto Zanghi, in his capacity as a Member of the Conseil Magistral representing President Yam Atallah.

The premises were sanitised and anything in contact with people was disinfected, for example, with each induction the sword was sanitised as was the pen used to sign the Livre d’Or. Maintenance of social distancing, the use of surgical masks: every precaution was put in place by the organisers and gladly performed by the participants.

Despite COVID-19, the numbers speak of an extraordinarily beautiful Grand Chapitre. With 130 requests to be inducted, to respect the rules two ceremonies were conducted, one after the other. Over 200 people were at the Gala Dinner on the Saturday evening!

Together with the many Italians, fellow members from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Principality of Monaco, Russia, Sweden, and Switzerland were also present. A particular mention must be made for Lennart Bengtsson and Karin Hansen from Sweden who, together with Sven and Agneta Van Toor from Denmark made a six-day round trip by road to be with us.

Here is a synopsis of the programme crammed full of exceptional food, wonderful wine and events:

- Thursday 1st: Butterfly Restaurant (Michelin Star) in Marlia for dinner

- Friday 2nd: Vinci excursion including Leonardo's house), followed by Villa Medicea la Ferdinanda di Artimino. Choice for dinner: Buca di Sant’Antonio (Chaîne member, Michelin Star) or Il Giglio Restaurant (Michelin Star)

- Saturday 3rd: Induction Ceremony in the Church of San Francesco; All’Olivo Restaurant for lunch; fabulous Gala Dinner at Villa Rossi

- Sunday 4th: city centre walk followed by goodbye lunch at Agli Orti Restaurant.

In the brochure promoting the Grand Chapitre, Bailli Délégué Roberto Zanghi and Giovanna Elettra Livreri, Bailli of Toscana Francigena, wrote: “Give us four days of your time and we will supply you with history, myths, territorial excellences, food and wine at the highest level! You will experience the passion of the culture of knowledge and flavours in an extraordinary fusion!”

Despite the restrictions, the Grand Chapitre certainly lived up to these high ideals.

Bruno Peloi