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Together with journalist Marisa Fumagalli, we are meeting Arrigo Cipriani, icon and symbol of Venice as well as owner of the famous Harry’s Bar. The haunt of the planet’s beautiful people for decades, the bar has recently been categorised as a “place of national interest” by the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage. Cipriani is the creator of two culinary myths: the “Bellini” and the “Carpaccio”.

Winner of the Masi Civiltà Veneta Prize 2011, Arrigo Cipriani is the natural embodiment of the award. “The man from the Veneto is in charge of his own destiny,” he observes during a delicious supper of bean soup served at “his” table, where we have the honour of dining. And who better than him to represent the man of destiny, capable of creating the tools to shape his own life according to his own needs? “This is the defining characteristic of many Venetian entrepreneurs,” he says, “even in moments of crisis, I’m sure; they know how to pick themselves up again.

Sig. Cipriani, tell us briefly about the legend of Harry’s Bar? What’s the secret of its success?

Complex simplicity. The source of luxury, real luxury. Made out of details. Almost unnoticed, but carefully studied. This room is an example. (4.5m x 9m in size). The lights, the background music, the bar top, the proportions of tables to seats, the size and balance of the cutlery and the glasses, the shape of the plates, the material used for the table cloths… Everything carefully designed for comfort.

The service in Harry’s Bar is out of this world.

It’s measured. The staff must have soul. Nothing is forced on the client. Waiters need to find their own style. The worst enemy of style is arrogance, the best friend is humility.

How much of the territory is in the food of Harry’s Bar?

Venice has a tradition of vegetable gardens and seasonality is respected much more perhaps than in other places. I myself have started a garden of purple artichokes on the island of Torcello. It’s a way of looking after the environment.

Read the full interview in the next edition of Le Venezie magazine, out in August 2017.
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