‘Romeo & Juliet’ Costumes at the Zeffirelli Foundation

An exhibit at the ‘Romeo and Juliet’ costume show at the Zeffirelli Foundation

In a celebration of artistry, Florence’s Zeffirelli Foundation (piazza San Firenze 5) hosts a tribute to the work of Florentine director Franco Zeffirelli. Hailing from the extensive collection of the Cerratelli Foundation, 30 costumes used to create Zeffirelli’s magic in the film “Romeo and Juliet,” accompanied by photographs, sketches, and other unique artifacts, are on display through February 25 (open 10 – 6 pm, closed Mondays; admission €12).

Danilo Donati won an Academy Award for best costume design, in addition to Italy’s Nastro d’Argento, and the British Academy Film Award for careful reproductions of Renaissance outfits worn by Leonard Whiting (Romeo), Olivia Hussey (Juliet), parents, friends, relatives and other characters in this 1968 movie adaptation of Shakespeare’s romantic and tragic classic.

Zeffirelli was born into the world of style, his mother being a fashion designer and his father a wool and silk dealer.  Both Zeffirelli and Donati were collaborators of the movie director Luchino Visconti early in their careers.

As guests enter the show, the haunting soundtrack of “Romeo and Juliet” echoes through the room. The majestic beauty of the film, for which it won Academy awards in cinematography in addition to costume design, is brought to life. Ruby-colored jewels, dusty-blue velvet, and intricately designed stitching and beads adorn the sumptuous costumes. Patterns and swatches of fabric pinned to cardboard invite visitors to experience the evolution of process from the drawing board to the screen. (s.g. & r.c.)