One-of-a-kind clear backgammon boards filled with Sicilian salt and decorated with colorful triangles and multicolored pieces are the sculptures that New York artist Bettina Werner has created for the most spectacular event of the Venice Film Festival this year: The Salt Backgammon Tournament “Una Notte di Sale.”
An ancient monastery in the Lido of Venice, where some of Bettina Werner’s other sculptures—massive dice made of salt—were surrounded by hundreds of white candles, was the dramatic set for a cocktail party and a dinner for 300 guests. There, VIP players competed for first and second prizes that have been the ‘talk of the town’ throughout the Film Festival.
American shoe designer Stuart Weitzman, whose creations have adorned the feet of Hollywood stars on their red-carpet walks, was the sponsor of the evening.
A surprise for the winner of the tournament: he had to play an extra game with the Salt Queen—who almost won—on a huge salt backgammon sculpture the size of a king bed. But he finally won the coveted $5,000 salt backgammon sculpture board.
A big smile appeared on the face of the second finalist, too, when Stuart Weitzman presented the second prize: a pair of precious hand-made silk and crystal shoes inspired by Marilyn Monroe, and a matching clutch, for a total value of $4,000.
Prince Carlo Giovannelli, Countess Marta Marzotto, and her niece, Isabella Borromeo, rolled a salt dice for good luck on a big white salt sculpture while sexy Italian actors Alessandro Preziosi and Edoardo Costa hit the dance floor.
Thunder and pouring rain did not stop the thousand people who arrived for the after-dinner party around midnight, filling the cloister of the monastery and dancing until dawn to the special music selection by DJ Prince Maurice for the evening.
Also unfazed by the rain was Mothassan Gheddafi, whose arrival was announced by the flashes of dozens of paparazzi and a crowd of bodyguards and beautiful girls. He watched the dancing, sipping champagne, from the VIP section under the porch. Was he paying homage to New York or had he come simply because he had heard that it was the best party of the season?
Among the guests were also director and TV host Michele Mirabella, Professor Stefano Bonaga, Senator Ugo Bergamo, and many other VIPs and beautiful people, having fun under the stars. It was truly a night to remember!