As one might expect from a trip to Florence, culture and art were the order of the day for Prince Albert and Princess Charlene during their packed one-day visit to this beautiful Italian city.
The official motivation for travelling down the Mediterranean coast, from the Principality to the Tuscan capital, was the 160th anniversary of the Consulate of Monaco in Florence, which has been in operation since 1863.
On the morning of their visit, which took place on Wednesday 12th April, Prince Albert and Princess Charlene were welcomed to the city and the consulate by Alessandro Antonio Giusti, the Honorary Consul of Monaco in Florence. Giusti then led the Princely couple on a walk through the historic centre of Firenze.
Prince Albert and Princess Charlene were later joined by famed Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli and his wife, Veronica Berti, for a lunch in the Palazzo Gondi in the presence of Florence’s mayor, Dario Nardella, and other notable local dignitaries.
Following lunch, Bocelli treated the Princely couple to an intimate performance on the piano at the headquarters of his eponymous foundation.
The evening was cause for further celebration as Prince Albert and Princess Charlene, dressed in their finest, headed to the Palazzo Vecchio for a charity gala event for the benefit of the Prince Albert II Foundation, the Andrea Bocelli Foundation and the Instituto Degli Innocenti, Italy’s oldest childcare institution, at the Salone dei Cinquecento.
Ahead of dinner, Prince Albert was gifted a series of portraits of his mother, Grace Kelly, by the hand of well-known movie poster illustrator Nano Campeggi, before Giusti took to the stage to present a short history of the connections between Monaco and Florence.
Monaco Life explores the long history between Charlotte Casiraghi and legendary fashion brand Chanel.
As the daughter of Princess Caroline of Hanover and the granddaughter of the forever-elegant Grace Kelly, Charlotte Casiraghi is a style icon of the highest degree. She was born to be glamourous, a fact not lost on legendary fashion house Chanel, who named her as a brand ambassador back in 2021.
Her history with the fashion house, from casual wearer to brand ambassador, is hardly an accident. Her mother was not just a dear friend of the brand’s late Creative Director Karl Lagerfeld, she was also a stalwart adherent to the line.
This love of Chanel was clearly passed down to Charlotte, who began sporting the designer’s clothes as a young woman, memorably to Monaco’s National Day celebrations in 2005, where she wore a classic Chanel tweed skirt suit with a matching quilted handbag.
A love affair nearly two decades in the marking
She followed this up with several standout outfits: a peach chiffon gown at the 2006 Rose Ball; a pink off-the-shoulder cocktail dress for the wedding of her uncle Prince Albert II to Charlene Wittstock in 2011; a black tweed skirt suit at the 2012 Little Black Jacket Paris book launch celebrating Chanel’s indomitable style; a pale pink organza couture number for the 2013 Rose Ball; and a refined navy sweater dress at the 2017 Cruise Show, to name but a few. Indeed Charlotte even wore a bespoke Chanel gown to the reception of her wedding to Dimitri Rassam in 2019 (pictured above).
As a good brand ambassador, the 36-year-old was spotted in Chanel in March at the prêt-a porter fashion show spotlighting the 2023/24 Autumn/Winter line in Paris’ Grand Palais Ephémère.
She also wore one of the most talked about dresses of the recent Rose Ball in Monaco: a shimmering white floor-length gown trimmed in feathers, which came from this year’s Spring/Summer collection.
Perhaps her most enduring moment, though, was during Paris Couture Week in early 2022, when the keen equestrian opened the Chanel show by riding in on a beautiful horse. She wore a glittering black tweed jacket as her horse strode down the runway, making for one of the most memorable moments in fashion history.
Her status as ambassador was no doubt part of the reason that Lagerfeld’s successor, Virginie Viard, chose Monaco as the stage to debut the Chanel 2023 Cruise Collection in May 2022, which saw Casiraghi sporting a chic head-to-toe denim outfit replete with the signature Chanel quilted look.
“Charlotte represents Chanel’s style in a very authentic and natural way, while remaining true to her own universe,” said Viard ahead of the show.
The worlds of fashion and literature collide
But her role as ambassador is more than just wearing the latest fashions and turning up to amazing events. It also has a literary angle, an undertaking initiated by her called the Literary Rendezvous at Rue Cambon, where female writers are invited to talk about their work or on a specific theme.
Just a handful of tickets remain for the three days and nights of Amber Lounge events that, for 20 years, have dominated as the to-go after parties for Formula 1 drivers and Grand Prix fans alike.
It was in Monaco that the concept of Amber Lounge first saw the light. Now two decades on and with a fresh new team and vision, the signature “After Party” host is organising up a storm of stellar events from Friday 26th to Sunday 28th May.
The action kicks off on the Friday aboard a luxury 30-metre yacht moored on the Tabac corner of the famous circuit. Guests at this €650 per person experience will enjoy the adrenaline of a race just getting warmed up alongside an all-open day and Mediterranean buffet lunch.
Things will heat up further as the sun sets with a series of DJ performances from stars such as DJ Tom Jagger, DJ PHB and English house band the Goodboys.
The yacht will remain in place throughout the weekend of racing, although prices increase to €3,500 per person for prime track viewing on the Sunday.
Luxe take on clubbing at the Grimaldi Forum
Saturday and Sunday will see the party brand take over the Grimaldi Forum for two wild nights of world class entertainment and VIP appearances. Fatman Scoop, a longtime Amber Lounge figure head performer, will provide the soundtrack for Saturday night in addition to another set from the Goodboys. Tickets are in short supply and start at €600.
Formerly known as Sporty Spice, Melanie C will be in the house on Sunday for an exclusive DJ set. Tickets for Sunday begin at €800 per person.
Amber Lounge has described the upcoming Monaco Grand Prix as “bigger and better than ever before”, while Kimi Räikkönen has enthused the quality of its after parties as “only place to celebrate with friends and team members”.
“Every Formula One driver has Amber Lounge on speed dial after a race,” says the racing icon.
Do you have an event in Monaco or the French Riviera that you would like us to include in our What’s On section and events calendar? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Over the last week, stars from the world of tennis and beyond had descended on the 116th version of the event, billed as an “Ode to the Riviera”, as the clay-court season got underway in style in Roquebrune Cap Martin.
Here are some of the highlights of the week, both on and off the court:
The National Council has passed a new government law that allows for the creation of the Monegasque Autonomous Fund, as Monaco takes its final steps away from France towards an independent pension system.
“The Prince’s Government is delighted with the vote by the National Council, on Thursday 13th April, of bill n° 1.070 creating the Caisse Monégasque de Retraite Complémentaire,” said the government in a statement.
On Saturday 15th April, French President Emmanuel Macron signed his controversial pension reform into law, raising the retirement age from 62 to 64. It follows a similar move by former president Nicolas Sarkozy in 2010, when he raised the retirement age from 60 to 62.
For around a decade now, Monaco’s Department of Social Affairs and Health has been working with various entities to create a supplementary pension fund, which will enable contributors to manage their pension scheme themselves, taking into account the various contexts specific to the Principality of Monaco.
“The efficient and virtuous management of the AGIRC ARRCO scheme by the social partners within the framework of the Joint Committees has ensured its stability over the years, stability that has benefited employees and businesses in the Principality since 1965,” said the government. “However, French and Monegasque regulations on retirement have gradually diverged, particularly with regard to the legal retirement age.”
The creation of this Monegasque Autonomous Fund is the first concrete step towards the supplementary pension scheme for employees, which has been set for 1st January 2024.
“It is also a major and essential step in the continuation of discussions with AGIRC ARRCO which are taking place in a climate of mutual trust and which concern the practical and financial arrangements for the repatriation of the regime, as well as the financial guarantee which will be granted by the State of Monaco to the Fund in the event of failure of the scheme,” concluded the government.
From art to cars and history to the sea, here are the museums in Monaco that just can’t be missed.
With the school holidays upon us, many will be making plans to keep children interested, occupied and active over the next two weeks so here’s a list of our favourite museums to help you on your way.
Let’s start with the local powerhouse: the Oceanographic Museum or Musée Océanographique de Monaco. Beautiful both inside and out, it is housed in a gorgeous Baroque Revival building that overlooks the Mediterranean and boasts a dominant position on the coastline of the Principality. It was founded by Prince Albert I in 1910 and is home to collections and exhibits showcasing all things marine-based.
There is a vast selection of sea life in its aquariums but the real added value of this museum are the plentiful exhibits, from model ships and objets d’art to the lab from L’Hirondelle, the Explorer Prince’s first research ship, and the site where Nobel Prize winner Dr Charles Richet learned about anaphylaxis, the severe allergic reaction caused by things like shellfish and bee stings.
This non-profit museum is also home to many events and holiday camps for children through the Club Oceano. It’s currently open daily from 10am to 7pm. Tickets are €19 for adults and €12 for children aged four to 17.
Recently relocated in Port Hercule, the Automobile Collection of the Prince of Monaco is a car lover’s dream. Many come from the personal collection of Prince Rainier III, who amassed over 100 rare and classic vehicles over a 30-year period, including some serious gems such as the Bugatti Type 35 car driven by the unfortunately-named William Grover-Williams, the winner of the first Monaco Grand Prix in 1929. There are also some incredible examples of early automobiles, an army jeep, American classic muscle cars and a vast selection of Europe’s finest through the decades, from Ferrari and Rolls Royce to Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Lamborghini and the like.
The museum is open from 10am to 6pm. Adults can enter for €10, children aged six to 17 for €5, and under 5s come in for free.
The Nouveau Musée National de Monaco is home to an incredible collection of contemporary art housed across two buildings – the Villa Paloma and the Villa Sauber – as well as acting as a location for exciting modern art exhibitions. In 2023, for example, it is featuring a retrospective on American artist George Condo.
Spring opening hours are from 10am to 6pm. Entrance is €6, but free on Sundays.
The Musée d’Anthropologie Préhistorique was opened in 1902 by Prince Albert I. This fascinating museum lets visitors take a step back – way back – in time with a series of collections that include prehistoric fossils and artefacts excavated from sites around the Principality over the years. The exhibitions retrace the glacial and interglacial periods of the region, as well as documenting local human evolution. Over a million years ago, “the Côte d’Azur was already, for our distant ancestors, a privileged habitat site”, according to the website.
The museum is open daily from 9am to 6pm, and the entry price is €1 per person, but children aged four and under can visit for free.
Located in Fontvieille and founded by Prince Rainier III in 1995, the Musée des Timbres et des Monnaies de Monaco or the Stamp and Coin Museum tells the history of the Principality through, you guessed it, stamps and coins. There are many examples of rare items on display as well as the private philatelic and numismatic collections of Rainier himself. There are often special international exhibitions held here and visitors can also observe a range of vintage machines for stamp-making as well as old coin presses and tools for the trades.
The museum is currently open from 9.30am to 5pm. Tickets are €3 for adults and €1.50 for children aged 12 to 18.
Monaco’s maritime heritage demands a naval museum. Also located in Fontvieille, the Musée Naval de Monaco is home to naval objects from all over the globe and from ancient times to present day. There are over 250 items on display, including models of famous ships and pieces belonging to the private collection of Prince Rainier III. It is open every day from 10am to 6pm. Entry is €4 for adults and €2.50 for children aged eight to 14.
Once a chapel and school for young ladies, the Chapelle de la Visitation is now a museum. This Baroque beauty dates from the 17th century and houses pieces from Piasecka Johnson’s remarkable collection of religious art, which features masterpieces by Rubens, Zurbaran, Ribera and other great Italian baroque painters. It is open daily from 10am to 4pm, except Mondays, when it is open until 8pm.
And don’t forget the newly relaunched visits to the the Palais Princier de Monaco! While the working palace doesn’t really count as a museum, it is well-worth adding to your list of possible excursions in the Principality.