Many celebrities of yesteryear and today have visited the Bernini Palace
, and it's easy to understand why. Set in the heart of Florence
, in a historic building that is part of the city's hotel history
, the Bernini Palace
is bursting with personality and soul, setting itself apart from the anonymity of so many of its rivals. Many well-known artists and celebrities have been welcomed by the hotel, from Sophia Loren to Giuseppe Tornatore, from Cocciante to Bong Joon-ho, but the time Simple Minds
visit is perhaps one of the most precious memories for those who work at the Bernini Palace.
Experimental, eclectic, electronic, iconic: Simple Minds
were one of the most important and influential bands of the 80’s and 90’s. The group formed in Glasgow in 1977, and after a series of successful singles they wowed world audiences in 1985 with "Don't You (Forget About Me)", from the soundtrack of The Breakfast Club, followed by other hits like "Alive and Kicking" and "Belfast Child".
Simple Minds have given the world unforgettable songs and sold 60 million albums, and they've never stopped. The original core line-up of Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill has been joined by new members, and the band continues to travel, create music and perform to sold-out venues today. One of their concerts led to an unforgettable story...
Don't You (Forget About Me)
was one of Simple Minds
' cult songs. And there is no way that could ever happen, especially at the Bernini Palace. In 2009, the band was in Florence for the first Italian leg of their "Graffiti Soul"
world tour, following the release of their Graffiti Soul album. The musicians arrived on two buses, pulling up in front of the Bernini and taking up residence on the fifth floor.
Little did they know that the hotel manager, David Foschi - who had worked at the hotel for twenty years - had been a huge fan of theirs since he was young. This was his moment, and he showed Jim Kerr, the voice and soul of the group, a treasure that he had long been guarding: an impressive collection of the band's vinyl records. "Are they reissues?" asked Kerr, struck by their perfect condition. No, every one an original, still wrapped in its cellophane and with the price in lire on the label.
So the singer decided to sign all the albums, and got the rest of the band to do the same. He then invited his number one fan to see them in concert that same night. “Bring whoever you like.” The manager didn’t need to be asked twice and gathered his staff together.
Just a few hours later there were about fifteen of them - "half the hotel", as David Foschi remembers, smiling today - dancing in front of the stage. It was an unforgettable and emotional day.
The next morning, as Simple Minds were leaving, Jim Kerr came out last and, as the time came to say goodbye, he paused at the door to ask the customary question: “How was the concert, David?”
"Fantastic, it took me back 20 years," said the manager.
“Me too,” answered Kerr. “Happens every time I sing.”