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Sep 24, 2016 10:02 AM

Florence museum head defends party rental in Pitti Palace

The Associated Press

ROME (AP) — A wild bachelor's party at the Pitti Palace art museum in Florence?

Nothing of the kind, says museum director Eike Schmidt, who is defending the Renaissance palazzo's courtyard's rental, saying it was for a pre-nuptial dinner paid for by an Italian company president who was getting married Saturday in a Florence church.

Schmidt, who also directs the Uffizi Galleries, insisted in statement Saturday there was "nothing vulgar or excessive" about decorations in the courtyard for the party this week. Schmidt, a German art historian, expressed surprise about the fuss in some Italian media, since Italian national museums have rented out space for galas and parties for decades.

He says without revenues like the 70,500 euro ($79,000) rental fee, museums would have to raise ticket prices or renounce restoring artworks.

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