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Silvano Marchetto, the Restaurateur Behind Da Silvano, Has Died

The famed NYC restaurateur who created one of NYC’s most famed celebrity hangouts passed away in Florence.

Silvano Marchetto

Silvano Marchetto. Photo: screenshot from https://www.youtube.com/@FrankieCooks

For certain New Yorkers, passing the stretch of 6th Avenue in Soho where Da Silvano stood for 41 years, until it closed in 2016, is like seeing a rip in the fabric of the city. For NYC’s biggest names in art, music, media, business, and politics, Silvano Marchetti’s steadfast Italian restaurant was the place to see and be seen. Appetito has received word out of Florence that Marchetto passed away on Tuesday, June 4 at the age of 79. A funeral was held for him yesterday in Florence, where he retreated after leaving NYC in 2016. 

His death is confirmed on Da Silvano’s Facebook page and on Instagram, where his longtime friend Aldo Antonacci posted a tribute.

Note: Screenshot photo of Silvano Marchetto from a YouTube interview with @FrankieCooks.

Marchetto studied cooking in Italy at Aurelio Saffi Technical Institute, going on to work in restaurants in Switzerland and France, and serving a stint in the Italian army, as he told the magazine Italiany in 2014. He then brought Tuscan cooking to New York City at a time when red sauce joints were (mostly) what passed as Italian. In a 2017 interview with Frankie Celenza on YouTube, Marchetto recalled that when he came to New York City, he loved the city but didn’t like what was happening in restaurants. “My food is really Italian,” he said.

Though it would eventually become known as a celebrity haunt, Da SIlvano earned the respect of diners and critics, including Ruth Reichl, who awarded the restaurant two stars in a 1998 review, writing, “In 1975 you could walk into this trendy Greenwich Village trattoria with the bare brick walls and find tagliatelle with a slow-cooked veal ragu that tasted just the way it would in Italy. The tagliatelle, cooked enough to make it supple but not enough to make it soft, was topped with sufficient sauce to coat each strand without overwhelming it. It's all still there.”

Born in Trento, Marchetto made Florence his home before moving to New York City. He opened Da Silvano at 260 Sixth Avenue in 1975. The interior decor emanated rustic charm; its outdoor patio became one of the best places to spot celebrities and the city’s rich and powerful. The New York Post’s Page Six reported on its clientele as well as Marchetto’s long running feud with Bar Pitti next door.

Just last year, The New York Times published a story, Desperately Seeking Da Silvano, where writer Alex Vadukul tracked down Marchetto in Florence. In the article, Marchetto reminisced about his celebrity clientele, saying, “Rihanna loved my taglierini contadina” and “Anna Wintour’s ex-husband used to love my rabbit.” An anecdote in the story has Marchetto visiting a market, where a vegetable stall operator asks him why he closed Da Silvano. “Because. The rent. My knees. Divorce.”

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