Secrets from the Wynn Hotel:
Olive-Oil Urns in Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare
“Because olive oil is the foundation of Italian cooking, honoring olive oil was my inspiration for the design of Bartolotta. The first thing we did was collect these really huge examples of olive-oil urns; we found them all
over, from San Francisco to Florence to London and Rome and Paris, to Athens and a couple of smaller Greek islands. It took us a little over a year to assemble the collection, and I believe we ended up with nine heroically scaled urns, and then several smaller ones; and they’re all anywhere from 100 to 300 years old.
The three largest are located in the stairwell; the whole restaurant was centered around this grand staircase and it was quite the acrobatic feat to install them there. As we were installing the largest one it had to be tilted upside down, and when that happened, much to our surprise, a two-page letter fluttered out of it. It was written during World War II, from an Italian woman to her husband. The first page explains how much she and her children love and miss him, while the second page is an account of the household expenses and a request for money. It was like a message in a bottle for us, a lovely kismet moment; we framed the letter and still have it today.”