Washington (CNN)President Barack Obama's final State Dinner Tuesday was a swirl of dolce vita diplomacy, Italian designer gowns and plates of Mario Batali pasta easing a bittersweet end to one of the presidency's best perks.
The dinner marked an final moment for Obama to deploy the lavish displays of friendship afforded the US commander-in-chief. But it also symbolized an end to the stylish, celebrity-friendly era of presidential entertaining the Obamas ushered in eight years ago.
Speaking Tuesday morning, Obama said he had "saved the best for last" in extending the most formal of Washington invites to Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Planning the event, the White House embraced the opportunity to go large, inviting more guests than any of Obama's previous 12 events and serving a meal oozing with continental flair.