Italy – 1 Destination, 3 Locations

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There’s no doubt that Italy is one of the most popular destinations in the world for weddings. This comes as no surprise considering that it can offer any scenic backdrop you might care for: Snowy mountains? Check. Rolling verdant hills? Check.  Stunning seascapes.  Check. And that’s before we get to the incredible food and wine available at fantastic prices.

With so many regions to choose from, we’re going to talk you through some of our favourites:

Tuscany

Tuscany, located in Central Italy, it is the quintessential choice for a wedding! If you’re traveling from London, you’ll get there in only 2 hours, arriving at either one of their two international airports in Pisa or Florence. This mild region is most famous for its landscapes; we’re talking vast green rolling hills, lush vineyards and contrasting rocky coasts. Once you’ve taken in the beauty of this land, try out the food! Tuscany’s local cuisine varies from light meals of unsalted bread and vegetable soup to its famous Tuscan steak served rare. If you’re feeling adventurous, why not try some wild hare or pheasant! Then wash your authentic meal down with some local Brunello di Montalcino.

Where to stay

Villa Mangiacane

Built in the 15th century, this majestic villa sits just a stone’s throw from the south of Florence in the area of Chianti Classico (and only a 20 minutes’ drive from Florence Airport) so it’s very easy to get to. After wow-ing at the classic renaissance exterior, you’ll check into one of their flawless 28 rooms; all offering fantastic views of the vineyards and gardens beyond.

Between exploring and wine tasting, you’ve got to try out one of their fine cooking classes, where you’ll handpick fresh ingredients and prepare a classic Italian meal – you might just discover you’re quite the Italian chef! Taste your masterpiece meal by having a picnic in the vineyard or dine by the pool. Speaking of dining, it’s the perfect setting to host your formal fine-dining rehearsal dinner in preparation for your big day.

Villa Mangiacane Tuscany

Where to get married

Villa di Ulignano

Villa di Ulignano is definitely one of our favourite venues in the region. Located in the historical city of Volterra, this 17th century villa just oozes antiquity and culture inside and out. Although it’s an hour’s journey from Villa Mangiacane, we can assure you it’s well worth the journey!

What we absolutely love about this venue is their relaxed and easy-going attitude to hosting weddings. Pretty much anything goes – bring in your all your own suppliers and just go for it.  It has just lovely outdoor spaces either using the villa itself as the backdrop or in the gardens which are perfect for anything from a ceremony to a pizza party using their brick built oven and BBQ. If the weather doesn’t play ball, the indoor ballroom is genuinely one of the prettiest and most versatile spaces we have seen in Tuscany.  The villa is only available on an exclusive hire basis but sensibly from Tuesday – Tuesday so you have a few days to settle in and double check your plans before a weekend wedding.  It also has 15 bedrooms (albeit one or two of them a little dated) to fill with your guests.

Villa Ulignano Tuscany

What to do locally

There’s definitely no shortage of places to explore while in Tuscany, either as part of your wedding week, or as the start to your honeymoon. Florence and Pisa are lovely cities of a really manageable size so a day each is enough to immerse yourself in the incredible art and architecture.  You definitely need to be pre-booking tours or access to the main hot-spots (like the leaning tower) – no-one wants to be queuing all day!

You’ll also want to make the most of the hundreds of vineyards and small independent wine producers in the region. A bike ride tour is the way to go here!  Orrrr…you can book a guided tour of the region with Red Travel where you get to drive an actual Ferrari.  No arguments about who gets to drink and who gets to drive – there are no losers in this scenario!

Puglia

Never heard of Puglia? Don’t feel bad, it’s not the most well-known region but boy is it up and coming. Puglia encompasses the entire heel of Italy and much like the dramatic rocky scenery of Croatia or Greece think rural, rustic and rugged. Flying from Gatwick, you’ll land in the Capital of Bari on Puglia’s east coast in just under 3 hours. Now it’s a little off the beaten track but your money can go really far here! To avoid the sweltering heat, get married here in late April/May or September/October when you’ll be greeted with pleasant warmth and lovely breezes.

Where to stay

Borgo Egnazia

If there’s one place to stay in Puglia, it’s this place! The estate is HUGE, absolutely huge. Rather than your usual hotel or villa, Borgo Egnazia is more of a village in itself – it’s all in the name Borgo – meaning village, (we suggest picking up a map on arrival!) and as with any village, there’s plenty of choice when it comes to picking accommodation to fit your needs. Book into a spacious family sized residence, a more intimate villa or one of the beautiful and comfortable rooms the main hotel if it’s just the two of you.

Being so large, there is something for everyone here – cooking classes, kids club, excursions, spa – or you can just head to the nearby beach to chill out.  Having hosted Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel’s wedding in 2012, they are well versed in luxury events too so it’s a great pick for your pre and post-wedding events.

Borgo Egnazia Puglia

Where to get married

Masseria Pettolecchia

La Residenza of Masseria Pettolecchia is a luxury private villa just waiting to host your wedding. Built in 1800, the villa holds onto the traditional beauty of Puglia but having been recently refurbished, it reaches a new level of luxury. Only a mere 8 minutes’ drive from Borgo Egnazia, you couldn’t ask for a more convenient venue!

When you book the Masseria Pettolecchia, you book it as a whole – it’s all yours! It offers a total of 5 suites and must be rented for a minimum of 7 nights. The panoramic views from your bedroom will ensure you see all the great olive groves that it hosts, creating a perfect ceremony setting. For your outdoor reception, bring in your own caterer or enjoy their own Mediterranean menu. After the celebrations, perhaps de-stress with horse-riding, windsurfing or diving? It’ll be an extraordinary week!

Masseria Pettolecchia Puglia

What to do locally

Puglia is famous for 2 things – Trullo (traditional conical architecture) and olive oil (there are over 60million olive trees in the region). Combine these by having a cooking class in a real trullo! Get yourself over to Gourmet Puglia where you’ll gain insight into the making of traditional Apulian food. It’s roughly an hour from Borgo Egnazia, but they are the best in the business and English speaking.

Get your sandals on and head to the beach. You won’t mind the 90-minute drive to San Pietro in Bevagna once you get a glimpse of the turquoise ocean. But if that’s still too far, don’t worry because Torre Guaceto offers a solid plan B with just a half hour journey.

Venice

We couldn’t leave the city of romance and dreams off our list! Hop on a plane at Heathrow and you’ll be walking the cobbled streets of Venice before you can say gondola! It really is a totally unique city; rich in culture, art and architecture so you’ll always be wearing your tourist hat! We’d say get married here in April or October to avoid those peak seasons where it gets too crowded and hot (and quite smelly!).

Where to stay

Spend your moments of peace and rest your head at the Aman Hotel. Sitting on the banks of the Grand Canal, the magic of Venice awaits at your doorstep.  The hotel is styled our favourite way – historical architecture and details everywhere but with modern furnishings and facilities.  The service is outstanding and the food – oh my goodness!  After all, this is where George Clooney married Amal Alamuddin (no big deal!). They have the most charming spa and be sure to check out the rooftop veranda for an afternoon coffee (or if you’re feeling special, for your own private breakfast!)

Aman Hotel Venice

Where to get married

Recite your wedding vows within the Chiesetta della Misericordia, a stunning 10th century church in Venice. The exterior stays true to its’ historic design and whilst the inside has been adapted to accommodate modern events, there are historic art treasures tucked away everywhere. The photos really don’t do it justice, but when it’s lit for an event it is absolutely incredible! The church itself can hold up to 200 people in one space (not easy to find elsewhere in Venice) and an agreement with a local convent gives you access to a lovely and well-sized garden (almost impossible to find in Venice!).

Chiesetta della Misericordia Venice

To do in the area

Walk around! Venice is one of those cities that you really just want to get lost in. Immerse yourself in this great city and see what you discover. Truly, just walk and walk and walk until you have no idea where you are! Once your legs tire, find an authentic restaurant in a peaceful street and rest up with a glass of its native Prosecco.

From your wanderings, you’ll have noticed wherever you look, beautiful artwork is looking back at you. As one of the art capitals of the world, take the opportunity to fully embrace all the art this ancient city has to offer.

 

Still not convinced? Check out our Pinterest board showing how gorgeous your wedding could be!

Who to work with

Having chosen your perfect location, you can start looking for suppliers.  Here are a few of our favourites – all offering services across Italy:

Salza Catering – Based in Pisa, Salza Catering is one of the best caterers in all of Italy! Their level is service is utterly flawless and their food is just as incredible. They don’t stop at food either, you can always count on them to help you with designing (should you not have the benefit of us on your team!)

La DogaressaYet another one of Italy’s top caterers, La Dogaressa just ticks all of the boxes when it comes to preparing an excellent cuisine. What we love is the no nonsense approach of the owners, so you’ll be sure to get the standard you pay for. They definitely get our stamp of approval.

Munaretto FlowersYou haven’t seen diversity in floral design until you’ve seen the work of Munaretto Flowers. They can put together vibrantly coloured swans or your classic champagne coloured centre piece. Is there anything this Venice based florist can’t do?

Reportage Sposi PhotographyWorking with Milan based photographer is a real pleasure! Specialising in fantastic high contrast photography, your wedding album will be far from mediocre.

Ambient Image If you prefer a softer photography style, check out Johanna’s work. Currently based in Italy for half the year (and her native US the rest of the time) Johanna offers services all over the world.

Latini DesignBased near Rome, Latini Design offer such lovely and unique modern furniture. Their creative minds mean that their furniture is totally different to everything else out there. Definitely worth a visit if you are looking to combine the best of the old world with the new.

 

Photo Credit: SLH, Exclusive Italy Weddings, Fantasia Villas, Egnazia, Borgo Egnazia, Fresh Home, Ppan, NY Times

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