In Italy, there are literally limitless destination wedding locales from which to choose: Rome, Florence, Venice, Tuscany, Capri, Lake Como—the list goes on. Each city/region has its own unique selling points, so much so that it could take months to narrow down the options. But there's one general way to host an intimate, upscale affair, no matter "the where," and that's by renting your own Italian villa. Choosing one central location that's exclusively used for your wedding is a foolproof way to bring your friends and family together, allowing your guests to hang and get to know each other beyond the wedding day events, plus give you full access to all the villa's venues for a gorgeous ceremony and reception.
Read on for a few of our favorite Italian villas:
Villa Sola Cabiati, Lake Como
The former summer residence of the Serbelloni Dukes has been privately owned since the 1500s. Now, for the first time, the villa is exclusively open for guests of Grand Hotel Tremezzo, a storied nearby resort (with an epic pool that floats on top of Lake Como). Couples can rent the villa for everything from a romantic dinner to a photo shoot or a wedding, which ranges from single-day use to three nights or a week. Longer rentals include use of the villa's six suites to house your family/bridal party—or yourselves, if you want the bragging rights of having slept in a bed once owned by Napoleon and his wife Joséphine de Beauharnais. It's hard not to feel the history of the place all around you, what with the Neoclassical architecture, marble balconies, and elaborate Italian gardens—the perfect set-up for an outdoor ceremony that begins with your grand entrance down the villa's steps.
Villa Pliniana, Lake Como
Sereno Hotels made a big splash with the recent opening of Il Sereno, sister property to St. Barth doyenne Le Sereno and the first ground-up construction on Lake Como in decades. Award-winning designer Patricia Urquiola led the charge for a contemporary alternative to Como's more buttoned-up grand dames. She likewise re-envisioned the nearby Villa Pliniana, a 16th-century estate that can now be rented on a weekly basis for weddings of up 300 (we love the exterior lawn for a ceremony overlooking the lake). The villa also boasts 17 suites, a spa, indoor pool, spacious living room (with gold-accented vaulted ceilings), and a fountain-clad outdoor pavilion that's perfect for a seated dinner. You may not be able to top Spotify CEO Daniel Ek's wedding, which was officiated by Chris Rock and counted Bruno Mars among its performers, but an event at Pliniana will surely blow away your guests.
Villa La Massa, Florence
You don't have to buy out Villa La Massa to host your wedding there, since the 37 rooms are divided into three separate buildings: Noble Villa, Villino, and Mulino. But if you're looking for an intimate event, you might as well. This 16th-century estate—owned by the same folks behind the world-renowned Villa d'Este, on Lake Como—sits on the banks of the Arno River, on 22 acres of wonderfully bucolic countryside, filled with lemon trees and olive groves. Guests will love morning treatments at the state-of-the-art Arno Spa, before your walk down the aisle at the private chapel next to Noble Villa. They'll likewise be wowed by the reception, which can be hosted in the hills of Chianti Rufina or inside one of the villas. The entire event can be completely customized (there are no wedding packages at Villa La Massa), as can the mouth-watering menu of homemade garganelli pasta with lobster sauce, veal chop in crust of porcini mushrooms, or wild salmon steak with fennel, among other options.
Villa Lena, Tuscany
Though it's located a short driving distance from the towns of Siena, Florence, and San Gimignano, the 19th-century Villa Lena isn't your average Tuscan retreat. Sure, it's set on more than 1,000 acres of rolling hills and woodlands, with olive groves and vineyards throughout, but contemporary art collector Lena Evstafieva founded the property in 2013 as a hybrid hotel/artist retreat. The Villa Lena Foundation operates an artist residency program from April to October, so whether you choose to host your wedding while the artists are in residence (or after they've gone), you'll find an incredible collection of art throughout the property, as each artist is encouraged to donate a work following his/her stay.
Guests can spread out across the estate in individual apartments and houses, some of which are even set in converted stables. But save Renacchi for yourselves, since it's set in the heart of the property and has six individual apartments, each with its own kitchen and dining area, giving you both proximity to (and privacy from) your family or bridal party. Spend time with your guests lounging by the three pools, watching movies in the screening room, playing pool in the game room, and stretching it out on the yoga terrace. But the thing guests will probably remember most are the farm-to-table meals, using ingredients sourced from the villa's two vegetable gardens and fruit trees.
La Posta Vecchia, Rome
This Italian villa-style hotel is where Hannah Bronfman and Brendan Fallis chose to kick off their honeymoon, following an epic bash at La Mamounia, in Marrakech, Morocco. And it's easy to see why: It's conveniently located on the outskirts of Rome; it has gorgeous views of Odescalchi Castle; you can swim in the crystal-clear sea, which fronts the property; and the 19 rooms and suites are done up in a classic European style (one even has a rare collection of 18th-century prints). Couples can rent the entire villa for exclusive access to the restaurant, pool, and wellness center, plus the ability to partner with chef Antonio Magliulo on a contemporary Italian wedding feast, which can be served alfresco at the terrace restaurant, the Cesar, overlooking the sea.