Maybe Italy is where you fell in love or got engaged, or maybe you’ve never been and simply love fresh handmade pasta—there’s no wrong reason to jet off for a destination wedding in Tuscany with your love and a handful of close friends and family. The central Italian region is indeed magical, whether you’re talking about the capital city of Florence or the romantic storybook countryside.
Regardless of the exact destination, in terms of timing, spring and fall are the most appealing weather-wise, while summer is of course gorgeous but means there are throngs of tourists who can make reservations and potential buyouts a bit difficult, not to mention more expensive. If you’re someone who worries about rain, make sure your venue has enough indoor space for the number of guests you’re planning, otherwise invest in a marquee.
It falls to reason that enlisting the help of a planner is wise unless you plan on spending a lot of time there in person beforehand or have some Italian-language skills. Otherwise it can be a bit tricky. Some hotels have a planner on their team, which makes things even simpler as they’re familiar with the property and the possibilities. And there are indeed many possibilities. At Il Salvatino in Fiesole—a refurbished 15th century Renaissance villa surrounded by a lush park with 44 rooms and incredible views—a bride made her entrance in a chair suspended by hundreds of white balloons. There, a team of Service Ambassadors can help tailor the festivities and events surrounding it, along with the wedding venue, which can happen in the poolside gardens or even on a forest hilltop overlooking Firenze and the Duomo. (There’s also the prized two-floor Ojetti Suite with a rooftop jacuzzi, perfect for the night of and days after.)
Belmond’s new historic castle, Castello di Casole, makes for a dreamy setting—the rural property has just 39 rooms but 4,200 acres of farmland, vineyards and olive groves. It was once the venue for legendary Hollywood parties so you know there are good vibes for an ultimate celebration. Another option, in the city, is the luxury hotel group’s Belmond Villa San Michele in Florence.
At the Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa in the Serchio Valley near the medieval village of Barga, there is a range of outdoor and indoor spaces, from gardens to an indoor salon that can be converted to a nightclub for after-parties, and chefs cooking authentic Tuscan cuisine (read: handmade pasta, bolognese, gnocchi) and pastries, as well as opportunities, to have culinary adventures with the chefs at the local market and in the kitchen cooking). And it’s possible to have a beach wedding in Tuscany, too. Baglioni Resort Cala Del Porto, a small favorite resort of Italy’s jet set, overlooks the postcard-perfect Gulf of Punta Ala and has a private beach on the crystalline bay where the ceremony can be held before retreating to the pool for an intimate Mediterranean-styled reception.
Beyond a hotel, there are plentiful private luxury villas that make incredible venues—to find these an outfitter like Abercrombie & Kent Villas is a great resource, with many options that come with epic views of the rolling countryside and verdant vineyard surrounds. Depending on the size of the wedding party, a villa can be a great way to sleep with your family or close friends at the same place for an intimate feeling without a full buyout of a hotel. It also gives flexibility with vendors—oftentimes the agency you book through or villa owner will be able to provide details for suppliers such as florists and caterers who have already worked at the venue and thus won’t need to book another costly site inspection. (Watch out for an extra “event fee” in the fine print.)
And you don’t need to worry about your guests finding enough to do besides the merrymaking of the rehearsal dinner and big day—the area has lots to offer. They can fly in and out of Florence, and also visit Pisa or the picturesque seaside towns of Cinque Terre. In Tuscany there are truffle hunting expeditions, cooking lessons and winery tours to keep them busy—and sated.
It’s also good to be aware ahead of time that making it official—aka having a legal wedding ceremony—in Italy is a very complicated matter that involves a lot of documents. Instead what many couples opt for is a simple ceremony in America and a symbolic “blessing” ceremony there, since no documents are required and it can be done anywhere from inside a cathedral to outside under the sun or stars.