Archive for the ‘Venues’ Category

The Abbey of San Galgano

Civil ceremony at San Galgano

Many couples contact us asking if we can arrange a legal, civil ceremony in the grounds of a villa or in a park, but it is only possible to marry where the venue belongs to the town hall.  For this reason lots of couples opt for a low key civil ceremony in the town hall followed by a symbolic ceremony at the venue of their choice.

The Abbey of San Galgano just south of Siena is available for civil ceremonies, and if you choose to get married here the deconsecrated church will be closed to the public for an hour so you can have your wedding and photographs in absolute privacy. And this is what Joe and Mariko decided to do.

They booked a week’s holiday at Villa Podernovo in the small town of Monticiano – a beautiful setting and ideal for a wedding party. Extra accommodation for friends and family was booked in a family-run hotel and self-catering apartments, both of which were just a 5-minute walk from the villa.

The theme for the wedding was travel,  and the table plan represented some of the countries Joe and Mariko have visited over the years. The flowers were a mix of yellows, greys and whites, as were the bridesmaids’ dresses and paper pompoms which were hung from the ceiling.

The ceremony was held at 5pm on a very warm, August afternoon, followed by photos in the abbey, an absolutely stunning backdrop. Guests were taken back to the Villa for the aperitivo in the gardens while Joe and Mariko had some photos and drove back in a 1964 Alfa Romeo. The speeches took place before dinner was served, and after dinner everyone moved down to the porched area in front of the house for the first dance, a buffet of desserts and an open bar, with Mariko and Joe in charge of the playlist :-)

Official photos are here – wonderful memories of an absolutely brilliant day!

A cool alternative to wedding cake

Over to the bridegroom…

We usually work closely with the bride as we plan a wedding, sharing colour coded lists, excel files and pinterest pages, but Ruth and Sean’s wedding in August was a wedding with a difference: we did 99% of the planning directly with the groom.

‘Simplicity’ and ‘no fuss’ were the key words right from the outset and we worked via skype and email (no shared documents in sight) to create an event in a stunning location with a laid-back feel.

The  symbolic ceremony was held in the courtyard at Villa Casagrande in Figline Valdarno, followed by photos in the gardens with Livio before the aperitivo and dinner. Table decorations were mini olive trees and candles, and buckets of personalised lego to make fridge magnets. Sean is a graphic designer and had taken care of the seating plan, name cards and guest book.

Rather than opting for a traditional wedding cake, we had looked for something a bit different and just before the speeches were about to start an icecream van pulled into the courtyard – a great surprise and perfect for a very warm August evening. Music and dancing followed, with a late night buffet with fresh fruit being served at 11pm.







Down Under the Tuscan Sun

Kim and David contacted us a year ago for help with organising a 5 day event which would see guests flying in to Tuscany from Australia and Europe.  As the weeks went by the guest list grew so extra accommodation and coaches were booked to transport the guests to and from the three different venues.

As well as organising the wedding event, we arranged:

  • a welcome dinner with porchetta
  • a day of sightseeing and wine tasting in San Gimignano,
  • an informal BBQ the evening before the wedding in the gardens at Ozio in Collina,
  • an afternoon of shopping at the designer shopping mall the day after the wedding,
  • a farewell dinner with ‘micro buffet’ with various pasta dishes and pizzas in a local taverna.

The wedding took place at Agriturismo San Leo where the bride and groom had stayed 3 years previously. The ceremony took place in the gardens of San Leo. Food was provided by Luciano, Antonio, Alessandro and their team, with the aperitivo by the pool accompanied by a folk trio followed by an informal Tuscan meal with sharing platters in front of the villa. After dinner, Kim and David took to the dance floor and amazed their guests with their first dance. As the evening went on, ice cream was served in the courtyard, there was an open bar with whisky and cigars, and music and dancing in the wine cellar with Umagroso. Flowers by Stiatti Fiori and photos with Livio Lacurre. A winning combination – despite the heat! :-)

Official photos are here



Venue of the month – April

Traditional oak beams, terracotta floors, soft cotton bedlinen, simple furnishings and light, airy rooms. Woodland, stunning sunsets and the sounds and scents of nature. Low key and laid back, enjoying the great outdoors and spending quality time together.  If this is your idea of a Tuscan backdrop for your wedding, Villa Toscana is the right place for you.

The villa is located between the small towns of Faella and Castelfranco, in the Province of Arezzo, and just a short drive to the nearest station in the town of Figline Valdarno.  The property was renovated in 2006 and with the addition of 3 new apartments it is possible to sleep around 40-45 guests in single, double and triple bedroomed apartments, each of which have a terraced area, overlooking the woodland or pool area and extensive grounds.  A stunning wedding photo opportunity is just around the corner with ‘Le Balze del Valdarno’, one of the most unusual features of the valley and a protected area of local interest.

The villa is ideal for couples who are looking to relax and spend quality time outdoors with family and friends. The venue is especially suitable for families with children as there is a large play area, table tennis tables, a tennis court and a shallow pool for smaller children as well as the larger swimming pool. There are 3 large barbeques and a clubhouse with tables and chairs meaning mealtimes can be social times. For the wedding reception there are numerous solutions, maybe starting with an aperitivo at the pool before having dinner under marquees in the garden area below the pool and then dancing by the clubhouse, which could also be used as emergency back up in the case of rain.

An important added bonus at this venue is that the owners are happy to accept mid-week arrivals, and bookings do not have to be Saturday-Saturday, extremely unusual during high season in Italy! This makes it easier to make travel arrangements with budget airlines and have your wedding on the day which suits you. Please contact us to arrange a quote if you are interested in renting the villa for your exclusive use.

Visit Villa Toscana’s website



Wisteria-covered walkways in the month of May

Venue of the month – March

It was a miserable February morning the first time we went to visit Fattoria di Mandri with one of our 2014 brides, but even though it was raining the Villa, the grounds and the panoramic views were wonderful, and it was not difficult to imagine how stunning it would be  in the sunshine!

If you are looking for a Medici Villa in Tuscany with self-catering accommodation options for around 55/60 people, this is an ideal location. The owners live in the villa which they have furnished with style and elegance, and the building and grounds will impress your guests at every turn. The main villa and its private gardens can be rented for the wedding reception, and the 10 apartments and 2 cottages in the small hamlet in the grounds of the villa itself can be used by guests who have travelled to Italy to share your wedding celebrations with you. It is also possible, upon request, to rent bedrooms in the villa itself.

Flexibility is one of the key features of this venue, and while the villa is elegant it also feels homely and welcoming.  Marina, the owner is happy to assist with the organisation of buffets and meals for up to 50 guests, while  it would be necessary to use a catering service for the wedding reception. The grounds provide endless solutions for your wedding photos and reception, perhaps serving an aperitivo on the terrace as the sun sets to the front of the villa or under the porch to the rear, followed by a sit-down meal in the gardens with panoramic views over the Arno valley, or by the pool before returning to the private gardens with their wisteria-covered walkways and lawns for your guests to kick their shoes off as the live band starts start to play.

Another bonus is that the mayor from the town hall of Reggello would be prepared to come to the Villa to officiate at your wedding ceremony. You  just need to decide on which part of the villa and its grounds are the best place to hold your ceremony!

Visit Fattoria di Mandri’s website

Wedding at La Selva

Venue of the month – February

When you describe your dream wedding, are the words ‘rustic’,  ‘relaxed’ and ‘ romantic’ at the top of your list? If so, this is the place for you.

La Selva is a private, family villa located in 32 acres of grounds, which offers absolute privacy and intimacy. As you enter the villa you immediately feel the welcoming atmosphere, and it is not hard to imagine how relaxed you would be after spending a week of your life enjoying the Tuscan sunshine and scenery on offer here!

The venue is ideal for small wedding parties as it can sleep up to 16 guests, with 7 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms, perfect if you are looking to spend a week with your closest family or friends.  The fact that you will be the only guests means you have no restrictions and you can do exactly what you want – there are no neighbours to complain if the music is still playing at 3am!  For added magic, there is a small cottage with a domed roof which can be used by the bride and groom.  There are plenty of accommodation options in the local area if you are inviting other friends and family members to celebrate with you in Italy.

Tuscany is famous for its hospitality, and the intention of Francesco, the owner, is that you move in and make the villa your home for the week. A welcome dinner is included on your first evening,so it really does begin to feel like home from the moment you arrive. There are plenty of extra options available to make your stay as relaxing and enjoyable as possible, including grocery shopping, breakfasts and evening meals, wine tasting and cookery classes.

The gardens offer endless possibilities for creating your wedding, with plenty of different areas where tables can be set up, whether in front of the house, under the pergola or overlooking the pool. If you are looking to do something informal, there are two pizza ovens and a barbeque.  The amphitheatre is perfect for your symbolic  or civil ceremony, and the fact that the local mayor is happy to come to La Selva to officiate is an added bonus!

Visit La Selva’s website



Venue of the month – January

A new year, a new venue. For our first blog post of 2013 we have selected Hotel Villa Casagrande, the venue where we organised our first ‘big’ wedding in 2004 and a venue which played an important role for us in 2012.

The original Villa dates back to 1392 and the interiors are adorned with priceless paintings, frescoes, furniture and coats of arms. Outside, the walls of the medieval town of Figline Valdarno provide a backdrop to the Italian gardens, perfect for wedding photos during the aperitivo, and the cloister, with a sweeping stone staircase which is perfect for your grand entrance and symbolic ceremony.

With 60 bedrooms as well as self-catering apartments, accommodation for your wedding party should not be a problem! Guests can enjoy the swimming pool and health spa (booking necessary), and the hotel is a 3 minute walk from the centre of Figline. There are regular trains to the cities of Florence, Arezzo and Rome, with Florence just a 20 minute train ride away. The restaurant offers typical Tuscan dishes, as well as international dishes, with plenty of Tuscan hospitality!

The hotel can organise one-day cookery courses in the farmhouse kitchen and wine tastings in the extensive wine cellars, should you wish to offer something extra for your guests.

We like working with this venue because they are flexible, they work hard to ensure their guests are happy, and because they have so much to offer all kinds of wedding couples! Whether you are looking for a complete wedding package in one location to make it easy for your guests or whether you are looking for a stunning outdoor location for your symbolic ceremony, whether you are looking for somewhere for the bride to prepare for the wedding or whether you simply want to use the health spa and have a glass or two of chilled prosecco the day before the wedding, you will not be disappointed!

Visit Hotel Villa Casagrande’s website 


Venue of the month – December

December is a magical month and we so wanted to present a venue with a special atmosphere – not only this month but all year around.

Villa Barberino is located on a hill top in Meleto, a small village in the Province of Arezzo. As you enter the hamlet and walk through the grounds to the reception it is hard to believe that the property was in ruins just over 20 years ago. The owners have lovingly restored the buildings and their passion for hospitality comes across as you speak to them. We will work with Tiziana and her team to ensure your special day is the day you have been dreaming of.

Villa Barberino is unusual in the fact that it is possible to have a civil or a symbolic ceremony in the grounds of the villa, and there are no charges for the exclusive use of the villa.

The reception can be held either indoors in the restaurant, or outside in the courtyard or in front of the villa. There are plenty of opportunities for stunning photos with a terrace overlooking the Chianti countryside, as well as the Italian gardens, the woods, and the wine cellars which are over 1000 years old!

During your guests’ stay it is possible to organise wine tasting, as well as sampling the locally produced olive oil, honey and cheese, and guests can enjoy the pool, the gardens or walks in the woodland. Accommodation for around 100 people is available in the hotel and apartments, and due to the layout of the complex it is also suitable for smaller groups of 30-35 people who wish to be together in relatively private settings.

Visit Villa Barberino’s website


Venue of the month – November

Sitting inside on a cold, rainy November afternoon, summer feels like a long way off, and thinking about hot chocolate and log fires brought us to think of this venue!

Residence San Leo is a country house with character in the Chianti hills which has been converted into 9 holiday apartments for 2-6 guests, each of which has its own individual feel and charm. The courtyard is ideal for warm summer evening receptions, and the huge indoor room with open fireplace is ideal for creating a warm, welcoming atmosphere on cooler spring or autumn evenings. Downstairs there is a converted wine cellar which can also be used for your reception if you are looking for something unusual and typically Tuscan. And if it should rain on your wedding day like it is doing here today it won’t be a problem!

Patrizia and her family run a farming business from San Leo, producing excellent olive oil, honey, jam, fresh fruit and vegetables, and it is possible for guests to visit the oil press and sample some of the products. Patrizia is a wonderful cook and can provide breakfast and evening meals, as well as freshly baked bread and farm produce for your apartment.

San Leo can provide accommodation for approx 36 guests and can cater for groups of around 60-70 people. The food is excellent, with homemade pasta and produce from the farm. All apartments have air conditioning, and there is a pool and jacuzzi with wonderful views over the Chianti hills. The Limonaia is a cottage with private garden, and not being attached to the main building is ideal for the bride and groom.

Visit San Leo’s website






SAM_0954-JPG (1)

Congratulations Simon and Caroline!

When Caroline and Simon contacted us last October they had already booked their venue and accommodation and were looking for someone to assist at their civil ceremony. We also arranged some of the smaller details – flowers, hairdresser and music.  Caroline had  booked a small complex of villas for a group of around 50 friends and family members, as well as a coach transfer to and from the ceremony and again at the end of the evening to take guests back to their accommodation.

On a sunny September afternoon they had their wedding ceremony at the Palazzo Pretorio in Figline, with music, vows which they had written, and 3 emotionally charged readings! The reception was held at Villa La Palagina where guests enjoyed an informal aperitivo in the gardens before the wedding meal by the pool.

Congratulations Simon and Caroline, and we wish you a lifetime of happiness together!




Venue of the month – September

Villa La Palagina is in the hills just above the small town of Figline Valdarno, in the Chianti countryside between Florence, Siena and Arezzo. The track to the villa leads up through age-old olive groves and vineyards, and as you enter the grounds you are met by spectacular views from the terrace.  You can have your aperitivo served by the fountain in the gardens, and then choose whether to have your wedding meal served by the pool or in the gazebo, both of which provide breathtaking views over the valley.

If you wish to book the villa so your guests can enjoy a weekend of celebrations, accommodation is available for approximately 100 guests.  The friendly hotel staff all speak English, and the restaurant staff will work hard to provide you and your guests with excellent service, and this is reflected in the glowing reviews on Tripadvisor.  The chef adds a modern twist to traditional Tuscan dishes with mouthwateringly good results, and with numerous menu options and fine wines to choose from, your Italian wedding meal will be unforgettable, both for the food, the people and the location!

Visit Villa La Palagina’s website