Italy has been a longtime favorite destination for weddings. The natural beauty of the landscape and the sumptuous food, the warm hospitality, the rich history, make it an attractive choice for an intimate group of family and friends to celebrate a joyous occasion. A number of venues across the country make excellent choices for hosting a destination wedding. While each offers a unique set of attributes, they all can become the backdrop for a memorable event.

Sara Mazzei and Barbara Calò of Infinity Weddings and Events, a luxury event management company based in Tuscany, coordinate destination weddings in a number of properties. Smaller groups of twenty to twenty-five people make up about 85 percent of the events they organize while groups of seventy to one hundred guests account for about 15 percent. Sara has noticed a new trend forming in recent years where many of their clients are seeking venues in the south of Tuscany.

“Our clients come to Italy for the way of life here,” notes Sara. “We have a relaxing approach to life, good food, excellent wine and amazing landscapes. Areas that are just ten kilometers apart offer completely different dynamics.” Her advice is to approach a destination wedding with an open mind. “There are wedding professionals in Italy,” she notes, “that are very talented and take great pride in creating a one-of-a-kind type of experience for couples who choose to come to Italy for their wedding. Vendors work together and tailor each event to the style and the likes of the couple.”

Located only six miles from the center of Florence, Villa Mangiacane is set on six hundred acres of vineyards and olive groves. The property dates back to the fifteenth century and was built by the Machiavelli family. There is a rumor that Michelangelo himself participated in the design of the villa.

Today, guests can experience modern luxury with the splendor of the Renaissance period. The property features nine rooms as part of the main villa and an additional nineteen rooms within close proximity. The rooms are filled with original artwork and furniture collected from around the world and offer the comfort of a private home. The Nadushka Spa offers tranquility and pampering for mind, body and spirit with its three uniquely decorated private treatment rooms. The restored frescoes, the sculpture garden and the magnificent view make Villa Mangiacane one of the most sought-after destination wedding properties in Tuscany.

Borgo Finocchieto is an 800-year-old village atop six acres of hilltop grounds. The Borgo encompasses twenty-two rooms between the main house and four additional village homes arranged around its central piazza. It is an ideal place for a destination wedding that offers a relaxing atmosphere accompanied by simple luxury. A staff of nineteen people, including a chef, offer impeccable service.

Borgo Finocchieto is situated in one of the most famous areas in Tuscany, Crete Senesi, just to the south of Siena, the medieval town in Tuscany famous for the Palio (horse race). The distinctive gray coloration of the soil gives the landscape an appearance often described as lunar. Within a few miles resides Montalcino, the land of the famous Brunello di Montalcino, considered one of the top wines in the world. A visit to Montalcino offers an opportunity to enjoy a great wine tasting experience with unparalleled views of the vineyards.

Monteverdi is a complex of restored villas and a boutique hotel in the village of Castiglioncello del Trinoro in the south of Tuscany between Rome and Florence. This area of Tuscany is simply beautiful. Any view from this mountaintop reveals a way of life that has remained largely unchanged for centuries. Sheep grazing the hillsides provide the milk for pecorino cheese while local vineyards produce the grapes that become some of the finest wines in the world.

Monteverdi along with Borgo Finocchieto is part of a new trend that started about ten years ago: very old villages have been completely restored to maintain the Tuscan atmosphere while combining elegant and modern interiors. From Monteverdi, it is easy to reach Siena, Montepulciano and Pienza.

Hotel Monteverdi encompasses three buildings with a total of seven rooms: four luxury rooms and three larger suites. Each room is a mini art gallery and features pieces by acclaimed contemporary artists from around the world. On the property there are also three meticulously appointed villas, with six, three and two bedrooms respectively.

The surroundings, the authentic Tuscan style and the excellent quality of food (thanks to the chef), make Monteverdi an ideal location for a destination wedding.

Villa San Michele is arguably the most romantic hotel in Florence. It features forty-six rooms and suites and a dining area for up to two hundred people. It is nestled in the famous hillside town of Fiesole that offers a spectacular view of Florence. The Loggia Restaurant, the Cloister, the Italian gardens and the infinity pool terrace are perfect choices for the ceremony and reception. The villa is situated on a lush, green hilltop, surrounded by meticulously landscaped gardens, overlooking the historic skyline of Florence. The classic Italian splendor of this former monastery is breathtaking.

Villa San Michele is ideal for a celebration with just a few close friends and family or a grand reception for up to two hundred guests.

Castello di Casole dates back to the tenth century and today is a modern, luxury boutique hotel with forty-one private suites. The Essere Spa (meaning “To Be” in Italian) is the jewel of the property. Originally the estate’s wine cellar, the spa offers a serene setting within one of the most dramatic spaces on the property. Barrel-vaulted ceilings and restored stone walls create a theatrical setting accentuated by long views across an expansive valley. A full treatment menu is inspired by local ingredients—rosemary, grapes and olive oil.

The castle resides in the heart of Tuscany, an area that offers a unique landscape and breathtaking views of vineyards, sunflower fields, olive groves and cypress trees. It is located thirty minutes from San Gimignano and forty-five minutes from Florence. It is a perfect choice to enjoy Tuscany while still within close proximity (less than an hour) to the most famous cities of Italian art. After a day’s excursion, return to the castle to savor a glass of wine or a special Italian cocktail at the Bar Visconti, named after filmmaker Luchino Visconti who once lived here and entertained Hollywood celebrities throughout the estate.

Castello di Casole is defined by elegance and sophistication, romanticism and exclusivity. The grandeur of the medieval castle and the intimate atmosphere of the private church is an ideal setting for a celebration with two or two hundred people.

Villa Le Rose is located just outside Florence in an area known as Firenze Certosa, named after the nearby monastery La Certosa. It is a unique example of a fifteenth-century Renaissance aristocratic manor with frescoes and gorgeous furnishings. The villa offers butler service and exquisite fare under the direction of Michelin award winning chef Donatella Zampoli. There are six double rooms that can accommodate up to twelve people.

As the capital of fashion, art and music and famous for its culture and style, Florence is a magnificent city. Being in Villa Le Rose offers the opportunity to discover an authentic Florentine experience while being close to the city, yet away from what may feel a bit “touristy.” Villa Le Rose is ideal for small, intimate weddings. The villa is part of the “Lungarno Collection,” an exclusive group of properties owned and managed by the Ferragamo family.

 Location: Castello di Casole, Siena, Italy