by Helen Dorritt
Always dreamed of saying your vows under the warm Italian sun? Lots of people do and for very good reason: this beautiful Mediterranean country is one of the most romantic places in the world.
But how do you go about choosing the best wedding venues in Italy? With such a varied landscape, from the gentle hills of Tuscany to the mountain peaks of the Alps, it can be tricky to know where to start looking. So we’ve put together a guide on how to find a wedding venue in Italy, starting at the top of the country and working our way down, taking in beautiful coastline, magnificent cities, tranquil lakes and high-altitude venues along the way.
Let’s start with wedding venues in Italy in the mountains. Beautiful in both summer and winter, the Italian Alps have some seriously stunning places to pledge your troth. Just as a flavour of what’s on offer, check out Alpin Garden and Rosa Alpina, both of which have panoramic views of the mountains plus luxury spas. We also love Hotel Lago di Braies, which is on the edge of a magical Alpine lake.
Another magical lake and stunning wedding location is Lake Como. Easily accessible from Milan, Lake Como is nestled in the foothills of the Alps and boasts some spectacular places for ceremonies and receptions. We think you’ll like Bellagio Silvio a family-run hotel with breathtaking views of the lake. Or how about the Grand Hotel Menaggio with its private dock?
Lake Maggiore is another of Italy’s major lakes that makes a wonderful wedding backdrop. On its eastern shore is the picturesque town of Stresa that’s home to the Grand Hotel Des Iles Borromees, a magnificent hotel whose famous guests include the author Ernest Hemingway. Saying your vows while you gaze out onto the turquoise waters of Lake Maggiore will certainly get your marriage off to a good start!
Moving further south, Tuscany remains one of the most popular regions of Italy for weddings and it’s no surprise: from its architecturally stunning cities to its beautiful hills dotted with olive and cypress trees, there are so many gorgeous wedding venues in Tuscany to choose from.
Of course, we can’t talk about wedding venues in Tuscany without mentioning Florence. This ancient city is an art and architecture lover’s dream, full of bucket list-sights such as Michelangelo’s David, the Duomo, Giotto’s bell tower and the Ponte Vecchio.
Some of the city’s historic buildings and parks are available for weddings ceremonies, including the Rose Garden, the Villa Vogel and the Palazzo Vecchio. Some of our other favourite wedding venues in Florence include Hotel Villa La Vedetta, just steps from the Piazzale Michelangelo, and the Grand Hotel Cavour.
While Florence is top of many people’s Tuscan wedding locations, there are also lots of smaller but no less charming cities and towns to consider. One hour’s drive west from Florence is Lucca, the birthplace of the composer Puccini. With its city walls that were designed by Leonardo da Vinci still encircling the historic streets, a wedding here would certainly be picture perfect, and there are lots of wedding venues in and near Lucca that are sure to take your breath away. A beautiful example is Villa Orlando, a nineteenth-century on the edge of a lake where you can hold both civil ceremonies and wedding receptions.
Head south from Florence and you’ll find Cortona. Perched on a mountain at 600m above sea level, this picturesque town boasts stunning views of the Valdichiana valley, while beauty of a more human kind can be seen in Fra Angelico’s paintings at the Diocesan Museum.
If you like the sound of a wedding venue in Cortona, you can enjoy a civil ceremony in the charming town hall, and then head to a traditional Tuscan villa such as Villa Montanare, a seriously stunning venue that enjoys panoramic views across the countryside.
Tuscany is quite rightly world renowned for its delicious wine, and its vineyards are now doing a secondary trade in offering beautiful backdrops for weddings. Fancy a vineyard wedding venue in Italy? Check out Fattoria and Villa di Rignana in the heart of Chianti country. Or have a look at Casale di Valle, a charming sixteenth-century villa surrounded by 75 hectares of vineyards.
We also can’t talk about wedding venues in Italy without mentioning Rome and Venice. Like Florence, everywhere you turn in these cities you’ll find another stunning building or ancient site. Plan an urban wedding surrounded by timeless architecture and you can choose from venues such as Palazzo Brancaccio, Villa Appia Antica and Palazzo Abadessa .
Moving onto seaside venues, the clifftop town of Sorrento overlooks the Bay of Naples and is also the gateway to the Amalfi Coast. Gorgeous wedding venues in Sorrento with ocean views include Villa Antiche Mura , Terrazze delle Sirene and Bellevue Syrene . Or, for a more rustic wedding, check out the gorgeous Fattoria Terranova farmhouse, right in the heart of the Sorrento peninsula.
Continue south and you’ll find the Amalfi Coast, another favourite for Italian destination weddings. This UNESCO World Heritage coastline of over 50km has plenty of wedding villas by the sea in Italy, dotted in and around the major towns of Positano, Ravello and Amalfi. Have a look at Hotel Palazzo Murat, Villa Cimbrone and Villa Eva for some inspiration.
So now we’ve given you a small flavour of what the different regions of Italy have to offer you for your wedding, hopefully you’ve got a better idea of which area will best suit your style. Once you’ve narrowed down the general area you want to pick for your wedding, you can then start thinking about some other considerations before you pick The One!
You’ll need to decide what type of ceremony you want – civil or religious – or whether you opt for a symbolic wedding. Check out our post for information about how to organise an Italian wedding.
Since the legalisation of same sex marriages in 2016, you’ll find plenty of gay friendly wedding venues in Italy. If you’re planning a same sex wedding in Italy, this article has lots of helpful suggestions and research.
Budget is obviously a big consideration in picking a wedding venue. When looking for the cheapest wedding venues in Italy, picking one in a less touristy location can slash the costs. If you’ve got your heart set on a ceremony on the Amalfi Coast, for example, choosing smaller Praiano rather than Positano could make your budget go further. Similarly, while Florence is absolutely stunning, opting for a ceremony in Pisa or Lucca can work out more cheaply, or looking for destinations even further off the tourist trail.
Other tips include avoiding holding your wedding in high season, or opting for a civil ceremony in a town hall – these are low cost or sometimes even free.
If you’re in the delightful position where money is no object and you’re looking for a luxury wedding venue in Italy, feast your eyes on Tenuta Mocajo, a Tuscan village and eighteenth-century residence near Volterra. For the ultimate in luxury, you could hire the entire estate for your wedding party to enjoy a fabulous holiday.
Villa Pizzo on Lake Como is equally fabulous, boasting the longest lakeside garden on this exclusive lake. The Four Seasons Hotel in Florence is housed in a Medici-era palazzo and convent, allowing you to step back in time to say your vows.
And, for the ultimate fairytale wedding, why not choose a real-life castle? You can’t get a much more fairytale setting than Castello Odescalchi di Bracciano near Rome which is the perfect setting to indulge your fantasy of being royalty for the day. After all, if you can’t do this on your wedding day, when can you?
If you’re planning your wedding in Italy, then we’d love to capture your day! We specialise in contemporary and stylish photography in a relaxed, reportage style. We also have lots of contacts for other wedding suppliers, and would be happy to help your planning in any way we can.