Kim Kardashian and Kanye West may have rented a renaissance fort for their May 24th wedding in Florence, but you don’t have to be quite that over-the-top to stage an unforgettable celebration in Italy. We’ve identified five Italian venues that combine classic good looks, sublime locations, and some of the most talented chefs in the country. And unlike the Kimye nuptials, guests can stay at the wedding site, so you won’t have to shuttle them around by horse and carriage (or minivan). These five-star hotels are not for the slim of wallet, but if your wedding fantasy comes with an Italian accent, ecco!
Almost modest by Kardashian standards, the Belmond Hotel Splendido, a former monastery overlooking the stage set-perfect harbor of Portofino, makes its own grappa, bakes custom pizza beside the pool, and boasts true A-listeres like James Cameron and Ronald Howard among its guests. Legend has it that Richard Burton proposed to Elizabeth Taylor here, and the Old Hollywood atmosphere seems to validate the tale. There’s a team of wedding pros on call, and just a 15-minute walk down the hill, the Splendido Mare, its sister hotel, has a piazza-fronting restaurant that would be ideal for a rehearsal dinner. The kicker for second marriages with children in tow: Unlike many exclusive Mediterranean hideouts, The Splendido actually welcomes kids.
Kim and Kanye reportedly wanted to marry at Versailles, to cement their “royal” status in the world of celebrity. No comment. But if you want to tie the knot where one of Italy’s most powerful families once lived, take a look at Venice’s Hotel Danieli. Just a heartbeat from the Piazza San Marco (great for wedding guests who want to squeeze plenty of sightseeing into the trip), the original 14th century palace was built by a Venetian dynasty with four doges (the king of Venice, not the meme) in its lineage. Treat your wedding party to octopus carpaccio and artichoke ravioli washed down with Ferrari wines and watch the sun set over the lagoon.
The atmosphere is charmingly retro at Il Pellicano, the Porto Ercole hideaway where celebs from Douglas Fairbanks Jr. to Emilio Pucci to Bono have come to play. With just 50 fresh but simple rooms, two Michelin stars (Chef Antonio Guida is the source), and a soft spot for weddings, it might be the country’s most glamorously low-key spots for Americans to marry. You can opt to wed on the resort’s beach terrace, have pictures taken backdropped by olive trees and cypresses, sip prosecco on the seafront terrace, and then sit down to roasted lobster with hazelnut oil and some of the most artfully constructed desserts on the planet.
Le Sirenuse, on the Italian Riviera, a family-owned jewel with blatantly romantic views of the Mediterranean, is one of the most expensive hotels you’ll ever visit–a standard room without even a suggestion of a sea view is about $500 a night off season. But money couldn’t buy a more continental-chic spot for a wedding. The cherry-red building, formerly a private home, has just 63 rooms, all outfitted with good antiques and tiled floors. For a tiny wedding, take your group on a tour of the coast in the hotel’s charming wooden boat Sant ‘Antonio; a dinner reception at La Sponda, the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant illuminated by 400 candles, would be the making of one of life’s grander memories, starring local vegetables, cheeses, herbs, and olive oil—the “cuisine of the South.”
It would be hard to find a more suitable spot for exchanging “til death us do part” vows than the Eternal City. Rome’s most timeless hotel, the Hotel Hassler, commands an aristocratic spot above the Spanish Steps, and boast some of the city’s most spectacular views—a vista of red-roof tiles, time-mellowed piazzas, and noble domes (yes, that’s St. Peter’s Basilica). If the hotel isn’t exclusive enough, just across the street you’ll find its sister property, Il Palazzetto, a 16th-century palace with just four guest rooms and two private panoramic terraces where you can welcome your guests with flutes of Veruschkas—the Hassler’s signature cocktail, made with pomegranate juice and prosecco.
Want to know more about planning destination wedding travel to Italy, or anywhere else in the world? Our travel partners at Coastline Travel Advisors, a Virtuoso agency, are ready to help.