Tuscany, in central Italy, is worldwide known to wine, delicious food, astonishing sights and…. luxury. By luxury, I mean ‘the experience’ in general because in Tuscany it does not matter whether you stay.
Last month, I had a pleasure to visit 3 amazing castles., each of which unique, luxurious, out of reach ( in a very good way). The first thing you see when thinking ‘Tuscany’? You probably see one of these sights…
Are you in search for an ideal wedding destination? Not only ASTONISHING but perfect for a wedding and honeymoon. Look no further.
From what I have observed, an average wedding in Tuscany equals a very big fat wedding somewhere else. Moneywise, of course. A typical ‘wedding in Tuscany’ is very expensive but you have to pay for the quality these days. I, however, managed to find a place where you don’t have to spend an average 40k euro for your Big Day. Keep reading…
There is no doubt the landscapes are the main ingredient of a wedding in Tuscany: vineyards and cypress alleys, endless spaces and tender hills. All this under the Tuscan Sun.…
How to get to Tuscany?
By car – Italy is known for having a great net of toll roads or…
…by plane. The connections are many, and the airports are very close to one another. You can choose from flying to Florence, Piza or Bologna. The fee of a flight depends on your needs but it could be a low fare 30€ return flight from the UK, Germany or Poland ( Ryanair operates the majority of airports). The flights to Tuscany are running twice a day and are rather affordable in comparison to the rest of the famous European summer destinations, such as Amalfi Coast or Santorini.
From the US it is a matter of $1000 return offseason, but it could be cheaper if you purchase in advance. It is best to fly to Florence, as there are several direct flights from the major US cities, such as New York.
IF FLYING, you would have to rent a car…
I recommend renting a car from GOLDCAR, where you could also use my 15% discount with the code: CARMELATTE15
The price of a small car (like our feminine Fiat500) is around 25€ per day (+insurance!!), but I would recommend renting a very comfortable SUV, such as FIAT500L for around 50€ per day +insurance. The fuel policy it full to full. The toll roads cost from 8€ to 16€, it depends where you are going from.
- from Florence it takes around 1h30mins to get to the castles
- from Bologna it takes around 2,5 hours to get to Montalcino (Banfi and Velona)
- from Piza, it takes around 2h 20 minutes to get to Montalcino and around 2 hours 50 minutes to get to Castel Monastero
When is the best period to get married in Tuscany?
We were told it is the best to plan your big day between the period of half May to half June. The climate in Tuscany is a bit tricky. The summer is extremely hot and dry, while autumn and winter are often cold and foggy. Spring is usually nice, but the weather is not guaranteed. It was about 20 degrees (day) in March but only around 5 degrees at night, and chilly evenings. Hence you probably want your wedding to be outside, under the skies, it is recommended to choose your date wisely.
Castel Monastero, located in a peaceful setting of hills of the Chianti region, was our first stop in Tuscany. We got there very late but the first impression was… jaw-dropping. The room number 108 left us speechless! I travel a lot and stay in some really amazing 5-star hotels but the rooms have rarely such a high standard! This place is truly unique and exclusive!
The first mentions of Castel Monastero, under the name Sarna, are dated in the history of Medieval Tuscany, in 1044. It belongs to the Commune of Siena administration system from the 13th century. It was bought by the noble Sienese Chigi Saracini family and became their country house, which they used for hunting and harvesting the fruit of the vines in the castle territories. It has now been transformed into a 5-star hotel, welcoming guests from all around the world! It is almost 10 centuries of history at this astonishing place!
The hotel is known for its amazing SPA. We had a pleasure to spend the whole afternoon in their wellness area. Apart from ‘dead sea pool’, the couples could enjoy from ‘Diamond Rose’ or ‘Berber Ritual’ (relaxing couple treatments). Apart from that, the outside area is a great place for a small aperitivo (perhaps after the wedding?).
As for the food – it is 5/5 for me! We had lunch at La Cantina, a restaurant located in the medieval wine cellars of Castel Monastero, where their estate’s Chianti has rested for centuries! The dishes are eternal masterpieces of unique Italian tradition: from “pici” pasta with bread and tomato sauce to seafood (I ordered an octopus and it was delicious). The wine list is extraordinary. La Cantina would make an amazing wedding reception location, and it would be a unique one!
Castel Monastero is a hamlet. In the centre of the castle, there is a lovely square surrounded by Medieval and Renaissance buildings, and a little chapel dedicated to Saint Jacob and Saint Christopher – a perfect place for a wedding for sure! It is very rare but you Castel Monastero can host a religious ceremony! The chapel’s capacity is around 50 guests but the romanesque church of Badia Monastero, just 2 km from Castel Monastero.
There are loads of options for a fairytale wedding, which you could discuss with the wedding planner. It is very rare but you Castel Monastero can host a religious ceremony or a symbolic one if the couple isn’t religious. The civil ceremonies have to be held in a city hall, located 10 minutes driving from the castle.
Castle Monastero has years of experience in VIP and celebrities weddings, and they have worked with the worldwide known wedding planners. Their wedding-dedicated staff helps the couple and their planners with flower arrangements and all the logistic solutions around the castle. Their wedding reviews are 5-star rated (and also by the celebrities!).
There is a possibility for many different packages and after- wedding activities, not only for the couple but for the guests as well.
As for the packages and prices – every wedding is tailor-made and the prices depend on many factors, such as time of the year, number of guests, extras. You could submit your request under this link. The buy-out of the property is a must.
‘The charm of simplicity in each detail’
We drove only about 20 minutes from Montalcino when we saw it – the magnificent medieval castle on the hill. I have so much to say about Banfi – not only about the hotel but about the experience as a ‘whole’. This place is really jaw-dropping and the family history behind it encourages to choose Castello Banfi Il Borgo as your wedding location.
Castello Banfi Il Borgo is the whole complex: Castello Bandi -the historic fortress, Boutique Hotel Il Borgo, La Sala dei Grappoli Restaurant, La Taverna Restaurant and Enoteca.
The boutique hotel, surrounded by vineyards and olive groves, has 14 rooms and suites but there are loads of accommodation options in the area. We were sleeping in a farmhouse ( 2 minutes drive from the main castle) and we adored it. It was an amazing Tuscan experience – I bet equally nice as one of the suites at the castle as the owners are truly fond of the unique experience.
Banfi was founded by two Italian-American brothers, John and Harry Mariani in 1978.
The aim was to create an iconic winery but shorty after the Mariani brothers also purchased Bruzzone, a historic winery in Piedmont. Founded in 1860 and specialized in the production of sparkling wines, today is known as Banfi Piemonte. We had a pleasure to take part in a wine tour, which I encourage you to do whether or not you are staying at Bandi Il Borgo. It would not only teach you a lot about Tuscan wines but also give you an idea of a land.
We had a pleasure to dine at La Sala dei Grappoli Restaurant. The food and the iconic Brunello di Montalcino Castello Banfi could be the one and only reason for a wedding ( at least for wine admirers ;)). We went for teh Chef’s tasting menu paired with Banfi wines. I could not decide which speciality I loved the most.
As for the weddings, Castello Banfi has years of experience in any sort of ceremonies including large VIP weddings, small ceremonies, elopements and symbolic wedding. You can’t get married outside the city hall (legal) but the hotel can host a symbolic ‘I do’. There are, however, many picturesque chapels and churches nearby and the city of Montalcino is only about 15 minutes driving. The castle could provide a shuttle bus or other forms of transport to your guests.
As for the reception, there are many strategic locations among the property. The staff will assist you in looking after floral arrangements, music, menu or firework show.
As every wedding is tailor-made and adjusted to the number of guests and various factors, the couple should contact the in-house wedding planners directly :
Castello di Velona
Castello di Velona was once a watchtower – as you can see it is located on the hill. It is, according to many online resources, the highest located SPA in Europe and the only thermal castle in the world. Thanks to its perfect position the guests are able to enjoy one of the best sunrises and sunsets in Tuscany. Castello is located around 15 minutes driving from Montalcino, in the Val d’Orcia Unesco World Heritage. You need to have access to either a driver or rent a car to get to the property as it is located quite far from the nearest villages. The resort has 45 rooms, each of which offers some breathtaking views.
To me, the Thermal pool was a great experience. One of a kind view, warm pools and music till late hours is definitely a good reason to pick the castle for a wedding. The view is definitely a TOP feature of this place, and if you are into viewpoints, sunset watching and sunrise photos – Castello di Velona is a destination for you.
There are many great wedding options but I think an intimate ceremony on sunset wing would be epic! I also loved the small terrace ceremonies (2-60 people). Castello di Velona has 3 restaurants and its own production of Brunello Wine and Extra-Vergin Olive Oil which means you could treat your guests to some Tuscan specialities for the reception or afterwards. There are also wedding planners, caterers and musicians available to hire.
INTIMATE WEDDING DAILYRATES
LOW SEASON: € 3.500November toApril – Festivities are consideredMid Season
MID SEASON: € 5 .500 May & October – Festivities are considered High Season
HIGH SEASON: € 6.500 June, July, August &September
An Event Fee of € 1.500 for Event Coordination by theResort will be applied for the first 2 days of
the Event. An additional fee will be charged from the third day on
Accommodation: Maximum Number of Resident Guests including extra beds: 2
Rooms for otherGuests will be quoted atBest Available Rates
F&B Service: Maximum Number of Guests in the Parties/Ceremony: 60
No minimum stay is requested
1 Presidential Suite
Accommodation for wedding Couple inB&B and double occupancy
150sqm Terrace of the suite to use for Ceremony andMeals
Use of theNORTH TERRACE for your Ceremony.
Chairs for CeremonyamongExistinfurniture(White Rattan)
Please note theNorth Terrace is adjoining to the way which leads to the Castle’smain entrance (by
walking and car).
Roomdailycleaning, linen and towel change
Open air parking
Reception services (24hours)&Concierge services
Use of theOLI SPA from11.00am to 8.00 pm (5connecting indoor and outdoor thermal pools,
panoramic sauna, steambaths, sensory showers, ice fall, Jacuzzi, RelaxRooms)
RATES DO NOT INCLUDE:
Local city tax € 5,00 per person, per night, excluding guests under 14 Please note that city tax
the amount may change according to municipal regulations.
Additional spaces for IntimateWeddings:
WEDDING DINNER Location (Optional): BRUNELLO TERRACE in exclusive use (Plan
A); BRUNELLO RESTAURANT in exclusive use (Plan B)
After Dinner Party
Furniture different from existing at the time of inspection Offices, kitchens, meeting rooms and
storage rooms Decorations
All Banqueting Equipment (to be charged separately)
F&B 10% Service Charge Valet Parking
Plan B: in case of bad weather conditions, to be confirmed at least 15 days before the Event
150 €/pp Entrance Fee for Couples’ External Guests Apply
Whatever is not listed in the paragraph “Rate Includes”
Summarising, all 3 amazing castles are ‘wedding-perfect’. Each every one of them offers a unique experience, great food and wine, which is what describes Tuscany. What would I do? I have no idea! Perhaps you could also decide on all 3! Nowadays, many newlyweds do after- and post-wedding parties somewhere else (this is what we did!). Castello Banfi and Velona are located only about 20 minutes from each other ( you can see Banfi from the sunset wing at Velona actually!) while Castel Monastero is only about 1- hour drive! I would really encourage all travel lovers or brides and grooms to be to go to Florence, rent a car and see those 3 charming castles for themselves. You won’t regret it for sure!
I also encourage you to visit my Wedding Destination page here.