Italian Escapes

Mount Etna Italy
Mount Etna Italy // Photo by stevenmayatt/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images
At Palazzo Avino’s Terazza Belvedere, guests can enjoy 65 different martinis.
At Palazzo Avino’s Terazza Belvedere, guests can enjoy 65 different martinis.

From the delectable cuisine to amazing wines to breathtaking landscape, Italy boasts a number of luxury properties that will give any bride and groom a romantic experience of a lifetime. Here, we single out two resorts that will have couples living la dolce vita.

Palazzo Avino

For those looking for an intimate experience with old-world charm, Palazzo Avino is the way to go. This 12th-century Italian villa is located in the medieval town of Ravello, high atop the hills of the Amalfi Coast, overlooking the Mediterranean. Designed to evoke the feeling of a private home, couples can exchange vows in a comfortable, yet breathtaking, locale.

At Borgo Egnazia, couples can hold their reception among the olive groves.
At Borgo Egnazia, couples can hold their reception among the olive groves.

For the ceremony and reception, couples can celebrate in Rossellini’s Terrace and Garden (in the case of a buyout), or Rossellini’s Terrace and the Clubhouse by the Sea, both of which offer stunning views. These venues are ideal for small gatherings, as the maximum capacity is 70 people. The Terrazza Belvedere, overlooking some of the best views of the coast, is a venue where guests can enjoy an assortment of small bites and fresh pastas. Rossellini’s, the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant, offers an authentic Italian meal paired with handpicked regional wines in an intimate, candlelit setting.

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Guests can work with an onsite wedding coordinator, who will assist with all of the requirements from flowers to table arrangements and music suggestions — anything a couple can think of to make their day special. For example, the hotel hosted a very special wedding two years ago, where the couple did a buyout of the whole hotel for two days. There was a fun rehearsal dinner at the beach club with a picnic-style dinner and live music. The wedding reception was held the following day at the Palazzo in different locations. They served mozzarella made in front of the guests, pasta dishes, fritters and a dessert buffet with offerings from local delicatessens. Note: At Palazzo Avino, couples can also be treated to touches, such as a welcome amenity like rose petals in the evening at turndown.

At Palazzo Avino, sea-view rooms are 270 square feet in size with vistas of the Mediterranean.
At Palazzo Avino, sea-view rooms are 270 square feet in size with vistas of the Mediterranean.

All rooms and suites have unique touches, including the standard Deluxe Sea View Suites, which have been renovated and furnished with handpicked Vietri tiles and antique carpets and furnishings from the 18th and 19th centuries, making them anything but standard. The rooms also have textiles from Hermes, Dedar and Rubelli. It is recommended that guests stay in a room or suite with a sea view to fully enjoy the vistas of the Amalfi Coast. The Infinito Suite is the largest suite at the resort, boasting 1,076 square feet of pure opulence. Located on the top floor of the building, the bi-level suite has a living room with a dining area, one bedroom, one bathroom with a Jacuzzi and a separate shower and a second bathroom off the living area. But arguably the piece de resistance of this suite is on the top floor that includes a private outdoor terrace with amazing views, a Jacuzzi and a private dining area, ideal for a romantic dinner for two. The suite is equipped with plasma TVs and Bose Hi-Fi in all areas. Advisors should contact Mariella Avino ([email protected]).

Borgo Egnazia

Nestled among the trees overlooking the Adriatic Coast in southern Italy, Borgo Egnazia is built entirely of indigenous materials traditional to local architecture. Inspired by the cultural traditions of its coastal surroundings, yet thoroughly contemporary in style, Borgo Egnazia is a natural setting for a romantic retreat. The hotel even offers a unique honeymoon package tailored to give newlyweds an authentic Apulian experience.

At Borgo Egnazia, the hotel pool is the perfect place to tan before walking down the isle.
At Borgo Egnazia, the hotel pool is the perfect place to tan before walking down the isle.

For couples looking to follow in the shoes of Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel, who wed at the resort in 2012, there is an internal team dedicated to wedding planning and assisting throughout the special celebration. The resort offers a full wedding planning package tailor-made to each individual couple's needs. Ceremonies and receptions can be held at a number of onsite venues, including Piazza Don Cataldo, Colonnato Restaurant, Uliveto Restaurant, Cala Masciola Beach Club, Masseria Pettolecchia, San Domenico a Mare Beach Club and the olive groves nearby for an alfresco experience. The hotel organizes tailor-made events, and with the many options for locations, there are a wide variety of possibilities for table set-ups. They work with local floral designers and together can create the perfect atmosphere to match the couple’s wishes.

Honeymooners should opt to stay in the Suite Egnazia, the top suite at Borgo Egnazia. This posh accommodation was specifically designed for romance. There are three spacious rooms, two bathrooms, two large private terraces with views of the olive groves and Adriatic Sea, and a private swimming pool. Another option is Villa Padronale (Owner’s Villa), the most exclusive villa spread over 5,380 square feet featuring a large garden, views overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and olive groves, an 88-foot pool, and the exclusive service of a full-time massaia (house mother), butler and personal local advisor to offer ideas on what to do in the area.

Ideal rooms for wedding guests staying at the resort are the villas (29 on property) or the rooms in the Borgo area, which are small casettas great for families or friends wanting to enjoy the feeling of being in a small Apulian town with a small street and piazza.

To unwind before the ceremony, an area of the VAIR Spa can be taken over by the bridal party, including the hotel’s roman bath area and some of the treatment rooms, where the hotel can organize group activities or individual experiences. Brides can also arrange a “Beauty Backstage” package for all of the wedding party and the bride, where they can have a private hairstylist and makeup artist come to the room for bridal preparations.

In addition to hosting Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel’s wedding, the resort recently hosted a mythology-themed wedding for an Indian fashion empire heir and the daughter of an Indian iron magnate. The wedding had more than 800 guests and featured hologram gods, dancers on jets of water, grass tablecloths, a performance by Florence and the Machine, an elephant and a firework finale, proving that the team at Borgo Egnazia can certainly cater to every bride and groom’s request. Luxury travel advisors should contact Marcella Cecere ([email protected]), wedding coordinator.

Advisor Insight

Jill Taylor of Jetset World Travel just spent a month exploring Italy and found Monteverdi Tuscany in Castiglioncello del Trinoro to be especially unique, with a natural beauty and serenity that works well for a honeymoon stay.

“The sweeping views of the Val d’Orcia [region] transport you into a different world and allow you to leave your worries behind,” she reports. “Sunset is a magical time to grab a bottle of local wine and your partner for a romantic cuddle in a private spot on the property. Then, take a quick stroll through the village for dinner, where you can dine privately under the stars. The culinary team at the hotel focuses on the best and freshest food, grown within a couple of kilometers; they can cater to every desire while pairing it all with the best wines from just down the road. The Val d’Orcia region of Tuscany is a foodie and wine lover’s heaven. Pienza is about a 30-minute drive through picturesque rolling hills and you can taste your way through the town known for pecorino cheese, indulging in olive oil with truffles and local prosciutto that will spoil your taste buds. To explore where the Brunello wine magic happens, Montalcino and Montepulciano are a quick 45-minute jaunt away. Monteverdi has discovered some of the best small vineyards for its tours and you can sit down with the wine makers to toast la dolce vita together. Monteverdi is perfectly situated two hours from Rome and one-and-a-half hours from Florence, so it has easy access if you choose to have your wedding on property. The village of Castiglioncello del Trinoro can be transformed into a wedding wonderland for an intimate group of friends and family.”

Taylor recommends partnering a Tuscan countryside stay with a visit to the coast, namely, Puglia, which she says is akin to stepping back in time. “It is simple yet refined, authentic and diverse, and can be easily explored. For those who want a sexy option outside of the Amalfi Coast and Cinque Terre, this is the place for true travelers,” she advises.

“For those who want to be a bit active, a day of burrata making and biking along the sea need to be on the agenda,” she says.

Newlyweds should opt for a private boat out on the Adriatic with their own crew and executive chef to prepare a fresh lunch of seafood in season and chilled local wines, says Taylor, “all while taking in the breathtaking views of the Puglian coastline while sipping on Prosecco and stopping at hidden spots to swim in the sea.”

For those needing a larger setting for their wedding, Borgo Egnazia would be ideal, she reports. “The moment you walk through the front doors, you feel like you are in a modern-day fairy tale. It oozes romance with hundreds of candles lit throughout the property and as a bride, you would have to feel like a princess. The outdoor courtyard is a perfect setting for dining and dancing. The villas are ideal for groups of friends and families, and the hotel offers many room options that are quintessentially Italian.”

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