The Fairytale Wedding under the Tuscan Sun

The Fairytale Wedding under the Tuscan Sun

April 27, 2021 01:35 pm

Everyone dreams of the magical fairytale wedding in a special far away romantic destination. Imagine your wedding at a 1,000 year old monastery in the countryside of Tuscany Italy in the fall, with all the hills alive with vineyards dressed out in reds and yellows like a blaze of fire.




An olive grove is your setting for the wedding ceremony, with rolling hills of those beautiful vineyards all ablaze in color from the bright sunshine as your backdrop. The chairs are set with beautiful white linens, you’re positioned under a beautiful white arch covered in gorgeous white roses, standing under a group of olive trees, and you have 37 of your friends and family making it a very romantic cozy wedding. If this is your dream read on, as we actually pulled it off. It was the most romantic, spiritual wedding you could ever imagine.

Our journey began some many months before. We were searching for a place in Italy to have a destination wedding. We researched so many different venues, AirBNB, professional wedding planners, large corporation activities planners, nothing really fit. One of our friends Ciarra was speaking with Frani discussing our attempts when Ciarra said “I gave you the place 6 months ago” Ciarra had sent Frani a link to Borgo San Fedele but it didn’t work so she wrote it off. Ciarra resent the link, we looked at the website and looked at each other, and at the same time we both said “this is it”!!

Well this is not a place you can rent online. The couple that own it will only accept referrals from people who have been there. We were introduced to Nicolo in a beautiful email by Ciarra’s friend, Marie. We scheduled a skype call to Italy. We fell in love with Nicolo immediately. He was soft spoken yet worldly, he was definitely spiritual and we just knew it would turn out amazing. So the journey began.

We spoke many times by skype and email. We were concerned being so far away that planning the wedding would be difficult. Nicolo reassured us it would all be handled and not to worry. It became apparent very early on that Nicolo would become our wedding planner extraordinaire…he made arrangements for the photographer, the florist, the hair and makeup artist, the caterer, and the DJ. We rented their Historic Residence for 8 days. San Fedele was a relic when Nicolo and Renata purchased it. They spent 6 years restoring it to maintain the historical significance of the site. Along with the Monastery, there are 17 guest rooms. Each guest room is different, furnished with unique pieces and materials suited to the colors of the walls. Every room has the old world charm with the modern amenities. They are cozy, warm inviting and beyond our expectation with each fairly large in size. Each room had it’s own character…one was the cave room, another the balcony room and so on. 

The week of the wedding started with all of the guests arriving in Rome and spending several days touring the city with all it’s architecture, frescoes and history. The night before we were to leave Rome and travel to San Fedele, we planned to meet for dinner with all of our wedding guests in a nice Italian restaurant, all set up by Nicolo. It was a grand evening with free-flowing wine, pasta and many different fresh Italian foods. There were 30 of us dining that evening. We spent at least 3 hours enjoying dinner, wine, desert and great company. When it came time for the check we told the waiter how to divide it up, he informed us there is only one check so we decided to pay for it and collect from everyone else. The waiter brought the check and when I looked at it I had to ask if they got everything on the bill. He assured me they had. I was astonished when the bill for 30 people was 754.00 Euro’s. At the time with exchange rate was $829.00 dollars. In the US this would have been 2 to 3 thousand dollars. We learned that the custom is not to tip waiters in Italy. We came to find out throughout our trip, the food in Italy is excellent, and very inexpensive.

Okay so the next day, we all met at the train station to meet the tour bus that would take us on a 3-and-a-half-hour journey to our destination San Fedele (the monastery) in the Tuscany region near Sienna. We thoroughly enjoyed the trip as we were all friends and family, and the tour bus was rented by us, so it was all ours. 

We arrived at San Fedele and were greeted by Nicolo and his family. All 37 people had been assigned rooms ahead of time, as they are all different in their own way. Frani and I had flown in the week before and chose the rooms. After the party on the bus, and arriving at this magnificent place, everyone was excited to see what was to evolve over the next 8 days. 

It was almost time for dinner which would be cooked by our own personal Italian chef Andrea who would also cook for us all week. But before we could eat, we had to all meet in the vestibule for an aperitif. The prosecco was cold and delightful it was the way we started every evening meal that week. Several people were then chosen to join the chef in the kitchen to help prepare the meal and learn to cook the Italian way. Chef Andrea was a character, first you had to have a glass of wine in order to be in the kitchen, it’s the only way to cook in Italy. The kitchen was more modern with high end commercial appliances. It was downstairs. A little history here. When they were renovating the monastery they could not change the footprint of the building so in order to add a kitchen and storage they had to excavate below and create an area in which all this could be done. Each evening, a group of people helped Chef Andrea prep the meal. We actually helped prepare the fresh vegetable, the pasta, the meats, etcetera. It was definitely one of the highlights of the week. We all then enjoyed a four course Italian dinner all together in one room. We spent hours together laughing, talking, and enjoying the long meals.




Each day would begin with Renata, Nicolo’s wife, cooking us breakfast with these amazing muffins, croissants, local berries, cereals, breads, and so on. It was a time everyone looked forward to.

Now here is where the fun begins. Each day we had a very special excursion. We rented four 12 passenger vans that we used to travel to these different places. Nicolo would lead us there and then spend the day with us in each location, showing us all the different local things to do. He was a master at it. We went to San Gimignano a hill town in Tuscany southwest of Florence, a very special organic cashmere goat farm, Sienna, Radda in Chianti a small walled city in the hills, a special monk monastery tour not available to the public that was so spiritual you could feel the presence of the monks from the past as you walked around. The frescoes on the ceilings of the small church on that property were truly amazing. Our friend Gary sang Amazing Grace while we were sitting in this special church and there was not a dry eye “in the house”. Another excursion was a hot air balloon ride over Sienna and the countryside, with a champagne breakfast in an open field at the end. On another day some people went to Florence, while others choose to go to a hot springs spa, or drive vintage Alfa Romeo convertibles through the hills of Tuscany and stop in small towns along the way. We had two winery tours that ended each time with an amazing spread of food. It was olive harvest season and we were taken to a small local olive oil processing plant were we watched them process the olives into the cold press machines and we drank the extra virgin olive oil directly from the machine at the end. Olive oil in the US is nowhere near what you get in Italy. It has a spicey bite to it and it’s dark green just like the olives. 



Every morning we would begin with everyone asking us “how are you going outdo yesterday”. Nicolo and Renata really showed us what the inside of Italy was like, not the touristy version most people get. 

Now to the wedding. It was October, the Vineyards were all turning yellow and bright red, the weather was 50’s at night and 60’s in the daytime with the sun shining every day. The chairs were all decorated in white linen in the olive grove looking towards the vineyards on the rising crest of the hills in front of us. The arch was adorned in white roses. The women were having their hair done in the church by a local hairdresser, everyone was getting ready. It was an exciting day. The ceremony was held with 37 of our friends in attendance with my sister Renee, and Frani’s sister Katey and brother Larry performing our symbolic ceremony. It was a magical moment when Frani appeared from the doorway of the building looking absolutely beautiful and we both walked along the outside of the chairs where our guests were seated, and we met in front of the arch in the center of the olive grove. With our siblings performing the ceremony, we made our vows to each other. It was so beautiful. As we walked back down the aisle together we invited everyone to the reception in the courtyard.

What we walked into were tents set up all around the courtyard with different foods from the local area, one tent displayed all the local meats including wild boar, rabbit, and a variety of all the Italian meats, another had all the local cheeses, another had all the local breads, another had fried foods from the area, another had wines, prosecco, grappa, and assorted liquors, and another had seafood topped breads with luscious condiments.  It was becoming apparent everyone was getting filled up on these amazing tidbits and we realized we had to make an announcement that there was a five course meal yet to come. 

At sunset we moved inside where the tables were set. We began with all the toasts from just about everyone as they brought out the first course. The meal was cooked by local chefs of the area right on site so it was fresh and hot. After everyone ate we then attacked the desert table, it was 30 feet long and had berries, cakes, chocolates, and so much more. You think it would end there but it didn’t we then had a DJ in the next room who was this hot Italian guy in his early 30’s. The women loved him!!!! He played and sang all types of American music oldies, disco etc. Everyone was blown away at how well he sang them. Then at the end he sang a solo in his opera baritone, and had all the women swooning as he sang “Nessun Dorma” from Turandot by Puccini. We danced until after midnight, no one wanted to end the evening. Before retiring for the evening, we gave everyone a Chinese lantern to light and send off into the sky. The entire day was absolutely magical. 

Now the hard part it was when it was time to go, you know when you have been somewhere so long you want to get back home, that was not the case here. We did not want it to end. It was a fairytale week that to this day three years later when we all get together, we talk of all the great times we had together there. If you are ever looking for that magical wedding celebration this is the place to have it. We fell in love with Nicolo, Renata, their son Filippo and San Fedele, and to this day, we are still friends and speak often.

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