After years of venue vetting for parties and weddings in Italy I have lost count of the number of properties I have seen. The portfolio of villas, castles, wineries and palazzos that I end up proposing however is a number I have a very firm grip on and fortunately is ever increasing. With an instinctive understanding of what clients are looking for when they start their search for the perfect wedding venue I can tell almost immediately whether a property has that special ‘wow’ factor. This week I was invited by Galateo Ricevimenti to a private viewing of Castello di Verrazzano in Chianti.
The castle is already known for its historic wines, produced from the 52 hectares of vineyards within the estate, and as the birthplace of Giovanni Verrazzano, celebrated navigator and discoverer of the bay of New York, the famous bridge in New York being named after him in 1964. The owners have recently decided to open the property for private events however and this was an opportunity to explore the venue and fully understand its potential. Already on the approach, climbing up through the olive groves in the sunshine, my heart gave a little flutter as is does when I just know a venue is going to be great.
The views from this dominating position in the Chianti hills are second to none and just as a gallery visitor is drawn towards a particularly beautiful work of art, here you are immediately drawn to and drawn in by the beautiful landscape before you. Not by chance, many of us event planners found ourselves gazing over the valley from the outdoor loggia (covered terrace) unanimously hailing this the perfect space for an al fresco celebratory dinner. What first strikes you on entering the grounds is the overwhelming respect for the history and tradition of the property, evident in how beautifully it is kept, from the lemon tree and cypress lined gardens to the wonderful wine cellars beneath.
On our tour through the cantina we passed through impressive, immaculate cellars housing important vintages, including the family collections. “We still uphold the tradition of keeping the wine cellars as you would keep your living space, if not better!” explained Signora Cappellini as we passed under a sign reading ‘Silence please, the wine is resting!’
To the delight of the wedding planners among us, opposite the main façade of the castle sits a beautiful little church, accessed by a separate gate and under the shade of a grand oak tree, ideal for elegant and intimate ceremonies without the lovely logistical challenges of transporting guests to and from a separate location to say I do.
Back on the main lawn in the sunshine, prosecco in hand, there was much enthusiasm for the next chapter of the castle as a venue for weddings and events. As the current owner, Mr. Cappellini himself, was sharing ideas about some innovative menus to reflect the history of the property I was figuring out how many people I could fit around tables in front of that view…and the best place for a killer live band under the stars!
With Galateo managing the catering, the ingredients for the perfect wedding are already in place. I’m looking forward to returning with some brides and grooms to be…if I haven’t got accidentally lost in the wine cellars before then!
Thank you to Castello di Verrazzano and Galateo Ricevimenti for kick starting the season for us in style.