Why A Tuscany Elopement?
It is a fair question, and most of our friends have posed it in recent conversations. Since she was a little girl, our daughter has known exactly what she wanted, including how she would be married. ‘Six people on a beach’ was her standard until she grew up and started traveling the world with the man who is now her husband. Somewhere along their journey to true love, they realized that any one of the beautiful destinations they have traveled to would be the perfect place to make a lifelong commitment to each other. Where and when became an easy choice as they considered their options.
In 2006 we took a family vacation to France and Italy to celebrate Malcolm’s retirement and as it happened, our stay in Tuscany coincided (on purpose) with our daughter’s 16th birthday. We remember fondly the hugs and giggles we shared, opening a bottle of wine on a hilltop at sunset while watching the valley slowly disappear.
We like to think that her wanderlust and talent for bringing fairytales to life originated from those early travels and her strong sense of family. Tuscany, in late summer at Borgo Santo Pietro was indeed a fairytale brought to life.
This three-hundred-acre property is unparalleled in luxury and accommodation and has a working farm, vegetable garden, vineyard, flower shop, and cooking school. There are two restaurants, a spa, a pool, an outdoor theater, and multiple lawns and gardens throughout the property.
A unique labyrinth of hedges creates intrigue and privacy between outlying guest suites, the main villa, and common areas. Service is nothing short of perfection and our comfort and enjoyment was an obvious priority. To say that this was a fairytale wedding would be a vast understatement. It was an exquisite romantic experience that we will remember and celebrate for a lifetime.
Our daughter chose three garden suites, away from the main villa for our stay. Our suite is pictured below. The proximity was great for the garden ceremony and we quickly discovered shortcuts through a maze of intricate pathways.
In addition to the wedding day festivities, we enjoyed spa treatments, a pizza-making class, gelato by the pool, and a private farm-to-table dinner during our stay at Borgo Santo Pietro.
Dough making and foraging in the garden for pizza toppings was a big hit with everyone. Eating tomatoes fresh from the vine was my favorite part, while Malcolm earned high marks for his dough kneading technique. Morgan, not so much! Apparently, the secret to success is finishing with no mess on your hands.
It is pretty obvious that we loved this activity. Each of us made our own dough and designed our individual pizza with vegetables picked from the garden, but we were not allowed to use that amazing oven. Our Chef/Instructor, Marco cooked the pizzas for us in just 90 seconds each. Yes, it is that hot. They were as good as they look and we ate them at a picnic table set up just for us, complete with a bottle of Prosecco. Just what we needed, more wine!
Farm to Table
On one of our four nights at the boutique resort, (20 rooms) we opted for dinner at a private table overlooking the vineyard. On this particular night, dinner was prepared exclusively using ingredients from the farm. Our choices included a variety of vegetables, meats, and cheeses. We supplied the wine this evening from a couple of vineyards in the region that we had previously toured.
After Dinner by the Fire
The fire pit just outside Trattoria sull’Albero is a great after-dinner gathering place. The weather was perfect for a fire and we lingered there well into the evening on more than one occasion.
When we weren’t participating in a planned activity, checking in with the on-site florist, or getting ready for a wedding, we explored the property and simply enjoyed being together in this peaceful, nurturing environment.
My daughter has always been my favorite subject to photograph and inspired by her joy, the beauty of Tuscany and Borgo Santo Pietro, I was in heaven. I will use most of the photos to create a photo album for us and one for each of the grandmothers. I had originally intended to post ‘real-time’ photos on Instagram, but Morgan did such a wonderful job telling our story through ‘Reels’ I decided to forfeit that task. You can check out her Insta reels here.
Just Us Two
Malcolm and I stole a few minutes each day to relax and enjoy our surroundings. The cigar he is enjoying was a welcome gift from the bride to her dad. My gift from her was an aromatherapy candle with an inscription under the lid. She knows us well.
‘You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams’.
It is impossible to visit Italy and not have Gelato. We indulged at every opportunity, including our own poolside Gelato extravaganza. I will admit that I did not know this is a thing, but apparently, Gelato carts are for hire for special events, like children’s birthday parties, or well, fantasy weddings. Morgan chose three flavors and had enough for 50 guests – we were six people! After we had our fill, (and that was a lot), we invited the other hotel guests and the staff to help themselves.
Exploring Outside the Gates – Florence
We spent an evening and one-half day in Florence before driving to Borgo Santo Pietro. Dinner at Giostra and a brisk walk around town the following day provided a quick reminder of this beautiful city. We have all been to Florence before, so we didn’t feel too guilty about not allowing more time here. If you go, not to be missed, are the Uffizi Gallery, the Accademia Gallery (David), Ponte Vecchi Bridge, and the Piazza Duomo.
While staying at the resort, we took one day to explore the countryside, visit a couple of wineries, and take in the most beautiful sunset location in the region.
Our son-in-law researched local wineries, and he introduced us to San Polino where we tasted some delicious Brunellos. We bought a few bottles and served them at the ‘farm to table’ dinner mentioned earlier. The tour was quirky and fun, and the owner is obviously passionate about her work. At times she sounded more like a mad scientist than a winemaker. We highly recommend this winery for both the experience and its wines.
‘At San Polino we believe that harmony in nature creates excellent wines’
Not only do they ‘believe’ it, but they also encourage harmony through their practices and academic study of the land. If you would like to know more about their philosophy please visit the link above.
Tuscany has an abundance of beautiful walled villages but Monteriggioni seems special even before you reach the medieval gates set high on a hilltop. We spent our time here admiring stone buildings that date back to the 1200s, shopping for picnic items and yes, we ate more gelato. The valley below the wall in the third photo is the famed Chianti region. The drive to Monteriggioni with its undulating hills was breathtaking. The two strong cypress trees at the top of the hill inspired this shot.
Inside the city walls
People come to Crete Senesi (search Google Images or Instagram) to witness the sun setting beyond a serpentine road lined with magnificent cypress trees. It is an amazing sight, but I preferred the golden glow of two beautiful young people about to be married.
Speaking of Cypress trees, which seem to be as common to the Tuscan landscape as terracotta rooftops and cobblestone streets, we tracked down one of the most Instagrammed locations in Tuscanny – isn’t it a joy to travel with young people? Don’t answer that. I have to admit, it was very beautiful and worth a few bumps in the road – literally.
I know you were expecting wedding pictures, but alas, the ‘professionals’ won’t have them ready for another two or three weeks. Until then, I will offer these ‘preview shots’ released to us a few days ago, along with a few candid cellphone shots from dinner.
With the wedding ceremony behind us and about to cut the cake, we all let loose – just a little…..
If you stayed with this post until the end, thank you. I know it is long and self-indulgent, but if you can’t indulge a little at a time like this, when can you? Our joy cannot be fully conveyed here, but I hope this attempt to share our experience has left you feeling the warm glow of a Tuscan sunset and the happiness of two people in love.
I have loved the lyrics of this song since the first time I heard it. It expresses every parent’s wish for their child as they make their way in the world. It thrills our hearts to know that our daughter has found the one she wants to dance through life with. Our hearts are full….
‘Love at first sight is easy to understand; it’s when two people have been looking at each other for a lifetime that it becomes a miracle.’ Sam Levenson