The best places for civil ceremony in Tuscany

2 March 2017

Maybe you don’t know that Tuscany is very rich in churches. Whether they are Romanesque, Baroque or modern, most of them are ideal for moving and touching ceremonies, in a setting full of charm and history. The same cannot be said for civil ceremonies. The rite of the civil wedding is short, cold and unexciting. The setting where it takes place, which usually is the town hall, is unattractive.

Who doesn’t dream a civil  wedding on a beach, with the sound of the waves in the background? Or in a garden of a grand Italian villa with relatives and friends? Although some town halls of Tuscany are kept in an excellent way,  wouldn’t be nicer to have a civil service outdoors?

red italian car for the wedding

Since a few years, you can have civil ceremonies in unique places, such the gardens of the most beautiful  historical villas of Tuscany.

These places are perfect because:

  • the civil rites celebrated in Italy are valid internationally. Thanks to bilateral agreements, the Italian legislation is accepted in all the countries of the world. The wedding  is as valid as the one celebrated in your home country;
  • The wedding pictures will be outstanding. These places are located in settings rich in suggestive spots and breathtaking views. The pictures of your marriage will benefit from it. You’ll get many fantastic memories of the day to share with friends and families.
  • Availability of accommodation in the area. Some are villas where you can also arrange the reception. If that wouldn’t be possible, Tuscany is rich in farmhouses and cottages for you and  your guests;
  • Atmosphere full history and charm. Whether it’s the beach or the countryside, your guests will be happy to visit art cities and relax immersed in nature. Your wedding will be the perfect excuse to enjoy a holiday in Tuscany.


Certaldo is a small village in the heart of the most authentic Tuscany, among yellowed hills and vineyards. The higher part is famous for the houses made of red bricks and the balconies full of flowers. It is located on the top of a hill, from which you enjoy a breathtaking view. At the highest point of the village, there is the Palazzo Pretorio, where civil ceremonies take place.

Palazzo Pretorio in Certaldo

Unless it rains, the wedding will take place in the courtyard. You will pronounce your vows surrounded by the coats of arms of the famous Florentine families, by walls and vaults, under which you can take exciting photographs at the end of the ceremony.

Certaldo is immersed in the Tuscan countryside, full of yellowed hills and dirt roads. So, while your guests are heading towards the reception,  you can get amazing wedding photos at sunset.

bride and groom in the countryside of tuscany
The countryside around Certaldo

Whether your wedding is big or small, there are restaurants, villas, cottages and hotels in the surroundings. I will be happy to recommend you a few on request.

Villa Grabau

Villa Grabau is the most beautiful villa of Lucca.

Villa Grabau provides multiple areas on where you can arrange the ceremony and reception. There are two gardens: the first is located in the shade of a large ultra-secular tree; chilly and windy, it’s perfect for summer ceremonies and wedding photos. Right close there is the large Italian garden, where you can spend the cocktail hour with your guests.

one of the gardens of Villa Grabau

The real highlight of Villa Grabau is the limonaia. From its roof come down long lianas, just above the tables. Its big doors separate it from the terrace, perfect for the cake toss.

A good wedding planner might plan a wedding tailored to your needs at Villa Grabau.  Smaller villas and apartments in the property are available for newlyweds and guests.

a moment from a dinner in front of the facade of the Limonaia of Villa Grabau

Palazzo Orsetti

Palazzo Orsetti is located in the heart of the historical centre of Lucca, and it is possible to reach it walking through the characteristic streets paved with cobblestone. Palazzo Orsetti provides to spouses and guests the green room, so called for the colour of velvet damask lining the walls. A large historical staircase welcomes you once in. It is also the best spot for funny family portraits after the ceremony.

Immediately outside the building, the centre of Lucca! You can get many great wedding pictures while strolling around, by the original doors and under the streetlights. The beautiful white marble basilica is the perfect spot for individual portraits.

Lucca is called the town of the hundred churches and ….thousands of bikes! Why not taking some pictures as you walk up the long tree-lined avenues on the walls, before going to the reception?

Lucca is particularly suitable for small weddings. The reception can be planned in one of the many al-fresco restaurants in town. Should you have hundreds of guest, please consider the majestic villas of the surroundings.

Villa la Ferdinanda

Villa la Ferdinanda is one of the most impressive villas of the whole Tuscany. It is located on the top of a hill in the province of Prato, north of Tuscany.  Known as the Villa Dei Cento Camini (Villa with a hundred chimneys), visible in silhouette against the blue sky at night, it is about 30-minute drive from the centre of Florence.

The villa is enormous, and you can arrange both the civil ceremony and reception within the property. As for the ceremony, the best place is the terrace. You can exchange rings and vows on the lawn, with the amazing view of the surrounding hills as background. Imagine the bridal party walking down the majestic staircase before your grand entrance. A reat treat!

You can arrange the cocktail hour in one of the four gardens before getting in the large halls for dinner. Villa Dei Cento Camini provides a caterer. The food is excellent and the service too, but they are not very flexible, and they do not speak a good English. Also, don’t forget to ask for exclusivity! That’s why a good wedding planner is required. She/he might help you in communication, in the organisation of the ceremony and the setting of the tables.

As for the photo shoot, it takes place within the property. Next to one of the garden, there’s a secret spot, perfect for some intimate portraits at sunset.

You should consider the nearby Hotel for the accommodation of families and guests. If you look for something more authentic, you should see the beautiful apartments in Tuscan style of Artimino, 5-minutes walking from the villa. Both the hotel and the apartments are perfect for a short or long stay. Why don’t begin the honeymoon here?

The Sala Rossa in Florence

The Sala Rossa (Red Hall) is located inside Palazzo Vecchio, the symbol of Florence in the world.

In front of its old facade, there is Piazza Della Signoria, the Loggia Dei Lanzi and the Uffizi Gallery. Long story short: you are in one of the most beautiful places in the world! There is no other place with a such a high concentration of beauty in so little space. Imagine getting out of the hall, just married, and walking the streets of Florence in your white dress, carefree and happy, with your husband on your side. A real treat!

newlyweds in florence with a view

The Red Hall is named so for the red velvet damask lining the walls. Many old paintings of the great historical battles, enriched with baroque gold frames enrich the room; over your head, large chandeliers handcrafted in Murano glass.

The ceremony is quite expensive and, given the time it takes, it might seem a rip-off. But it is the right price to pay to be in the midst of all this beauty.

photographer florence

Whether your wedding is big or small, Florence has everything you need.   Look here for some suggestions about the reception. For smaller weddings, one of the many al-fresco restaurants might be the best solution. Should you wish something different but very Italian,  500 Touring Club provides three old Fiat Cinquecento cars for tours out of the city.

Villa Orlando

Villa Orlando is located in Torre del Lago (tower on the lake, in English), a seaside location in Versilia, hanging between the waters of the Lake Puccini and the ocean. Torre del Lago is named so because of the tower of Villa Orlando, above which are celebrated great civil weddings.

Villa Orlando is ideal for a romantic and touching wedding on the banks of the lake. Since their first entry in the beautiful tree-lined avenue leading to the villa, your friends and families will be open-mouthed. As for brides, there is no better entrance to the ceremony. In fact, while guests and groom wait, the bride gets to the tower by a typical boat on the lake. The tower, in fact, was born as a mooring for boats during the hunting season.

The villa, in addition to the ceremony, also hosts receptions. The large tent in the garden and the Scuderia are perfect for cocktail hour and dinner.  The lovely lady who administers it will give you all the information you need.


Volterra is one of the most famous Tuscan cities. Just a few people know that actually celebrating a civil wedding in Volterra is a choice full of charm and atmosphere.

Volterra is suitable for small weddings and  elopements. This is because there are no nearby facilities for large receptions.

The place where the civil rituals are held in Volterra is the beautiful hall of the Maggior Consiglio in Palazzo Priori. The neo-Gothic historical vaults of the room, with the precious frescoes, make this place a real pearl of Tuscany. The room can accommodate up to 90 people, almost all seated. What is most surprising is the cost, really ridiculous. For non-resident citizens, the civil wedding costs 300 €.

Once booked, you can enjoy the hall for one hour so that you can take some photographs before leaving the building.

Thanks for sharing!

I hope this information will be helpful in planning your civil wedding in Tuscany. I realise that it is not easy, especially for those who cannot be continuously present in here. Please let me know if you have any question or concern. I’m happy to help!

This guide has been written and published for free. Your sharing would much appreciated!

Are you getting married in Italy? Is there anything we can do for you? Feel free to drop a line if you have any questions!
bride holding the dress with her hand and a ring