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The best places for civil ceremonies 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 touching ceremonies, in a setting full of charm and history. The rite of the civil wedding instead is short and cold. The context where it takes place, which usually is the town hall, is unattractive. Who doesn’t dream a civil wedding on the beach, with the sound of the waves in the background? Or in the garden of a magnificent Italian villa with relatives and friends? Please see below the best places for civil ceremonies in Tuscany.

photographer tuscany

Since a few years, you can have civil ceremonies in unique and wondrous places, such as the gardens of the most beautiful historical villas of Tuscany. These come with many benefits:

  • 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 authentic as the one celebrated in your home country;
  • The wedding pictures will be outstanding. These places are located in fabulous spots and breathtaking views. Your wedding photographs will benefit from it. You’ll get many fantastic memories of the day to share with friends and families.
  • Great accommodation. Your guests might stay in the same place where you celebrate the wedding. If that wouldn’t be possible, Tuscany is rich in farmhouses and cottages for your and their accommodation.
  • Scenery full history and charm. Whether it’s the beach or the countryside, your guests will be spending some time in Italy. Your wedding will also be the perfect excuse for a holiday!
nice italian car in the garden of a villa
get a vintage car and drive through the white road of Tuscany after the ceremony!

Certaldo

Certaldo is a tiny village in the heart of the most authentic Tuscany, among yellowed hills and vineyards. It’s famous for its red bricks houses and the balconies full of flowers. It’s located on a hilltop, from which you enjoy a breathtaking view. At the top, you’ll find Palazzo Pretorio, the town hall. Weddings usually take place in the courtyard. You will pronounce your vows surrounded by the coats of arms of the famous Florentine families, frescoed on the old walls, under which your wedding photographer can take breathtaking photographs at the end.

the town hall in certaldo
the town hall in certaldo

Certaldo is immersed in the Tuscan countryside, full of yellowed hills and white roads. So, while your guests are heading to the reception,  you can get terrific wedding images at sunset. Whether your wedding is big or small, there are lots of restaurants, villas, cottages and hotels in the surroundings.

people attending a wedding in certaldo
bride and groom walk for the first time as husband and wife through a gate in certaldo

 

Villa Grabau

Villa Grabau is the most beautiful villa in Lucca. Villa Grabau provides multiple areas on where you can arrange a ceremony and reception. One of the gardens is located in the shade of a large secular tree. Chilly and windy, it’s perfect for summer ceremonies and wedding photos. A short distance away you’ll find another vast garden, where you can spend the cocktail hour with your guests.

aerial view of villa grabau
the main garden of villa grabau

The real highlight of Villa Grabau is the conservatory – Limonaia in Italian. The branches of an enormous ficus hang down from the ceiling, just above the tables. Its big doors separate the Lemon House from the terrace, perfect for the cake cutting. A good wedding planner might plan a wedding tailored to your needs at Villa Grabau. A few tiny villas and apartments are available for the stay of newlyweds and guests in the property.

Palazzo Orsetti

Palazzo Orsetti is located in the heart of the old centre of Lucca, and it is possible to reach it walking through the typical streets paved with cobblestone. For civil ceremonies, Palazzo Orsetti provides the Sala Verde to spouses and guests, so called for the colour of velvet damask lining the walls. A significant historical staircase welcomes you in, and it’s also the best spot for family photos after the ceremony.

the green room in the town hall in palazzo orsetti in lucca
the green room of palazzo orsetti

Later you can get many great wedding pictures while strolling around Lucca, 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 …. thousand of bikes! Why not taking some images as you ride a bike along the tree-lined avenues on the walls, before going to the reception? Lucca is a great fit for small weddings. The reception can be planned in one of the many restaurants al-fresco in town. Should you have hundreds of guests, please consider one of the grand villas in the surroundings.

Villa la Ferdinanda

Villa la Ferdinanda is one of the most impressive villas of Tuscany. It is located on the hilltop in the countryside of Prato. Known as the Villa Dei Cento Camini (Villa of the hundred chimneys), 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 on the grounds. As for the service, the best place is the terrace with a view. You can exchange rings and vows on the lawn, with a fantastic view of the village of Artimino in the background. Imagine the bridal party walking down the majestic staircase before your grand entrance. A real treat!

villa la ferdinanda from the drone
villa la ferdinanda from the drone

You can arrange the cocktail hour in one of the big four gardens before getting into the large halls for dinner. Villa Dei Cento Camini provides an affordable in-house caterer. The food is excellent and the service too, but they are not very flexible, and they do not speak good English. A good wedding planner is highly recommended. She/he might help you in communication, in the organisation of the ceremony and the setting of the tables. As for the photo shoot, there are so many spots on the grounds!

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 not begin the honeymoon here?

The Sala Rossa in Florence

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

the red room in the town hall of florence
the red room in the town hall of florence

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 such a high concentration of beauties in so little space. Imagine getting out of the hall, just married, and strolling around the streets of Florence in your white dress, carefree and happy, with your husband on your side. A real treat! 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 decorate the room; over your head, large chandeliers handcrafted in Murano glass.

newlyweds hugging each other on ponte santa trinita with the view of ponte vecchio at dusk

Whether your wedding is big or small, Florence provides everything you might need.  Look here for some tips about the reception. For smaller weddings, one of the many restaurants al-fresco might be the best solution. Should you wish something different but very Italian, the 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, a seaside location in Versilia, hanged between the waters of the Lake Puccini and the ocean. Torre del Lago is named so because of the tower of the villa, on top of which great civil ceremonies are celebrated.

villa orlando in torre del lago
villa orlando

Villa Orlando is ideal for romantic weddings on the banks of the lake. Since their first entry in the beautiful tree-lined avenue, your friends and families will be speechless. And while guests and groom wait for the bridal entrance, she’ll get to the tower by boat! The villa, in addition to the ceremony, also hosts receptions. The large marquee in the garden and the Scuderia are perfect for cocktail hour and dinner later.

Volterra

Volterra is one of the most famous Tuscan villages. It’s the best for small weddings and elopements.

intimte reception in the garden of a villa of tuscany

Civil ceremonies take places in the beautiful hall of the Maggior Consiglio of Palazzo Priori. The neo-Gothic historic vaults of the room and the precious frescoes make this place the real gem of Tuscany. The room can accommodate up to 90 people, almost all seated. Rates are cheap. Once booked, you can enjoy the hall for one hour so that you can take some wedding photos before leaving the building.

Thanks for sharing!

I hope this information will help to discover the best places for civil weddings in Tuscany. 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 be much appreciated!

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