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Destination Weddings: Il palagio, a gem in Tuscany

> Written by Yanni Tzoumas

While a captivating headline might read: “Sting and Trudie Styler open up their home in Tuscany for weddings,” Il Palagio is much more than a venue for a destination wedding. It is a home infused with the love and warmth of family bonds, the laughter of children growing up and the music that has filled the air around it over the years.

Located about twenty-five miles southeast of Florence, the Il Palagio estate dates back to the 1700s. Sting and Trudie Styler purchased the property in 1999 and slowly, over the course of ten years, restored the main house and the surrounding structures to their former luster. They also put great care and love into the land where once again, vineyards, olive trees and organic gardens thrive on the 850-acre estate.

“What makes Il Palagio special” remarks Trudie Styler, “is that it’s a place that feeds the senses and the soul.” For the past fourteen years, the family has spent the end of every summer at Il Palagio. They have celebrated anniversaries here—in fact this year on August 20, Trudie and Sting will celebrate their twenty-first anniversary at Il Palagio. Sting has also hosted concerts on the grounds. “The children grew up here,” says Trudie, “and now, the next generation is starting to enjoy it. When we are here, friends come and go and the house is filled with love, laughter and fun. Everyone loves it here so we decided to make the house available and give other people a chance to experience it.”

The main villa is set up high surrounded by tall cypress trees, lush oaks and beautiful olive groves, and boasts a panoramic view of the Tuscan countryside. Sitting at Trudie and Sting’s favorite spot, the terrace above the main pool, a sense of tranquility and peacefulness prevails as cool breezes flow through the towering trees. Sting loves to spend time at this spot where he hosts daily chess tournaments on a giant marble chessboard.

In addition to the main villa, there are guesthouses providing accommodations for up to thirty people. Two additional guesthouses within a 10-minute car ride from the main house, can accommodate eighteen more guests.

The estate is cared for by a brother and sister team—Bina and Paolo Rossi. Bina manages the household staff while Paolo oversees the gardens and the farmland. The entire staff exudes a warm sense of hospitality making guests feel part of the family.

The grounds are meticulously maintained and provide an adventure for those willing to explore. There are spots to stop, relax and unwind reading a book or simply taking in nature. A beautiful lake resides in the surrounding woods with a picturesque tree house to take in the forest’s beauty from above. There are horses available for guided tours through trails, even for novice riders, and there is Cinema Paradiso—a quaint outdoor theatre. The property’s farmhouse, which offers organically grown vegetables, honey, olive oil and wine tasting is a 10-minute bike ride from the main house. The latter three can make unique wedding favor gifts.

When the sun sets and the gentle Tuscan night covers the landscape, candles can illuminate the pathways and courtyard around the main house creating a whimsical, fairy tale-like atmosphere. Long tables can be set for family style dining while wine fills the glasses, music fills the air and joy fills the soul, making for an intimate, memorable celebration.

Il Palagio is also perfectly situated to explore an array of activities in the surrounding areas. Perugia, Pisa, San Gimignano and the Chianti Classico region with its wineries are all within reach. Magnificent Florence where the Tuscan Sun Festival takes place in June celebrating film, art, music and the cuisine of Italy is a 20-minute train ride from the nearby Figline Valdarno train station.

Medieval Arezzo where Italy’s largest antique fair takes place the first Sunday of every month is a mere 38-mile ride. Visit nearby Siena in July or August to see the Palio, an exciting horse race and one of the historic festivals in Italy dating back to the Renaissance.

Other festivals take place in spring, summer and fall. Those nearby include: Estate Fiesolana in an ancient Roman amphitheater featuring jazz, theater and dance; Puccini opera at Torre del Lago; Maggio Musicale Fiorentino with music and dance;  Chigiana Musical Summer with classical music; and Settembre Gaiolese with local gastronomic fair.

With an array of options, Il Palagio is a unique experience. As Trudie notes, “It’s a real retreat from the rest of our lives—it makes you slow down.”

Il Palagio may be booked for special occasions through luxury event planners in the United States, the United Kingdom and Italy or by visiting www.il-palagio.com



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