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Wednesday 10 September 2014

A Wedding Under the Tuscan Sun

After the London Mice filled you in on their French adventures last week, I thought it was probably about time that I got myself into gear and reported back on my European summer hols - ten days eating my way around Tuscany and the Cinque Terre in Italy. AKA heaven!

First up, part I - a long weekend in Radda in Chianti, Tuscany for mountains of pasta, lots of swooning over rolling vine-studded hills and the wedding of two of our very favourite people in Hong Kong - Miles & Emma.  

On the last Friday in June, we hopped aboard an orange-tailed easyJet in London, and a couple of hours later found ourselves staring up at this wonky wonder of the world...

After watching a never ending stream of tourists staging comedy holding up the leaning tower photos, we hopped in our hire car and headed off towards the Tuscan hills and our home for the next couple of nights - Villa Vistarenni.

The 17th Century Villa Vistarenni nestles on the hillside above the village of Radda in Chianti about 40 km South of Florence. From Pisa, we zoomed down the Autostrade refuelling at the side of the road with the chicest and most delicious service station snacks we've ever had - San Pellegrino and a mozzarella and Parma ham stuffed ciabatta - Little Chef eat your heart out. 

When we rounded a windy country lane bend and spied Villa Vistarenni, its dazzling white facade sitting in stark contrast to the emerald fields bordering it, at last we felt like our holiday had started. We pulled up in front of the Villa in a squeal of hire car tyres and an arc of gravel before hauling our cases out of the boot and demanding a couple of travel-exhaustion erasing shots of Limoncello.  We had a sun-dappled room in Chiara, the 16th Century farmhouse set just next to the villa a stone's throw from the swimming pool and a hop skip and a tumble from the centre of all the wedding action.

By the time we arrived, we had just enough time for a flurry of hellos, a quick dip in the pool and a very speedy outfit change before heading up to the village to join the bride and groom for pizza and Prosecco at Ristorante La Loggia.

Although we did try to be on our very best behaviour and save ourselves for the big day on Saturday, that deadly combo of all your favourite people in one room and a river of Prosecco meant that it was midnight far too quickly and we'd all done a gun punch or two too many...

Luckily, as Saturday dawned bight and clear with cornflower blue skies and not a cloud in sight, the boys had a carb-heavy lunch to cure their hangovers while us girls zipped down to Emma's family home for Mimosas and a bounteous spread guaranteed to have even the most jaded of party girls back on their feet quicker than you can say brunch bunch.

Pastries inhaled and fuzzy head busting cocktails downed, it was time to shimmy into our wedding outfits and get ready for the main event. 

We then stumbled arm in arm along the gravel driveway, trying to stay upright on our spindly stilettos while dodging from patch of shade to patch of shade on our way back down to Emma's family house for the ceremony.

After the ceremony, we rehydrated with miniature bottle of Prosecco before heading back up the hill to Villa Vistarenni for canapés and Aperol spritzes. 

But not before stealing a few snaps of the brand new Mr & Mrs Dickinson. 

Emma looked jaw-droppingly beautiful in her Monique L'Hullier dress with vintage diamond necklace and a bouquet of peonies.

Back up at the Villa, the party was in full swing and as if by magic, two trestle tables overlooking the vineyards had appeared decorated with ropes of of olive leaves and roses.

The newlyweds arrived and there was just time for a couple more pre-dinner drinks before it was time to seek out our seats at the dinner table.

As the sun slunk below the horizon we tucked into pea and prawn risotto, heart-shaped ravioli (quite possibly the most delicious things I've ever eaten), melt in your mouth beef and little pots of tiramisu all washed down with copious amounts of Italian wine.

Each course was interspersed with speeches and toasts and everyone agreed it was one of the loveliest weddings they'd ever been to.

Just as we thought the evening couldn't get any better, a burst of silver illuminated the velvety calm of the inky black night and we all gazed up open-mouthed as a stunning firework display lit up the sky.

Dancing, a barrage of shots and a dessert buffet followed but as that's all still a little on the hazy side, we'll cut to the next day as I prised open my eyes to spy Emma's bouquet in the corner of the room sat atop a tangle of discarded Issa. As vague memories drifted back to me of elbowing every other girl on the dance floor out of the way to snatch the bouquet for myself, I decided it was time to drag my Limoncello-soaked self out of bed and go in search of strong coffee. 

We spent the day lazing by the pool, keeping hydrated with bottle after bottle of icy rosé and keeping entertained by retelling stories of high jinx from the night before.

Sun-baked and tipping over into tipsy, we retired to our rooms for afternoon naps before heading out for a final feast together in Radda at the beyond awesome Le Forchette del Chianti where we inhaled bowls of fresh black truffle tagliatelle and pappardelle with wild boar ragu. 

Waistband-bustingly full and incredibly happy after a beyond wonderful weekend, it was time to head off on the second part of our Italian adventure, which is another story, for another day...

1 comment

  1. I had my wedding at this place in October and where do I start? From the moment we met the manager of Wedding location in Chicago last year we were put at ease and given the best service possible. I and my husband had the best day of our lives.