Let’s face it, when it comes to planning a dream wedding in Italy, Tuscany is the destination at the top of almost every list
11 Best City Halls to get wed in Tuscany
One of the reasons why I love my job as an Italian wedding planner is that I get to help couples realize their dream. But most couples with Tuscany on their list often have no idea of the amazing variety of possible locations this diverse region has to offer.
In Italy, civil wedding ceremonies are typically hosted in the “Palazzo Comunale,” or city hall. And that’s a good thing because a typical city hall in Tuscany is not found in a dull municipal building but is instead usually situated in an historic palace and is often a great example of Italian Medieval architecture from the 12th or 13th century. Nearly every major room inside a “Palazzo Comunale” is adorned with beautiful frescoes, executed by most important Italian Renaissance artists. A ceremony held either indoors or outdoors in a site where every stone has remained unchanged for centuries and the magical historical atmosphere has been preserved is truly a gift from Tuscany to the bride and groom.
I field many questions about wedding sites from couples around the globe that range from thoughts on setting and ambiance to the specific details like scheduling availability, fees, and number of guests accommodated. Of course the answers all vary from one location to another and this was the inspiration for my “Insider’s guide to Top City halls in Tuscany.” If you’re looking for a memorable destination for your wedding in Tuscany you can find your answers by downloading my free guide here, but in the meantime, here’s a sneak peek at a few sites worthy of your consideration:
The Abbey of San Galgano
the most beautiful and mesmerizing roofless Abbey in Tuscany. Built in the 1200’s by a community of Cistercian monks at a time when the Romanesque style was merging with the newborn Gothic style, it demonstrates the unique Cistercian style of a flat façade instead of the typical rounded apse. Its unusual walls of Tuscan travertine stone and Sienese bricks rise majestically from a remote valley.
Location: Province of Siena, 33km southwest of the city of Siena.
Scheduling Restrictions: Not available during the month of July as the site is dedicated to an annual music festival.
the picturesque Cortona has become well-known thanks to the movie and best-selling book by Frances Mayes, Under the Tuscan Sun. The 12th century city hall is situated on one of the main squares of the city, the Piazza della Repubblica and offers a sweeping staircase for the perfect wedding photos. The town itself, enclosed by stone walls dating back to Etruscan and Roman times, sits on the top of a hill about 600 meters above sea level. This prominent position over the valley offers a spectacular view of the surrounding valley and even Lake Trasimeno.
Location: Province of Arezzo, 30km southeast of the city of Arezzo
the Palazzo Vecchio is one of the most well-known buildings in all of Italy, and is now the city hall of Florence. Dating back to 1300’s it overlooks the famous Piazza della Signoria with its copy of Michelangelo’s David as well as the gallery of statues in the adjacent Loggia dei Lanzi. The Palazzo Vecchio alone offers several locations to host a civil wedding including: Sala Rossa, Sala di Lorenzo, and Salone dei Cinquecento. But when considering Florence as a destination there are other sites to consider as well, such as Villa Vogel’s Sala del Consiglio, Museo Bardini’s Sala della Carità and the Florence Rose Garden…
Location: Province of Firenze (Florence)
The Palazzo Pubblico is situated on the spectacular Piazza del Campo. Construction of this edifice to house the government of the city began in 1297, and it has kept its original function to this day. Civil weddings are held in Sala di Concistoro which you enter through a beautiful fifteenth-century marble portal, attributed to Rossellino. The Sala del Concistoro is actually part of the civic museum so you can immediately enjoy a view of one of the masterpieces of Italian Mannerism, the cycle of public virtue and related examples taken from the Greek and Roman history.
Location: Province of Siena
Scheduling Restrictions: Not available during the week of the Palio, June 29 – July 5
photography: Damiano Salvadori
the 13th century Palazzo Comunale provides two great options for hosting a civil wedding ceremony in San Gimignano. The Medieval Courtyard – a perfect location for an intimate, outdoor wedding with family and friends, or Dante’s Hall – Sala di Dante – a large hall adorned with 14th century frescoes, including Lippo Memmi’s spectacular Maestà. The town with its almost intact urban structure is one of the best examples of European medieval architecture has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is definitely worth a visit!
Location: Province of Siena, 45km northeast of Siena, 55km southeast of Florence
photography: Riccardo Pieri
this quaint locale is the home town of Giovanni Boccaccio, best known for his earthy masterpiece the “Decameron.” The Certaldo town hall is located in the famous Pretorian Palace or Vicar’s quarters in the old part of town – Certaldo Alto. It offers two options for a wedding ceremony: a hidden indoor courtyard with an open roof and the former church of San Tommaso adjacent to the Palazzo Pretorio.
Location: Province of Firenze, 50km southwest of Florence, 50km northwest of Siena
this city famous for its alabaster and its mesmerizing landscapes guards the oldest town hall in Italy. Civil weddings are held in the Palazzo dei Priori, a medieval masterpiece, designed by Maestro Riccardo in 1239. Undoubtedly, Stephenie Meyer’s vampire novels have put Volterra on the map and made this Etruscan City a more intriguing destination!
Location: Province of Pisa, 55km west and slightly north of Siena, 65km southeast of Pisa
Radda in Chianti
situated in the heart of Chianti Classico, the most famous wine producing area in the world, this town is surrounded by lush vineyards and mesmerizing forests. In Radda, civil wedding ceremonies are held in the recently restored Palazzo della Podesta’ built in the early 1400’s. The wedding ceremony is performed outside in the loggia overlooking a charming plaza with a fountain, or indoors in the Sala della Podesta’. Either is a perfect location for an intimate wedding or an elopement to Tuscany.
Location: Province of Siena, 30km northeast of the city of Siena, 50km southeast of Florence
photo credits Neverending Magic
for the couple dreaming of a wedding in a castle, the Poppi town hall is the perfect wedding venue! The Castle of the Counts of the Guidi family was built between the ninth and tenth centuries and is one of most significant works of medieval architecture and an amazingly well preserved tourist attraction. A castle wedding can be held in the main hall, courtyard or the library.
Location: Province of Arezzo, 35km north of the city of Arezzo, 60km east of Florence
The 14th century Palazzo dei Priori, the city hall of Arezzo with a beautiful loggia is situated in the main square Piazza della Libertà. Civil ceremonies are celebrated in one of the Medieval halls or in the Council Room adorned with frescoes and paintings by Giorgio Vasari. The splendor of the Middle Ages and Renaissance can be found everywhere, in the Gothic Cathedral the Duomo di Arezzo, the wooden Crucifix by Cimabue in the Church of San Domenico or world famous frescoes by Piero della Francesca inside the Basilica di San Francesco.
Location: Province of Arezzo
this characteristic village located on the border between Tuscany and Umbria will take you back in time. This small town with its narrow streets and stone houses with small windows and wooden doors still preserves the ancient atmosphere of medieval times. Civil ceremonies are held inside the Palazzo Pretorio or outside on the adjoining terrace. Choose Anghiari for your wedding if you want to feel like you’re on a film set surrounded by untouched ancient monasteries and archaeological sites, and have one of the most original villages in Tuscany as the backdrop for your wedding.
Location: Province of Arezzo, 30km northeast of Arezzo
For any inquiries please, get in touch with me, grazie mille! Natalia xx