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Portofino and the Italian Riviera
Glamour and authenticity

In its final section from Genova to la Spezia, the stretch of coast that goes under the name of Italian Riviera boasts a one of a kind selection of stunning locations where the vines, olive groves and terraced hillsides, hugging the contour of the coastline cliffs along the sapphire Ligurian Sea, offer a unique background for diverse, even poles apart events.

On one side there’s the utterly romantic Portofino, a small but perfectly coiffured coastal village that sits on its own peninsula, framed by a lush natural park and embellished by the most exclusive Italian harbor. It is a fabulous location for those couples who aim at combining extreme glamour and seaside charm: high level hotels to welcome and pamper your guests in any possible way and spectacular, jaw dropping panoramic venues for your “I do’s”. And make sure not to miss a sunset cocktail party boat ride to capture the sparkling, posh Portofino essence!

On the other side, the five fishing communities of the Cinque Terre are one of the most iconic highlight of a radically different way to experience this beautiful Riviera; Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso, together with the surroundings hillsides, are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The five villages are no longer the isolated hamlets they once were, but there’s still a feeling of remote authenticity, with few roads, perfectly preserved architecture and a network of stunning coastal and mountain trails. Either you go for a charmingly dilapidated farmhouse hidden in the greenery with a breathtaking view over the sea or you opt for a simple reception in an uber cozy restaurant tucked away in the heart of the village but still enjoying the incredible panorama, those tiny villages truly are the perfect location for an organic wedding that will thoroughly participate in the raw, though gentle and timeless beauty of this rugged coastline.

If Cinque Terre were ever to pick up an honorary sixth member, Porto Venere would surely be it. Perched on the dreamy Gulf of Poets’ western promontory, the village’s sinuous seven- and eight-storey harbor front houses form an almost impregnable citadel around the muscular Castello Doria, which makes a one of a kind venue for a stunning event. Finally, the last stretch of coast before the border with Tuscany hosts the amazing village of Lerici, an exclusive retreat of terraced villas clinging to the cliffs along its beach. The seafront is lined with places to eat and drink and is a favoured passeggiata spot; in another age Byron and Shelley sought inspiration here and you’ll easily understand why. It may be less mesmerizingly beautiful when compared with Cinque Terre, yet Lerici is so laid back, elegant and enjoyable that it’s hard to imagine a more no brainer Italian seaside destination wedding location.

Irene, the wedding maniac, says that: dramatic sceneries, incredible nature, authentic fishermen villages, elegant holiday resorts and quintessential jet set fiefs: what’s not to like? You might wonder what is the difference between this area and the Amalfi coast; mainly the climate (Liguria is always mild, never too cold or too hot, while in the Amalfi coast during Summer the heat can be fierce) and the people (southern Italians are incredibly welcoming, a bit loud, at times a bit too much to handle, Ligurians are discreet, rather quiet and reliable).

Let’s talk money and keep it real: due to the physical conformation, this area is naturally challenging, and therefore exclusive. Here there’s no compromise to go for, you have to consider either a super simple, minimalistic yet delicious restaurant reception or a grand villa event, complete with the most fantastic gardens and frescoed halls, and last but not least, the focal point of the day, together with the bride and groom, that is the view. In terms of prices, consider spending around 20 K euro for a wedding including a restaurant reception and 10 grand more for a villa wedding.  


Cover photo: Anna Michal, Photo 1: Luisa Veronese Photo 2: Lorena Torres Angelini