The whole reason for this trip to Italy was to see my good friends Jen and George get married. They chose this fantastic villa in a town called Greve in Chianti. I saw the pictures of the villa and I knew it was going to be beautiful but it was beyond what I could have imagined. The villa Vignamaggio dates back to the 14th century. Mona Lisa, yes that Mona Lisa, was born there in 1479. It is also a vineyard and has been waking wine for 600 years. To say there is a rich history on this property is an understatement.
The grounds are stunning. The villa gorgeous. You couldn’t ask for a better surrounding to get married in.
When we arrived our room wasn’t ready so Sue and I grabbed our suits and went for a swim. I have been to some nice pools in my day but this had the best view. I mean seriously. It didn’t seem real.
We then had a lovely lunch at the wine bar before there was more pool time. Literally just hanging out on the noodles for hours just chatting with everyone. And this is where we met Rick.
Blog friends, meet Rick.The Crouching Tiger. Hidden Dragon! He is really quite special!
The plan for dinner this night which is now July 16th was to head up the hill to a restaurant with all the wedding guests. But first, Jane and I attended the wedding rehearsal to make sure everything was ready for the next day. With that done, Jane, Sue and I thought we would have a pre-cocktail party, pre-dinner bottle of wine, so we sat outside in front of our hotel room. Couldn’t have asked for a better setting.
The busses came and we made our way up the hill and settled in for a 4 course meal. Behold the yummy…
The one thing about the Italians is they do not rush a meal. We got to savour the courses, drink the wine and chat with old and new friends.
We didn’t leave the restaurant till midnight. And what better way to end the night than go for a late night (early morning) swim. What an amazing experience. That stars out were ridiculous. We just floated about laughing and enjoying the Tuscan night. And of course hang out with Rick. With the wedding the next day I needed to make sure I got my beauty sleep so we turned in.
I didn’t have a great sleep but woke up early as usual and went outside to write in my journal and read my book. I really enjoyed my mornings in Greve because it was my “me” time. My time to soak up the surroundings and think about the trip.
I was excited because it was the day of the wedding! I have never been a bridesmaid at a wedding but was really looking forward to it although I was a bit nervous. Nervous about the speech we had to make too. Buth the morning was a great one. Hanging by the pool with all the guests. Before I knew it, it was time to get ready. We hung out with Jen while she got her hair and makeup done, sipping champagne. The photographer was there taking lots of pictures. The candid ones I am sure are going to look horrible of me. I don’t do candid well!
Getting Jen in her dress was a bit of a tricky thing but it was worth it all! Jen was stunning! And then it was time for Jen to walk down the aisle!
The wedding was held in the main garden. Seriously, could you think of a prettier place to get married?
The cocktails after the wedding were held right next to the main garden. People mingled, drank champagne and nibbled on appies. Lots of pictures were taken with this amazing view in the background.
Instead of the guest book, Jen and George had everyone sign champagne bottles with messages of congratulations etc. They will open a bottle over the next 5 wedding anniversaries.
We moved into the lower garden for dinner where again we feasted on another 4 course meal. Between each course, we had some speeches. Jane and I were doing our speech to Jen and George together. As I said before, I was really nervous and began fine but as I started to talk about the type of person Jen is I got choked up. The emotion just took over. I managed to get through and Jane started her part but because I got emotional so did she. I guess there were a few tears in the audience too. Jane and I have known Jen for over 20 years so we were just so happy to be a part of her special day.
Now that dinner was done it was time to party! There was a band to start and then we all moved inside where a DJ played. The booze was a flowing and everyone had a great time. I stayed out until 2am but there were people finally making their way to their rooms at 5:00am. The sign of a good night!
The best part of going to bed early is waking up early and well having the pool to myself. I literally didn’t see a soul the morning after the wedding until around 11am. Until then I swam and read and just chilled out. Perfection! At 1pm it was time for the wine tour which I am so glad I attended. Hearing about the history of Vignamaggio was so interesting. We were told how they keep discovering written documents that confirms all the stories about Vignamaggio. Like the one found that was written by Leonardo Da Vinci saying he was coming to Vignamaggio to paint Mona Lisa. So crazy!
We then tasted the wines. The chianti classico, the reserve and then the grappa. Each paired with the food. The classico and reserve with cheese and meats. The grappa with a dessert. Divine.
The Sunday afternoon plan was a poolside BBQ that turned into a garden BBQ as it was way too hot by the pool. The garden provided the much needed shade. We drank Prosecco and there was a small barrel of the Chianti classico. It was a great opportunity for catching up on the events of the wedding night and maybe a little hair of the dog!
At this point, I hadn’t really done much exploring of the grounds so a bunch of us decided to go on a little walk about. Now muct of us are not dressed appropriately for this little adventure. Some wore flip flops (me), wedges, dresses etc. Drink in hand, off we went. It was 2 miles that would take us around part of the grounds and back again. There was some concern at some point that we were not going the right way. The sun was setting so I guess I understood the concern that we might not get back before it got dark. I had so much fun!
The rest of the night was all about pool time fun. In and out of the pool. Making drinks for people. Pool games. Chatting with people. Kickboxing demos. Lots of Prosecco. Good times. No idea what time I went to bed.
The next morning we got up early to go horse back riding. I was in a bit of a Prosecco fog but was excited to be on a horse again! I used to ride horses essentially for a living but hadn’t been on a horse since ’98. Even though this was western it was still a trip!! Pedro was my horse and he was only 4 but knew the route we took. I was told he didn’t like mouth contact so I pretty much let him do his thing except for when we went for our gallops. I just kept a light feel then.
We basically rode through the vineyards that were all a part of the Vignamaggio property. Simply stunning.
The highlight was going across this little bridge and by this centuries old residence. Unbelievable.
And that was our trip to Greve and Vignamaggio. I hated saying goodbye to Jen and George. And all my new friends. But what an amazing couple of days. The scenery. The history. The emotions. The laughter. The friendship. The memories.