Villa Cetinale: Pope Residence Turned Wedding Venue

Once the home of a former Pope in the 17th century, now a wedding venue, Villa Cetinale is a historical villa in Tuscany, Italy. While the villa is famous for its former owner and as a wedding hall nowadays, it dates back to much earlier times.

Villa Cetinale
Peter Lynden

Historical records state that during the times of the Etruscans, some of them settled in today’s Tuscany. In the place of the Villa Cetinale, there was a small farmhouse left by the Etruscans. The villa was built from the foundations of that house, making it a partially ancient residence.

Villa Cetinale entrance

In the early 17th century, the house belonged to Fabio Chigi who hired a local architect to design a big villa. Fabio Chigi came from a wealthy family and he himself was the secretary of the state. The construction began in 1651 and continued until 1655. However, they had to stop because Fabio became Pope Alexander VII.

Villa Cetinale statue

After becoming the Pope, Fabio moved to the Vatican, as all popes had done since the 14th century. As he left his house, his nephew Flavio Chigi inherited his lands and the house. Until the 20th century, the Villa Cetinale stayed under the ownership of the Chigi family but as centuries went by, the state of the villa considerably deteriorated.

Villa Cetinale garden

Today, the Villa Cetinale is one of the most luxurious wedding halls in Europe. The price of a one-week stay in the villa changes between 25,000 to 60,000 euros.

the villa exterior and sculptures

In the 1970s, the Villa Cetinale was practically in ruins. A British aristocrat and former parliament member, Antony Lambton bought the villa and settled there with his wife. They began an extensive renovation effort focusing on the villa itself and its gardens.

the wedding location inside the villa complex

When Lambton died in 2006, the villa was in an impressive condition. The couple’s work was successful and the villa and its gardens looked absolutely lovely. Recently, the villa has seen another set of renovations and it has become a wedding venue. In fact, it has become one of the most luxurious and expensive wedding venues in Europe.

the complex from above

For the first time in its history, the villa is now open to be rented for weddings and other events. As the villa can only support up to 25 people, it has become the perfect place for family or small-scale gatherings.

the garden table in the complex