Villa Palazzola, Rome
Our lovely friends got married at Villa Palazzola just outside Rome a few weeks ago and the boy and I were lucky enough to be invited.
Having spent an amazing day exploring Rome, a friend who was also attending the wedding kindly offered to drive us to the Villa. Driving in Rome is a once in a lifetime experience, partly on the grounds that you may not survive it! Everyone appears to have right of way all at the same time, cars veer into lanes without any indication of their intention to do so, and horns are used loudly and liberally.
Driving from Rome
We managed to escape the city unscathed and made our way down towards Rocca di Papa, which is the closest town to Villa Palazzola. As we started to climb, we were rewarded by the most beautiful views over Lake Albano. Misunderstanding the nice SatNav lady, we made a slight wrong turn, ending up down a maze of tiny, twisty roads. In order to get the little rental car back up to the main road, we had to take a run up at the an extremely steep hill - not realising that flooring it up the hill would shoot us out directly onto the main road. Thankfully no other cars were coming as we emerged! We stopped for a minute to get out and admire the amazing scenery.
Isn’t that just stunning?
Even with our small and slightly alarming detour, it took us just over an hour to drive from Rome to the villa.
I had been so incredibly busy with work, business and house renovation stuff before we came away, I hadn’t even had time to look up any information on where we were going! Villa Palazzola is a 13th century Cistercian monastery, which has been fully modernised and refurbished. There is accommodation in two wings - the old wing has shared bathrooms and the rooms in the new wing are all en-suite. The rooms are clean, comfortable and simple, with no TV or mini bars etc.
Perched atop a hill, the scenery is just spectacular. We definitely needn’t have stopped the car to take in the view over Lake Albano, as you can see it even better from the villa, including the Pope’s summer palace on the other side of the water! The gardens are also beautifully laid out and kept and there is a good sized swimming pool. Through a gate and up some little paths, scattered with gorgeous cyclamen flowers, there are also some tennis courts.
The wedding party took over the entirety of Villa Palazzola, which was brilliant. It felt like one big, but very relaxing, party! The staff were all great - friendly, kind and helpful - and really went out of their way to make our time there special.
Food at Villa Palazzola
The food at Villa Palazzola was lovely, and extremely plentiful. After the pizza and gelato consumed in Rome, and a three course meal for every lunch and dinner at the villa, I have been on a firm diet since we got back!
Breakfast is served inside at long tables with benches in a gorgeous wood panelled room. Felt a bit like I was at a mini Hogwarts! It’s a continental affair, with cereals, pastries, toast and fruit.
The weather was absolutely beautiful whilst we were there, so lunch and dinner were served at long communal tables in the garden. Meals are at set times during the day, and no food is available at other times, which is completely fine given the amount they give you to eat! The cooking is classic, simple Italian, with pasta followed by main course and dessert or fruit. They also catered for all dietary requirements, including vegetarian, vegan and gluten free, perfectly. Wine is served during lunch and dinner and is freely topped up by the staff, which is a bit dangerous! I think they said that we drank the most bottles of wine of any wedding they’d ever had there. Not sure if we should be proud or worried about that!
Weddings at Villa Palazzola
Villa Palazzola has a beautiful little chapel, where our friends were married. We cried a lot - there was so much love in the room and it was such an emotional experience to be a part of. There was then a drinks reception on the terrace followed by a four course wedding banquet of amazing food. The gardens looked stunning and it was just the most amazing day.
After speeches and dinner, there were liqueurs served in the Cloister whilst the staff set up the terrace for drinks and dancing. They let us keep the music going far later than we should have, as we were the only guests at the villa.
This is possibly my favourite ever photograph of me and the boy. We are very drunk but so filled with joy and love after the most perfect day. I am usually the one with the camera (and hate having my picture taken) so there are so few photos of us as a couple, even though we’ve been together since 2007!
After the wedding, we spent a further day and night at Villa Palazzola just chilling out with old friends and new.
I had the most magical time in Rome and at the villa and really didn’t want to go home! It was wonderful to take some time out to relax and hang out with the boy - we have agreed we will definitely return to Villa Palazzola in the future. I think it is genuinely the most beautiful place I have ever been to and I can’t wait to come back.