Wedding & Honeymoon Destination – Belmond Villa, Sanandrea – Italy
The Belmond Hotel group has many amazing hotels, trains and cruises throughout the world. And since they have a a handful of absolutely stunning properties in Italy, we’ve been loving sharing them with you through our fun Belmond Hotel series! We hope this series will help those of you with dreams of marrying or honeymooning in Italy turn your ideas into a reality. Or if you’re already married, consider one of the Belmond properties for an anniversary trip. Today, we thought it would be fun to chat with Marilisa Bagnato (Banqueting Supervisor) and Mario Zerillo (Guest Relations Manager) at The Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea: GWS: Do you have a favorite wedding that was held at your property? If so, what made the wedding so special and memorable? We are lucky to be located in a very special corner of Sicily and we have many creative brides and grooms who want to tie the knot here on the Bay of Mazzarò. The one which particularly sticks out for me is a wedding we held last year in September. The bride and groom were both architects and so were very precise about how they wanted the ceremony so they’re design backgrounds came through on the day. The bride was from Panama and he was from Sicily, so during the ceremony on the beach, we organized a sand ritual: she brought a bottle of sand from Panama and he brought the ashes from Mount Etna and they mixed them during the service in order to represent their union!
GWS: Where is your favorite location on property for a wedding ceremony and why? My favorite location is the beach, because it is very romantic. Depending on the time of day, you can feel as though you’re in two different places. Twilight is incredible because there is a mixture of pink and turquoise colors on the sky and the sea is so bright it seems as though it’s lit up from underneath the waves!
GWS: What is your must have dish at a restaurant on property? As we’re a seaside villa, our seafood and fish dishes made by Chef Salvatore Gambuzza are fresh and make the most of the local ingredients. A must try dish at Oliviero Restaurant is the stewed octopus and cuttlefish with crunchy vegetables and candied cherry tomatoes, it’s so fresh and zesty for a summer night starter. GWS: What is your favorite drink on property and where is your favorite place to enjoy it? One of the most beautiful places to enjoy a cocktail or two is on the terrace as the sunsets over the island. For the gents, we suggest the tangy Belmond 75 cocktail which comprises of gin, lemon juice, sugar and champagne. For the ladies, Passion for Fashion which is made from fresh lime, passion fruit and topped off with white rum.
GWS: What is one local destination, store or restaurant you recommend our readers experience during their stay to give them a true sense of the local culture?
We want honeymooners and all our guests to have authentic experiences during their time in Taormina so we always suggests locally run restaurants owned by local families. One in particular, Malvasia, in Taormina, is a family-run trattoria. Couples can also ask Eleonora, the ‘mamma’, to show them her secrets of making the best maccheroni pasta. For an excursion, we suggest Castiglione di Sicilia and its imposing Castello di Lauria. The Castello di Lauria is off the beaten track and is perched on one of the highest points in the town – with almost an 380 degree view of the area it’s a very special place to see the island and the town of Castiglione below. GWS: What activities offered by your property or locally do you recommend to your guests? For honeymooners looking for adventure, they should join one of our off road 4×4 tours of the notorious north side of Mount Etna. They can even take a freshly-prepared picnic with them with a bottle of local wine. One way to see the coastline is to take part in a morning fishing boat tour with a fisherman, there are some real characters here and it’s a fun way to experience local culture and to see the famous Isola Bella. Honeymooners can also find their dolce vita behind the wheel of a vintage Ape Calessino and visit Taormina and the hilltop town of Castemola.
GWS: What’s something unique to your property that you can offer to couples to make their wedding or honeymoon truly special? No two weddings are the same. We pride ourselves on helping the couple realize their dream and make their personalities shine through on their big day. For honeymooners, we have many fun or romantic activities for them to take part in – or they can simply spend their time lounging on the private beach under the watchful eye of our lifeguards or having a couples’ moonlight massage. We love that The Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea fuses Sicilian tradition with modern luxuries (and delicious cuisine), ensuring your trip or celebration will be truly unforgettable! And the entire property is also for hire, meaning you + your guests can enjoy complete freedom and exclusive service from the hotel’s dedicated staff. So, whether you are planning your dream destination wedding or researching for your honeymoon or an anniversary trip, be sure to consider The Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure!