A little bit about the city of Nardò, Puglia.
Everyone knows the Tuscan sun shines all year, but many brides have been asking us about more off the beaten path locations. Fashion editors and jet setters know about Nardò. Do you? Nardò is a historic city, nestled in the Southern province of Salento, in the region of Puglia. Puglia is not unknown, but it’s not what many consider beginner’s Italy. There’s a lot of territory to cover in this region, but rest assured that you’ll find everything your heart desires in the Salento.
First up in our Puglia series, we’re talking about Nardò. Why? That’s simple. It’s exactly the kind of chill place we’re all looking for during these challenging times. Maintaining our intimate bubbles, relaxing, and having some exclusivity is key. Or is that what we’ve always wanted? Nardò has that vibe.
It’s enriched with a multi-cultural past, having been occupied by Romans, Greeks, Spaniards, Byzantines, and Normans. These influences are evident throughout the city’s architecture, where you’ll find a mix of Baroque, Neo-Classic, Gothic, and Romanesque. It’s the wealthiest city in the Salento and attracts a discerning international crowd. It’s an LBGTQ friendly town, along with the neighboring cities of Gallipoli and Lecce. It has always been, and likely will always be, a melting pot for those in-the-know.
Albergo Diffuso – Scattered Hospitality
So what about wedding venues? Nardò is full of villas, palaces, gardens, ancient churches, town squares, and a labyrinth of lovely roads that all connect within a short walking distance. The possibilities are endless. But what if we told you that a new concept of hospitality is already in place? An experience comprised of many properties, each with peculiar characteristics that together fulfill, with elegance and uncompromised quality, every aspect of a destination wedding, elopement, or exclusive getaway. Let us introduce you to the “albergo diffuso” or scattered hospitality. To better understand this concept, we spoke with Antonello Rizzello, a hotelier with a vision and passion for sharing the beauty of his hometown Nardò. He is the owner of Relais Monastero Santa Teresa, amongst other properties in town, and has worked relentlessly to restore them to their original beauty while incorporating contemporary elements.
A wedding across town
Now imagine your event spread across the town. The Relais Monastero Santa Teresa can host your main guests as well as the reception. It is meticulously and beautifully designed. Historical details blend seamlessly into thoughtful additions and modern luxuries. It’s chic, airy, elegant, and truly feels like a world apart from reality. We think it’s ideal for smaller groups. However, the event space itself can accommodate up to 160 people.
Nearby, a baroque palace with a Portuguese castle style entrance offers more room for families with larger suites and apartment accommodations. It also hosts a Chateaux Hotel Collection restaurant, Il Mignano, with spectacular terraces at your disposal for a rooftop aperitivo. A romantic church is around the corner for the ceremony.
The bride and groom, and perhaps the wedding party, can reserve the most exclusive of suites in the city at Palazzo Manieri-Zuccaro. This secluded oasis in the historical center comes complete with a private garden, pool, and killer view. It’s also worth mentioning that Suite Castello Normanno has the most glamorous, spa-like bathroom we’ve ever seen.
Think about it. Your guests spread throughout the city, eye candy everywhere, and great dining options, all within walking distance. The albergo diffuso concept will guarantee your guests have an unforgettable, unparalleled experience.
Essentially, the real wedding venue IS the city and its surroundings, which feel like a resort. We’re talking about history, luxurious accommodations (across multiple price points), dining well, and having some of Italy’s most beautiful beaches within 10-15 minutes.
Beaches around Nardò.
Those beaches cover the gamut. Amanda’s favorite is Santa Maria al Bagno, near Santa Caterina (a posh seaside town). There you can chill at Salsedine Beach Bar. Built on a freshwater spring that makes its way through the rocky shores, it creates a crystal clear natural pool that melds into the ocean. Sip bubbles, effortlessly dive (no rock shoes required) into the blue water, and watch the Ionian Sea’s sunset. Or are you more of a white sand kinda person? Venture a little further out and visit Punta Prosciutto or Marina di Pescoluse, the Maldives of Salento. Sounds ideal, right? It is. Nardò has it all.
For information on additional places for your destination wedding in Southern Italy, check out our Italian Wedding Venues section.