I’ve been in southern Italian, walking mostly, but often putting my head into venues and admiring the style with which the Italians engage in formal entertaining.
In New Zealand casual chic is the norm, even for weddings. We do a good line in rustic charm. Prettily decorated barns are desirable venues. Our Bride and Groom magazine has spreads on forest fairytale, rustic romance, secret garden, boho dream, tropical charm weddings. There’s no mention of Italian extravagance this year.
Yet here, in Italy, weddings and parties are designed to look dazzling. Expensive is not a dirty word. It’s the time to bring out the bling and show what you’ve got.
We saw photoshoots on the steps of grand cathedrals, pavlova brides with rose petals strewn at their feet and dozen of attendants in sweeping designer gowns, their blokes oiled and sleek with matching ties and buttonhole flowers in sharp suits.
We sat in a town in Capri as a bridal party paraded with rock star glam from church to roof top venue (complete with olive trees wrapped in organza and open to the stars), women in ludicrously towering heels on the cobbles wearing long slinky dresses slit to the thigh and plunging through the cleavage and their watchful men, with cigarettes and sharp eyes, groomed and slim.
The venues are decorated to show off these people. I watched them stroll in to a walled garden on the clifftop at Sorrento overlooking the Bay of Naples, white jacketed waiters offering champagne as they passed down a floral bower to the tiled garden, roman pillars reflecting those from the castle behind.
I so wish they had invited me in, but I’d been walking all day and it would be fair to say I looked more at home in a barn.