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Italian Romance at CastelBrando

Its beauty unbowed by the passage of time, CastelBrando offers a harmonious marriage between medieval mystique and contemporary chic as it reigns over a 120-acre expanse of verdant parkland in Cison di Valmarino, which lies less than one hour away from Venice.

In the following interview, CastelBrando's Executive Director Enrico Mazzocco offers insight into the castle's wedding packages and romantic activities for those eager to exchange vows in this portal to the past.

Could you tell our readers about any wedding packages offered by Castelbrando?

Castelbrando offers a variety of services and packages for weddings, but the emphasis is on individuality: every wedding is different and we work closely with the couples to make their wedding truly original. Some suggestions: A horse and buggy ride up to the castle, or a vintage sports car for the newlyweds. Or what about dressing for the wedding in medieval costumes?

One way for the bridal party to relax before the wedding day is with a trip to the castle's beauty center and spa. What can guests expect from a day of pampering at Castelbrando's spa facilities?

Photos courtesy CastelBrando

From manicure and pedicure, to a relaxing massage, special treatments using honey or Shirodhara, an Ayurvedic treatment 2000 years old. The guest lies down on their back and warm oil is slowly poured on the center of the forehead- the benefits are stress relief headache, insomnia ( great just before a wedding!) and wonderful for the skin and scalp. We can also provide makeup and a hairdresser for the big day.

What sites within the castle or on the grounds of the estate are available for wedding ceremonies?

A wedding can take place on the grounds, in the chapel of San Martino onsite or in one of our reception areas such as the Teatro Magno dating from 1500 with scores of historical wedding coats of arms on the walls, seating 180 guests. For a smaller function the 18th century rooms are ideal. Other venues have a stage and dance floor for up to 1000 guests for those wanting to really go over the top.

Which sites on the property would you recommend for wedding photos?

The small piazza in front of the chapel of San Martino, the gardens, the entrance to the woods, the majestic staircase... there are so many!

What romantic activities are available for couples at the castle?

A massage for couples in our spa, followed by a swim in our spa pool, a romantic dinner in one of our suites, a candlelight dinner in the Sansovino restaurant, castle, a nighttime cablecar ride down to the town below, a romantic nature walk in the woods surrounding the castle, a winetasting in a local producer's cellar..or a simple kiss in one of the hidden corners of our castle.

While Castelbrando is a world unto itself, complete with shopping areas, restaurants, and museums, what attractions and activities can you suggest for couples who wish to explore the surrounding area?

Winetasting tops the list, this area is famous for its Prosecco- a sparkling white wine that’s usually drunk before dinner but really good any time. Vineyards in the area are happy to offer private tours and tastings for guests, accompanied by local salami and prosciutto. For sports enthusiasts there's canoeing, hiking and bicycling, you can have your bikes and even a private guide delivered to the castle.

Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers about Castelbrando?

The castle is 2000 years old, and there is so much discover in its walls. We've just opened the Cantina di Ottone, a truly authentic medieval locale, in one of the oldest parts of the castle. When you walk in you hear medieval music, and they serve beer, wines and food that you could have tasted back in the medieval times. Your host is Alessio, an expert on the period, and his bar has weapons made by hand that you can touch- did you know that most swords were not made for slashing, but for bashing-- as in over the head? -- he'll even let you try on an armoured glove!

There's a beer made from licorice that came from an ancient recipe that Alessio had produced just for this tavern! Once a month they host a dinner with recipes that I guarantee you have never tasted, unless you're over 600 years old that is ...

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Special thanks to Sharla Ault for her assistance with this interview.