The Big Event: Where to Celebrate in Style in Italy


Big occasions deserve big celebrations – and nowhere does luxury quite like Italy. Birthdays, anniversaries, honeymoons… whatever the event, here are our suggestions for celebrating in style.

Celebrate a birthday in Venice

venice gritti palace

Big birthday coming up? Venice is the perfect place to spend a celebratory weekend. Spend your days wandering through the narrow lanes, crossing canals on beautiful old bridges, and sipping coffee in sunny piazzas (the cafes on St. Mark’s Square can be pricey, but it’s worth it for the setting).

For a room to remember, go for a canal-view room at the Gritti Palace, where your windows will open out onto the glorious Grand Canal and the historic palazzi that line its edges. If yours is a summer birthday, book a table on the terrace of the hotel’s Club del Doge restaurant for dinner. Its candlelit tables overlook the magnificent Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, one of Venice’s most iconic landmarks, while the menu features Venetian classics like risotto nero and crispy salt cod. Don’t forget to order a bottle of the local bubbly, Prosecco.

Make it extra-special
Skip the plane and arrive in Venice in the most luxurious way possible – on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. Tuxedo-clad waiters, beautiful Art Deco detailing, dressing up for dinner… it may be pricey, but it’s certainly a journey to remember (as one of our Italy Experts recently found out).

Toast your anniversary in Tuscany

relais la suvera 1

Whether it’s your first, 10th or even your Gold wedding anniversary, we’ve got just the place. Hotel Relais La Suvera is set in a restored Renaissance villa (previously a medieval fortress) and has a wonderfully secluded location deep in the Tuscan countryside.

Romance and relaxation come easy here. The gardens, filled with fountains and flowers (the huge tubs of hydrangeas are stunning) are made for leisurely strolls, and scattered around the grounds are benches strategically placed to make the most of the views. There’s even a mini-museum showcasing a private collection of antiques. In the evenings, start off with an aperitif beneath the lemon trees, before heading to Oliviera Restaurant for an al fresco dinner overlooking vineyards and rolling hills.

If you feel like getting out and about, you’ve got plenty to do nearby, from wine tasting in local vineyards to touring the grand cathedral in UNESCO-listed Siena.

Make it extra-special
Top or tail your stay in Tuscany with a couple of nights in beautiful Florence. Opt for a deluxe Duomo-view room at the Hotel Brunelleschi for a fantastic outlook towards the city’s famous cathedral.

Kick off your retirement in Lake Maggiore

grand hotel des iles borromees

You’ve devoted years to the 9-5, so a holiday to celebrate your retirement deserves a hotel that’s suitably grand. Enter, the Grand Hotel des Iles Borromees, the most prestigious property on the shores of Lake Maggiore.

Set in an imposing listed building, the hotel is famous for its gorgeous interiors (you’ll be tucking into breakfast beneath beautiful trompe l’oeil ceilings) and its spectacular gardens, filled with camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons. The lakeside promenade runs right past the hotel and leads right to the centre of Stresa, about 10 minutes’ walk away.

Views stretch across the water to the Borromean Islands, owned by the wealthy Borromeo family. Explore the palace and terraced gardens on Isola Bella, tour the botanical gardens on Isola Madre, and book a table for a delicious seafood dinner on Isola Pescatori, ‘island of the fishermen’.

Make it extra-special
Experience another of Italy’s stunning lakes by adding on a few days in magical Lake Como. Stay in one of Lake Como’s five-star luxury hotels for waterside views and sumptuous surroundings.

Head off on a honeymoon to Sardinia

Capo d'Orso Hotel Sardinia

You’ve said the vows and cut the cake – now it’s time for the honeymoon. If it’s rest and relaxation you’re after, make a beeline for Sardinia’s sandy shores. The Hotel Capo d’Orso ticks all the boxes for a romantic getaway. It’s in a secluded spot, with winding coastal walkways leading down through groves of olive and juniper trees to golden beaches and hidden coves (perfect picnicking territory).

Rooms are suitably stylish – our favourites are the sea-view ones, with private balconies or terraces overlooking the Caribbean-quality turquoise waters – and the restaurant count includes an elegant sea-view venue shaded by centuries-old olive trees and a traditional pizzeria for wood-fired margheritas.

For extra brownie points, surprise your other half with a treatment at the Thalasso spa – our pick of the bunch is the Original Journey ritual, which includes a body mask, honey and almond scrub and muscle-melting massage.

Make it extra-special
Easy flights between Sardinia and Rome make the city an ideal add-on to your beach break. As well as seeing the sights, why not learn a little about Roman cuisine with an exclusive cooking class on Tiberina Island?

For more inspiration, take a look at our collection of luxury holidays in Italy – perfect for that special occasion.