• Photography By:

    Jody Riva


    March, 9, 2016 in Siena, Italy

    Fiammetta Varoli and Joseph Stein met early in the morning at a small café in Chappaqua, New York – Joe, on his way to work, and Fiammetta, an equestrian, on her way to ride. Joe couldn’t resist approaching her, and the two soon discovered they lived only a few minutes from each other. They also shared a love of horses. Despite the apparent “love at first sight,” neither imagined what their future together would hold.

    The thought of proposing had been on Joe’s mind for a while, and he knew spontaneity would suit Fiammetta’s personality the most. On July 24, 2015, he woke up and decided the time was right; it was early in the morning, just like the day they met. While Fiammetta was cooking breakfast, Joe was still wearing a towel from his shower when he unearthed his grandmother’s vintage diamond ring, gathered all four of their dogs into the bathroom, and called for his girlfriend. Her annoyance of being called away from the kitchen turned to instant joy, and the eggs burned as she said, “Yes.” 


    With the help of Cecilia Muratti, Fiammetta and her mother Bettina found the perfect location for a destination wedding in Italy – a romantic 18th century castle in the hills overlooking Siena. Once their vision for the wedding was conceptualized, Bettina found wedding designer Simona Giordano, the ultimate partner for bringing that vision to life. Together, they recreated the elegant simplicity of a chic Italian home wedding.

    The interfaith wedding ceremony took place at dusk in an historic Italian garden, bathed in the magical Tuscan sun. As Saint Saen’s “Swan” played, the bride walked down the aisle carpeted with Persian rugs, and garlands of roses in her favorite colors reflected the sunset. Joe’s mother, a Rabbi, officiated the ceremony, Fiammetta’s grandmother and siblings wrote prayers, and the bride and groom shared vows they had written for each other.

    For the cocktail reception, antique sofas were set up for those who wanted to relax or listen to the live jazz quartet. Dinner was set on a sprawling lawn, with the illuminated castle walls as the backdrop. Antique tables, covered in the family’s vintage linens, were tastefully mixed, and dahlias and roses were placed loosely in mismatched vases of colored opaline, crystal and glass. Eclectic candlesticks and candelabras completed the effortless charm of a homemade wedding.

    Rather than the formality of assigned seating and plated food, an array of covered market stands showcased regional and Italian delicacies prepared by Daturi e Motta, one of Italy’s oldest caterers. The wedding cake was a baroque confection of seasonal berries and custard – the bride’s favorite dessert.

    After the cake was cut, lit balloons were released into the starry sky by joyous guests, and the party began. Everyone danced until 4am to the music of a nine-piece band, with a quick break for gelato and pizza at midnight.


    Location: Castello di Celsa Siena, Italy

    Planner: Bettina Varol New York, NY

    Floral and Event Design, Linen and Rentals: Floralia Event Design Florence, Italy

    Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier

    Cake: Daturi e Motta Torino, Italy

    Lighting: JD Events Florence, Italy

    Hair and Makeup: Protagonista Florence, Italy


    Location: Castello di Celsa, Siena, Italy; Planner: Bettina Varol, New York, NY; Floral and Event Design, Linen and Rentals: Floralia Event Design, Florence, Ital; Wedding Dress: Monique LhuillierCake: Daturi e Motta, Torino, Italy; Lighting: JD Events Florence, Italy; Hair and Makeup: Protagonista, Florence, Italy

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