Tuscan Treats with Lots of Peeps – Our Italian Adventure

Recently CineMate got the chance to shoot it’s first destination wedding and what a wedding it was! Here is what happened on our working trip.

With our bags packed and gear checked, double checked and triple checked our journey to Italy began with a 10.45am flight from Glasgow’s Airport. Making things slightly more difficult on our selves we had booked a two flight trip with a seven hour change over in Schiphol. This may have been an inconvenience for some however we were both happy draining the Macbook batteries watching episodes of Breaking Bad for a good few hours.

On arriving in florence we had almost walked all the way round the airport looking for the car rental place before realising there was a shuttle bus right out side the exit oops LOL. We picked up our snazzy little Fiesta and set off for the fun drive down the A1. But who would drive we asked our selves. “Ow look! Gregg’s names on the insurance…. Ow Well!” Simon sing with a smile as he hopped into the passenger side. This was not a democracy! Of course with this being Gregg’s first time behind the wheel driving on the opposite side of the road we’re sure it wasn’t long before Simon wished he had changed his mind 😮

The Sat Nav was a god send but it would have certainly helped if the Italians had shortened their street names, ‘take the next right onto Strada Provinciale 85 Setteponti’ the lady would keep repeating in her attempted Italian accented robot voice. We arrived and check into the Foxes Inn, in San Giustino Valdarno in the small hours to discover we had been provide with one room with a double bed. We’re close… but we’re not that close… I mean we’ve stayed in similar accommodation before for other filming projects but for a week!!! No Sir! Simon Snores and sleep talks and Gregg’s a spooner! Anyway we went searching for some help which didn’t take long however it did take a good game of charades to explain the situation however once the living arrangement were sorted we welcomed a good night’s sleep.

Wednesday gave us the perfect opportunity to familiarise ourselves with the local area and the venue though we may have seen more of the local area than first thought by following the sat nav miles in the wrong direction whilst trying to locate Il Borro which was subsequently only two minutes round the corner, literally. At least it gave us a chance to see some of the countryside in the daylight which was absolutely stunningly beautiful!

After our detour around the Italian hills we visited Il Borro to discover all it had to offer and to film some shots of the scenery. If we remember rightly this is when Gregg made a fool of himself with a ‘tourist moment’ He’s embarrassed to admit this… We wanted to go into the Villa to shoot from one of the windows on the top floor, so we chapped the door and eventually a member of the staff arrived. In Gregg’s best Italian asked if he spoke English. A good start! The gentleman replies “no” ah :/ so after hesitating Gregg continues to speak but now in English “Can we go upstairs and film out of a window please?” With out a pause the gentleman looks at him and says “That was English” LOL (It seemed he could clearly speak better English than Gregg’s Italian anyway!) We got the shot two minutes later so we’re glad.

That night the two of us enjoyed a lovely dinner for two in the Osteria and we were of course the only two there, it was super romantic LOL. Having dinner together allowed us to discuss a problem we had discovered which were the plug sockets, they didn’t fit our adapters. Argh! This was definitely our biggest worry with all the shooting still left to do! Rushing back to our Inn and after another game of charades between us and practically all the staff we got it worked out. It seemed the local supermarket was our savour though only a few could be purchased Sadly this meant long nights getting up every hour to change batteries over and keep us fully charged!

On Thursday morning we ventured out to the deli just up the road for some breakfast, salami and fresh bread were on the menu yum yum. This became routine from then on, the lady working there probably misses us now. Guests started to arrive at Il Borro throughout the afternoon, welcomed by Laura and Erik and refreshed by freshly made lemonade and treated with welcome goody bags.

As the light slow vanquished over the hills, the guest prepared themselves for the first celebratory event of the week, the evening pizza party held in the square of the Borgo. Accompanying traditional Italian folk trio entertained and serenaded those enjoying fresh delicious pizza and ice cream from the gelato cart! If you were in the party mood the night continued into the early hours at the outdoor lounge area created for the younger individuals to party into the night, complete with beer pong, flip cup and hookahs we captured a little of this on film then called it a night and left them to party with out the cameras rolling LOL.

Safe to say there were some tired looking faces at breakfast the next morning but no one was discouraged from Laura’s planned excursions which included trips to the city and a Vespa tour. Due to the weather the tour company deemed it unsafe for the Vespa tour so plan ‘B’ Vine yard tour 🙂 Unfortunately the bus journey wasn’t quite so easy for everyone on the windy Italian roads so there were a few people re-leaved to get off the bus… and not just for the wine.

The tour was taken, everyone drank and ate and were merry however Laura and Erik had to leave the group slightly earlier than the rest who continued on. We gave Laura and Erik a lift back to the Villa in our car which was nice as it gave us some time to get to know them more and chat on their own although Simon did nearly kill them when he never noticed a roundabout aaaarrrrgghh! It wasn’t actually that bad, we don’t think. It wasn’t that bad at all! The heavy rain and fog made it hard to see the road markings plus the roundabout wasn’t busy…much!

Once all family and friends had arrived back everyone prepared for the evenings rehearsal dinner. This was actually really interesting for us to experience as it’s something we don’t really have in the UK so it was pretty cool. The main aspect of the dinner we liked was the open mic for speeches which gave everyone a chance to say something about the couple whether that be an anecdotal tail, heart felt wishes or just to toast the couple It was something really nice to experience. We lost count of how many people got up but one tail we did like featured working out of a hot tub on the roof of a Madrid office. It got us thinking about our roof hmm haha.

WEDDING DAY!!! With things getting underway at 5.30pm we had plenty of time to get ready although there wasn’t a final decision on the location for the ceremony until close to the time as it depended on what the weather decided to do. Luckily the weather held and vine yard was able to be used for the ceremony which was the location of choice for the couple so it all went well! This day was obviously the most busy for the both of us as we were running rounded setting tech up and filming a three person shoot with two people which was a little extra pressure but nothing we can’t handle. Drinks where served pre-ceremony by the pool while guests enjoyed contemporary string music and awaited the bridal party along with Erik the groom. The ceremony was held by Lino, Laura and Erik’s house master at Harvard, a charismatic character who performed a wonderful ceremony filled with personal stories and Tuscany poetry.
After the wedding ceremony we followed Joanne Dunn along with her photography team and Laura and Erik back to Il Borro’s Borgo for the photography and film shoot section of the day. This didn’t take too long for either group as we had a beautiful backdrop with the perfect couple to work with. This is good for the couple too as every couple just want to get back to the party! Of course we wouldn’t expect anything less 🙂
Brenda, the wedding planner and her team did an amazing job of styling the ceremony as well as the villa for the dinner and party, from the food, drink, music and general atmosphere the whole night. Laura and Erik made their entrance greeted by excited friends and family to have their first dance as more family slowly joined them on the dance floor you could see everyone clearly enjoying themselves . The night featured more speeches from closer family, another taste-tastic Tuscan dinner and more dancing. In Laura and Erik’s style the party didn’t end when the band left, the party continued down behind the villa with a DIY photo booth and props, kicking DJ and an open bar for everyone to take advantage of. The party went on so late we had to stop filming sadly as we we’re told guests ended up in the pool!

There was a fairly early start the next morning considering all the partying the night before but there was plenty of stuff on the cards, the first of which was a stream of the Alabama v Michigan Football game which took place through last night. It was on our journey back from the wine tasting days before that we were informed that these two teams rarely play each other so it was great timing that they did now as it struck up some interest rivalries with the Groom’s side being from Michigan and the Bride’s side from Alabama. We class this as the first test of the marriage LOL It seemed that the Alabama fans were sightly more dedicated so it was a good thing that the Crimson ran out winners ‘Roll Tide’.

The party split again with some people having a cooking class and others taking a trip to nearby Arezzo with its annual medieval festival the Saracen Joust (Giostra del Saracino). It is here that “knights” representing different areas of the town joust in one of the towns square’s all the locals dress up and cheer on their “team”. Arezzo is also the setting for 1997 film La Vita è Bella (Life Is Beautiful), one of Gregg’s favourite films 🙂 Anyway it was our plan that we would film the excursion and tour of Arezzo for half the day then head back to Il Borro for the Cookery class however as we heading back form the middle of town we realised that certain streets, which we had previously walked through where being closed off quickly and we suddenly found ourselves cut off by a huge parade which traversed the whole town! We ran through different side streets to escape which we were able to do however later than originally hoped. Sadly we missed the cooking class as the group had just eaten everything they where taught by the time we arrived so our lesson of the day… knights vs camera man? Knights win!

We have to say seeing all the end of the coking classes made us feel a little hungry which was perfect as it was time of the farewell dinner at the Osteria. This time not so romantic for the two of us but thte same amazing food and sweet wine. This meal was everyones chance too to chill out a bit more, to enjoy each others company and it was the final opportunely for :aura and Erik to thank everyone for being apart of their special day.

Oh I nearly forgot about all the awesome coffee ahhhh! Most days for convenience and ease we had to go to the Spa restaurant for lunch. Well every meal ended with an espresso! Now, we’re both coffee fiends so what we’re about to say is extremely important to us. That espresso was the most beautiful coffee both of us had even tasted!!!
It was so good even on the Monday before heading back to Florence airport we made time to call in for one last espresso and to say by to Erik. This brings us to Simon’s biggest faux pas hehe.

An apology needs to be made to Erik on the behalf of Simon here. Erik he didn’t mean to sound like a threatening mafia member, the little guy just gets confused at times lol. Story goes we were enjoying our breakfast in the Spa, drinking our delicious coffee when Erik enters. We thought this was the perfect opportunity to say our goodbyes personally so went over. We had a little conversation but as we were leaving Simon started to say “enjoy married life together” but on the realisation Laura wasn’t there he ended up saying “enjoy your life!” Just as we got out the door we realised what he had said and how stupid it sounded. He’s been feeling like a fool ever since LOL.

We said our goodbyes and thank you’s to Brenda and her team, the staff at Il Borro then headed on our way. Our journey didn’t end there though, bad weather was causing delays at Florence so after watching the board change from one hour delay to three hours to six hours we realised we weren’t going to make our connection flight in Amsterdam 🙁 This was painful for Simon as this would mean an extra night away from his wife and new born son of four weeks. After killing time with two films and three episodes of Breaking Bad we eventually boarded our flight. Yay! Since we did miss our connection we were put up in a complimentary hotel near Amsterdam airport but we were also booked on the first flight to Glasgow in the morning so had all of about four hours in the hotel before getting picked up for our check in time. Exciting trip home and I didn’t mention nearly losing simon in the airport as he looked for contact lenses solution!

This was obviously an amazing adventure for us and for everyone involved. We look forward to the next 🙂