Ryan & Mike celebrated their 13 years of sweet love with a very personal & emotional wedding ceremony in the private gardens of Villa Eva, Ravello. Having travelled Italy extensively together, the location for their destination wedding was an obvious choice. Villa Eva provided the spectacular backdrop, and 75 family and friends from Canada, USA & Europe provided the warmth to embrace this sweet couple on their big day. With happiness & affection overflowing, their wedding photos are a reflection of just how amazing these two people and their love is. Ryan & Mike’s destination wedding of their dreams was put together with the personal planning of The Amalfi Experience.

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Kim & Shane came all the way from Colorado for a private Renewal Ceremony of their wedding vows. With an intimate & moving ceremony they exchanged their wedding vows once again, at the lovely cliff edged hotel Onde Verde, Praiano. Their beautiful pictures are located in the nearby fishing bay La Praia.

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Elope, it’s the only way to get pictures like these. No stress. Fun. Romantic. Intimate. More stress free time to take loads of pictures in the perfect light. You can take long walks, explore the Italian coast till it gets too dark. Pictures like these take time and co operation.

I absolutely love the way these two dressed for their wedding, during the ceremony Monica was barefoot. James scattared the petals before her arrival. We wandered to the beach and stopped along the way to appreciate the coast. Just look at the way they look at each other!

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Elegant vintage, lace & pearls detailed Laura & Adam’s classical wedding. With an intimate  civil ceremony celebrated in the San Francesco Cloisters, Sorrento & dinner at the marvellous Mediterranean styled villa – Relais Blu, they romanced the evening away with bursts of light rays and the Isle of Capri spoiling the backdrop.

Wedding styled and planned by Bella Sposa – Sorrento – Cheryl Pagano


Natalie & Jamie travelled all the way from New Zealand to celebrate their spring wedding in the picturesque gardens of Hotel Caruso. Celebrations followed on through the romantic Ravello Piazza and on to Villa Eva for a marquee dinner at sunset.

Wedding design by: The Amalfi Experience www.theamalfiexperience.com


Andrei & Iwona celebrated their intimate, spring wedding in the forever breathtaking gardens of Villa Cimbrone, with 30 of their closest friends and family. These predominately black and white images are inspired by old Italian art films, like the nostalgic ‘Cinema Paradiso’.  In it’s own ‘Paradiso’, the Villa Cimbrone gardens provide mystery and suspense as the perfect backdrop for these bride and groom portraits.
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Eloping to the Amalfi Coast this year? Amalfi, Ravello, Praiano, Positano, Maiori, Minori even Sorrento. JoAnne Dunn Photographers is offering a special ‘Elopement Wedding Photography Package’ for new 2015 Elopement couple bookings. For further info email info@joannedunn.it



Shoes, Shoes, Shoes, traditional wedding and non. So often ‘the SHOES’ are a way for a bride to let her personality peak through from under the dress. ‘The SHOES’…high heeled, wedged, flat or between the toes are one of my all time favourite details of the day to shoot. Here are just a few of the collection…only a few from my fetish!

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This is a collection of my all time favourite images, shot by Pasquale and I over the last two years. For many of the images we had to look up which camera shot the image to know who the picture belonged to. The album is a work in progress since there are about 300 000 images to go through, literally.

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This gorgeous Dutch couple got married last year, their wedding was shot by an exclusively reportage photographer. The bride was a little disappointed by the lack of portraits. So the groom decided to surprise Marjel by secretly hiring me to celebrate their first year wedding anniversary… she hadn’t seen my work and it was a delight creating something special for them.

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Villa Angelina sits on one of Sorrento’s most amazing cape heads. The ancient, private residence, covers more than 50 hectares of land and enjoys one of the most amazing views on the entire Sorrento Coast. The delightful panorama includes Vesuvius, Ischia and Capri & miles and miles of endless blue Mediterranean Sea. It is a surreal spot for wedding ceremonies and receptions, all on the one location.

Charlotte & Simeon hosted nearly 100 of their closet family and friends for their spectacular June wedding at Villa Angelina.

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Laura & Erik married in the midst of the Tuscan hills on the stunning medieval property of Il Borro Estate. The event, perfectly planned by Italia Celebrations was recently showcased on Style Me Pretty.

For full coverage click here


Why do Italians seem so rude?

From Rome down, Italians can be quite rude as seen from an English cultural position. It’s the great cultural divide that I married into. Italians do not like to decorate their requests and acknowledgments with pleases and thank yous. Especially if they are your friends (or work in public service.) Between friends they find it too formal and if you say thank you to a good Neapolitan friend, they will reply that there is no need for a formal thank you. They believe thank you and please are too formal for good friends who understand each other. When in Italy their apparent rudeness is just due to cultural differences so try not to take it personally.



How to order food like an Italian in Italy Part 2

Basic Rules: Part 02

  1. Ask for recommendations; Italians love giving their opinions on just about everything, but food questions will be tackled with the seriousness of a political debate. “what would you recommend?” “Everything is good!” they will reply, like I said tread lightly food is serious business.
  2. Most Italians (especially in South Italy) will have; anti-pasta, pasta, secondo, fruita, dolce and café. If you want  to try so much food once in your life I recommend you don’t eat too much pasta and avoid the bread. Or you may just pop.
  3. Never ever in your whole life, even if your life depends on it order a cappuccino after a big meal. Everybody in the place, who is Italian, will naturally assume that you are foreign and “don’t understand anything about food.” Unfortunately they have brainwashed me and I too now believe that milk after fish is not so hot.
  4. Look for places filled with locals and ask about dishes you see passing by. locals and ask about dishes you see passing by.

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Try to always order local wine and often house wine which can be home made wine. It’s a little rough round the edges and lighter in alcohol but once you get the taste for it there is no going back. Especially since the price is right and the hangover is low key.

How to order food like an Italian in Italy

Basic Rules: Part 01

  1. The shorter the menu the more likely you are to get good quality fresh food.
  2. The more dishes offered with ingredients, which are in season, the better the food will be.
  3. In Italy ingredients, which are frozen have to be indicated on the menu, so look out for those little stars on the right.
  4. Water is always ordered at the beginning of the meal, a lightly fizzy is recommended to clean the palate especially if you will be eating rich food.
  5. If you start with fish or meat, you should stick with the theme or have lemon sorbet between courses.
  6. Avoid anything labelled tourist menu or you will end up with fish fingers for your main.
  7. It’s good to know what different areas are famous for e.g. Naples has mozzarella, Rome the Amatriciana, Tuscany has it’s Fiorentina and Genova has pesto. But these are just the obvious, Italians can be so

    passionate about their way of making a certain pasta that they will talk about the people in the next town who don’t know how to cook because they add onions. They will discuss these onion lovers as though they come from a far off land.


Wedding in Naples

Who gets married in Naples? Italians who were born there and love the place but a man with an artistic bride might see it’s chaotic beauty. The saying goes see Naples and die. After the book Gomorrah I think a lot of people were put off coming to Naples but I am the wrong person to ask since I am South Africa. Johannesburg makes Naples seem quite tame. Tame it’s not, but well worth visiting. And although I usually dread the weddings in Naples because of the chaos, they have some of the most beautiful churches I have ever seen. They also have amazing venues and the price is right. But it is a crazy place, you can’t run around flashing your gold Rolex and not expect at least a good hard slap. Either you love Naples or you hate it. I like it in doses and I would only go in with someone who knows were they are going. One can end up in dodgy neighbourhoods without even trying.  And again come to me for reliable contacts for Naples wedding planners.

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Wedding in Ravello

After having worked in almost all of Italy, I decided I wanted to settle in Ravello. The reason is simple, I think it’s the most beautiful place in the world. It’s half village half garden, suspended in the sky over looking the sea from mountain cliffs. It’s safe, with no cars, just steps and it has the most beautiful colours all year round. The spring is filled with cherry blossoms and fire flies. Summer has many flowers, music and balmy nights, Autumn is a flame with reds and oranges . Winter has a magic solitude which sparkles in silvers and blues. I can write endless sonnets but you would still have no idea of how beautiful the place is.

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Wedding in Tuscany

After the book (and movie) under a Tuscan Sun, Tuscany has become even more popular. It’s romantic, rustic and the food is some of the best in the world. You will find it a hard task to have a bad meal or drink bad wine. The weather is very hot but the atmosphere and style is very individual. Tuscany really responds well to being shot in black and white. Tuscany is perfect though a little mild for my taste. The Tuscan people are lovely people like fresh warm bread. The salami, truffles, cheese, steak, and wine are all world famous. I also believe that the prices are very competitive compared to the rest of Italy. I recommend hiring a huge villa with garden and swimming pool, it will be cheaper than many hotel rooms.

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Wedding in Venice

Everything has a good and a bad side. Unfortunately. For the next few blogs i would like to discuss my personal opinions on getting married in various places in Italy. Today I will start with the pro’s and con’s of marrying in Venice.

Venice is UNBELIEVABLE. Crazy Venetians built a city in the middle of the sea. It’s sinking and won’t be there for ever so even if you don’t get married there you have to go and see the place. It’s refined, beautiful, sad, and so impressive. One can see the strong Arabic influence and it is surprised by gardens and luxury.

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The Pros of getting married in Venice:

  1. The scenery is unbeatable, nothing else like it exists. The streets, buildings and interiors.
  2. If you are prepared to spend a bit you can dine in some of the most exquisite hotels in the world
  3. Getting around on boats and gondolas is fabulous
  4. It’s melon conic waysare so romantic
  5. Even the shops are romantic and the shopping is down right sexy (if you find that kind of thing sexy.
  6. It’s so close to Milan so flights are frequent and cheap
  7. There is so much to see and do from art exhibitions, boat tours, walking tours and of course the define art of getting lost with a camera

The Cons of getting married in Venice:

  1. Too many tourists, hard to shoot in the most famous places without looking like you are just one in a million. Though this can be overcome if your photographer knows a few secret places.
  2. Never be late if you are getting married in Venice. There are no cars, none. So if you are late you have to run or catch a boat but they are only allowed to go very slowly. Be warned if you catch the wrong boat or bus it can cost you hours.
  3. Everything is already very expensive but if they see you wearing a wedding dress the price doubles.
  4. The place is so full of tourist traps that your wallet is in constant danger but with a little intelligent exploration, like following Italians in to a restaurant you can find real treasures.

Thinking about getting married in Italy?

Why do so many foreign couples get married in Italy. The weather is good, the food is great, the cities and villages are gorgeous, weddings are a big tradition in Italy, it’s a very romantic place and besides it’s a great weeder when it comes to the invitation list. The Italian government has gone as far as possible to simplify the process of getting married in Italy. With such a variety of locations and landscapes to choose from. From the classic Venice to the unexplored Puglia, it all depends what you are after. Dreamy, crazy, glamorous to rustic and earthy, you can have it all when you get married in italy.

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My favourite locations 15: Castellammare Bikini

Into pulp? Want something really Italian but a little kitsch and atypical? Try Bikini, complete with a little fake island with two palms. I think if you go Italian cocktail chic and make your theme colour gold this venue could rock. If you go classic romantic you will look silly here but if you do super polished gangster chic. It could work but you would need to have seen every Tarintino movie to pull it off . You would also need to be two crazy extroverts who might hire Brazilian dancers to start the party after the cake.

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“Bikini enjoys an extraordinary view of the Naples Gulf and accommodates up to 160 people in a divine outdoor setting. Guests enjoy a genuine kitchen from the sea, completed with typical Italian dairy products and fine Italian wines. The restaurant brags with excellent service, hospitality and professionalism. With a background of a splendid nature and a wonderful seascape, lovingly protected and put in light, it is depicted as an island of comfort and serenity.” Direct text from Castellamare Bikini website


My favourite locations 14: Massa Lubrense: La Conca del Sogno

This is probably the most original of all the suggestions i have for you. You load all your guests into bots from a small port just after Massa Lubresnse. The boats can meet in the middle of the sea for a quick toast and off to the restaurant Lido) on the rocks. With many terraces which go out into the sea. Where you can spend the night dancing and feasting on Oysters. The restaurant is not the prettiest but the location is so great nothing else matters. The price is also probably the best you will find and the quality is fantastic. Though not trendy and chic it does give you the possibility to party till sunrise.

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“La Conca del Sogno stands alone upon land which after the war was used exclusively for rock excavation. The private and hidden cove is in a splendid position within Marina del Cantone, shortly after the Sorrento Coastline. With some slightly modern touches, this secret location remembers its small beginnings and reflects some of the old traditions that started this adventure.” Direct text from La Conca del Sogno website

My favourite locations 13 Milan: Villa Perego a Cremago (Erba)

You know those places you go to in your dreams, where your love chases you in misty hedged labyrinths? Well that is the atmosphere at this villa. Classic and refined, yet a little bit of eccentricity floats on the air. The food was good though I think it was catering. There is a gorgeous space for cocktails and a dream like hall with huge French windows for the after party.
“Villa Perego di Cremnago is a prestigious monumental complex open for weddings. This magnificent complex consists of a palace by the Architect Piermarini, stables by Simon Cantoni, a private chapel painted with XVI century frescoes, an XVIII century lemonhouse house and three big charming gardens. The whole complex has been declared an Italian National Monument since 1906 and it is known as one of the most precious houses in Italy.”Direct text from Villa Perego e Cremnago website

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My favourite locations 11 – Capo la Gala Resort – Vico Equense- Sorrento – Italy

Most people who come to Italy want something classic and old looking for their wedding venue. Naturally the Italian feel a little different living here. Many prefer something a little more modern. Capo la gala is the perfect solution. Right on the sea in the rocks the venue is fresh and sleek. With a dark women decked pool with a deep blue bottom. It's an amazing place to take photographs and because it caters almost exclusively to Italians the food is ridiculously good. Be warned, just because it's not on the tourist route does not mean it's cheap.
“Hotel Capo La Gala is situated in one of the most picturesque corners of the Bay of Naples.

Due to its central position along the Sorrento coast, Hotel Capo La Gala is half way between Pompeii and Sorrento, an ideal spot in the midst of historic, archaeological and natural sites. The soft lighting, the gorgeous views out to the blue Mediterranean, makes for unforgettable sunsets and a fairy tale, romantic atmosphere.” Direct text from Capo la Gala website

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How are Italian weddings different?

Italian weddings are serious affairs and many people wear black. They do not have speeches and there is not always dancing. They give small gifts to their guest to say thank you. The main activity during Italian weddings is eating. There can be up to ten courses with lemon sorbet between the fish and meat. Need I say more? There are exceptions to this rule. And this summer I finally went to a few Italian weddings which were a huge amount of fun.


Getting Married on the Amalfi Coast

Our ‘inside Amalfi Coast’ wedding hints

1)Enquire at your planned wedding venue about the sunlight and the times of sunsets, and work around this. Remember, group photos should be taken before dark. Also, in some venues late afternoon sunlight can be harsh.

2)Having a mid-summer wedding? Remember the heat and the crowds. These things can actually add character to your day if they are planned for. Some ideas – placing quaint wooden hand held fans on guests’ chairs, or the bride holding a stylish sun umbrella. Make sure you are re-hydrated – drink lots of water, and keep a couple of tissues on hand.

3)Travel times should always be over-estimated, as they can be influenced by crowds, tourist traffic and phenomenally windy roads. Regular bus services are unpredictable. Our advice: try to avoid separate destinations for your ceremony and reception, or keep them close together.

4)In June, July and August, try to avoid midday or lunch weddings and opt for an afternoon or evening ceremony.

5)Lunchtime weddings in October can be beautiful.

6)Remember that many venues around the coast are only accessible by foot, so comfortable shoes, or a change of shoes, is a must – including for the bride!

7)Cake-cutting ceremonies outside, and in the dark, can be extremely difficult for photos since the flash has nothing to bounce off. However, as this often happens due to the natural time flow of the day, we highly recommending using a white canopy, drape or netting over the cake as a backdrop for the flash. This can be worked into the overall decoration scheme to make a feature, for example by tying the canopy between tree branches.

8)If you are having a church ceremony, keep in mind that a lot of the Catholic churches enforce dress codes. This means covered shoulders and knees. Although not applicable in every case, it is safest to check with the priest of the particular church, and suggest that female guests bring a scarf or shawl.

9)Choose your priest wisely. It is important to have a confident English speaker so that you and all your guests can hear and understand him. They are hard to find, but they do exist here on the coast. If necessary, consider looking into a translator. It is also important to try and find a liberal priest who is not too strict on procedures and timelines.

Favourite towns and venues on the Amalfi coast #3

Amalfi – Steeped in history

The town of Amalfi was the capital of the Maritime Republic of Amalfi that dominated trade in the region a thousand years’ ago. It nestles like a jewel in a deep ravine in the Lattari mountains between two rocky outcrops, bordered at the back by hills and lush vineyards, and facing the azure waves of the Mediterranean.
The city centres on a mighty cathedral decorated with mosaics of all colours, with golds and silvers that reflect the sunlight to dazzling effect. The “Duomo” houses the relics of Saint Andrew, one of the 12 apostles of Jesus and the city’s patron saint.
This is a food lover’s paradise. Simplicity is key in the kitchen, and chefs create simple wonders using what is local—creamy mozzarella, golden lemons, smoked provola, wild mushrooms and, of course, sea food.
Amalfi was a favourite of the British aristocracy in the 1920s and 30s, which flocked here in search of the romance and passion of its secret passageways and gardens. Today, lovers from all over the world are still drawn by its timeless soul.

Venue ideas

Santa Caterina, Amalfi – The Santa Caterina enjoys a panoramic coastal setting of incomparable beauty at the summit of an extensive property. It begins at the Amalfi drive, whose curve hugs the hillside, and tumbles down to the water’s edge in a series of landscaped natural terraces.

Hotel Luna, Amalfi – Situated in an old cloister founded by St Francis of Assisi in 1222, this is another perfect place for a wedding. Its charming chapel is used for wedding ceremonies and the cells that once housed the pious monks have been transformed and given all modern comforts, while holding on to an air of serenity. The hotel’s breathtaking views provide an idyllic backdrop for your day.

Favourite towns and venues on the Amalfi coast #2

Positano: A private paradise

Positano, also known as “the vertical city”, will not fail to take the breath away of even those with the highest expectations. Its buildings cling vertiginously to sheer cliffs that tumble into the sea. On a clear day, you can see as far as the island of Capri.
Though tourism is the major industry in Positano, visitors may find themselves more alone than in any other town on the coast. It is a tiny town without cars and only three thousand seven hundred inhabitants, and it can only be reached by foot from above.
Here, the ancient ways live on. Early mornings, you will find an old man hanging over the side of his boat trying to catch octopus. In late afternoon he and his friends will sit together and sew their nets. Positano is the legend of the Mediterranean Sea, caught in a little protective cove.
Positano also holds a prominent position in popular culture. It was the first place in Italy where the bikini was worn in the nineteen fifties, and it is said Mick Jagger and Keith Richards wrote the song “Midnight Rambler” in its cafes while on holiday.

Venue ideas

Hotel Murat –Housed in an old seventeenth century palace, Hotel Murat has been refurbished in the style of the Neapolitan baroque school of Vanvitelli, carefully conserving its architectural flourish and period objects.

Villa Fiorentino – This is a wonderful Mediterranean-style villa, the ideal place to feel at home. It is located just a short distance from the beach. With terraces overlooking the sea, you can admire Li Galli islands, the surrounding mountains and the houses that cascade in a pyramid towards the sea. The villa is sunny from morning until dusk and is surrounded by the lush vegetation of the Mediterranean.

San Pietro di Positano – Surrounded by scented Tropical and Mediterranean gardens, Il San Pietro di Positano overlooks the world famous bay of Positano. San Pietro has a perfect harmony of luxury and simplicity, which is the secret to a private and charming hotel.

Favourite towns and venues on the Amalfi coast #1

Ravello – Close to heaven

The charismatic and picturesque town of Ravello perches on a cliff 350 metres above the sea. The sharp drop gives the impression of looking down from a window in the sky. Its piazzas and terraces offer countless gorgeous panorama views of the Amalfi coastline, the endless Mediterranean, and surrounding vineyards and lush gardens.
Ravello was an important town of the Maritime Republic of Amalfi, a trading power in the Mediterranean region between 800 and 1200 AD. It has also been a cultural hotspot in the twentieth century, and has been a favourite of great artists and writers including E. M. Foster and Virginia Woolf.
Ravello is a place of music. In the summer, concerts are held in the village¬¬ in styles ranging from jazz to opera. They are performed in front of sea, sky, clouds, mist, specks of colour and light from March to November.

Ultimate venue idea

Villa Cimbrone – Villa Cimbrone is the crème de la crème of what the Amalfi Coast has to offer. Views, sea, sun and sky all mix to create that magical ambiance for your day. The exquisite palace mixes the understated luxury of an elite venue with the intimate and romantic ambiance of a family-run hotel. Marry in the open air in the splendid gardens with breathtaking views, or in the elegant rooms in historical surroundings that date back almost a thousand years.
The earliest records of the Villa Cimbrone date to the eleventh century. As a patrician villa, it belonged to a noble family called Accongiogioco and then to the Fusco, a wealthy and influential family related to the Pitti of Florence and the Angio of Naples. But around the seventeenth century, the fate of the villa becomes unclear.

It was an Englishman, William Beckett, who purchased the villa in 1904 with the intention of making it “the most gorgeous place in the world”. With the help of Nicola Mansi, a local, Beckett transformed it into a fortified palace with towers, battlements and a mixture of Arabic, Venetian and Gothic details. Between the house and the cliff edge he built a garden, high above the Gulf of Salerno. The garden is an eccentric mixture of formal English rosebeds, Moorish tea houses, picturesque grottoes and classical temples.

The villa’s reputation for intimate romance is second to none—it was the setting for the famous elopement of actress Greta Garbo and Leopold Stokowsky in 1938. Over the years, it has housed some of the greatest minds of modern times. It was a favourite of the London Bloomsbury set, and former guests include Virginia Woolf, D. H. Lawrence and Winston Churchill.
A sparkling jewel in a class of its own, Villa Cimbrone provides a unique setting for your wedding day.

Other venue ideas

Villa Eva – A romantic villa surrounded by a park of over 3000 square metres and beautiful gardens. It offers a view of the incomparable scenery of the Amalfi Coast and is a wonderfully tranquil spot.

Palazzo Sasso – This is a stunning five-star deluxe hotel that overlooks some of the Amalfi Coast’s most picturesque fishing villages. The hotel is a 12th century Italian villa whose beauty and tranquillity have inspired many famous personalities. General Eisenhower was a resident when he was planning the attack on Monte Cassino, and former guests remember Ingrid Bergman and Roberto Rossellini giggling over dinner in the restaurant.

Hotel Caruso – Narrow alleys carved between stucco-fronted houses and a deluge of steps lead you to Hotel Caruso. Have your wedding set against the panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea or directly on a private section of its lush terraced gardens. The breathtaking views of the Amalfi Coast guarantee that your wedding will be special.

Hotel Palumbo – From the enchanting gardens of this lovingly restored medieval palazzo, your gaze can wander out to the furthest point of the Gulf of Salerno, the Cilento Coast and the archaeological inland area of Paestum. The astounding blues of sky and sea are enhanced by the intense green of the hotel’s Mediterranean gardens.

Mamma Agata – For an exciting and different epicurean experience, Mamma Agata is the perfect spot. Situated high above the Amalfi Coast, it boasts terraces with views of the cliffs of Ravello cascading down to the sea. This famous and favourite location makes for a personal and intimate wedding.

Eloping to the Amalfi Coast

It is the romantic dream wedding – eloping to a small pocket of paradise, just you and your partner. You can enjoy a relaxed wedding day, soak up the local culture and also cleverly combine your wedding and honeymoon into one blissful and glorious stretch.
But although your elopement will let you forget about common wedding headaches like mile-long guest lists, complicated seating plans and embarrassing speeches, there is one tradition you would not want to forgo: amazing wedding photos to show your family and friends. Our photographers specialise in this type of photography, taking all the pressure off you while documenting your day without intruding on your privacy.

From our experience:

Remember that you chose to elope for a reason. Make the most of the private moments.
There will be endless photo opportunities. Our photographers are intimately familiar with the Amalfi Coast, and they will guide you to the best little spots and views that will make all the difference to your day.
Pay close attention to your appearance. The details will become an important feature in your photos – the shoes, cufflinks, your hair, makeup, the vows, etc.
If you are brave, consider a “trash your dress” shoot together – in the pool, on the beach, by the flowerbeds or in rustic surroundings.
Have fun with each other; it makes a difference to your photos. Allow yourselves the time to let the day take you where it wants to. A glass of champagne on the piazza, gelato on the beach, a quiet walk around old alleyways… These are the moments that will be etched into your memories forever.

Joanne Dunn

Magical Places and Spaces

At JoAnne Dunn Photography, we have the privilege of shooting weddings in some of the most beautiful places in the world. Many of our clients travel great distances and spend small fortunes to share with their loved ones their love of a particular part of the world.

To honour this commitment, we take care to carefully describe the place chosen for each and every wedding we shoot. At the end of the day, our photos will include not only gorgeous shots of your wedding, but also the surroundings—beautiful landscapes and environments, at different times of day.

Our location shots help to set your wedding in context, both in time and space. The architecture, land and sky will be portrayed so that everyone watching the photos will be cast under the same spell that first caught you.

Joanne Dunn

Insiders Guide to the Amalfi Coast – part 04

By foot or by boat

Positano is a tiny town without cars and only three thousand seven hundred inhabitants. It can only be reached by foot from the above. One walks down many little stairs and hilly pathways down the sides of the Lattari Mountains which crown it. Walking down at a pace a little faster than a stroll, due to the sharp decline, finally one reaches the volcanic sand beach. Nestled and protected in the arms of the mountains, the tiny rectangular coloured houses spread themselves half way up the mountain lazing in the sunshine. On a clear day, if you look out to sea you will clearly see the islands Punta Licosa and Capri. Just another six kilometres out to sea you would find three little islands collectively called the “Sirenuse”. As the name would suggest legend has it that their shallows are inhabited by bewitching Syrians. One thing is certain, that this place is so exquisite in its situation; the imagination can’t help but get over excited.

Fishermen and seafarers, they were some of the very first to set sail to America. Some to become very wealthy and later returned, even if only for the holidays. Positano was quickly discovered after the Second World War by the discerning American traveller. By the sixties it was the fashionable hide away of the wealthy, with visitors like Any Warhol. Much like Capri is today. Fashion has always had an on going love story with Positano. It was the first town, in Italy, where the bikini was introduced in nineteen fifty nine.

I love Positano because it is slightly more difficult to get to, there are fewer tourists and early morning you will find an old man hanging over the side of his boat trying to catch octopus. In the late afternoon his friends will sit together and sew their nets. It’s ridiculously pretty and one has the impression that change hasn’t been around for ages. Italy the way I fanaticised it would be. But the fantasy in its natural form is rare. Positano seems to be a legend of the Mediterranean Sea caught in a little protective cove.

One of the best ways to see a place is to be guided by some one who lives there, if they love the land all the better. Only as I wrote did I realise how very in-love with the Amalfi coast I am. Place of sea, sky and mountains. Place of tastes, music, song, dance and art. This is the Amalfi coast as I know her; divine and delicious. Naturally.

Joanne Dunn

Insiders Guide to the Amalfi Coast – part 03

Little fishing village

Cetara is and always was a little fishing village. Still inhabited by a few little old fishermen with tough hard hands, boats symmetrically scatter themselves along the pebbled beach. The sea is gentle and friendly; wearing simple swimming goggles completely changes the swimming experience. Every year Cetara celebrates “The sacred day of the tuna and anchovy” for three days, twice a year, around May to July.

One way to beat the exchange rate, and you if you prefer “the road less travelled”, is to visit these places in winter. They are practically deserted and only the people who really live there remain. However be prepared for many of the touristy shops and restaurants to be closed. Cetara was once an important hideaway for Arabic pirates who would raid the coastlines Tyrrhenian Sea. It is an ancient little hideout with a history over a thousand years old.
Due to the nature of the town it’s a good place to taste the sea. My husband and I have two favourites, Ristorante S.Pietro and Ristorante AcquaPazza. The S.Pietro is an old favourite among local people who love and understand sea food. Believe me there is allot of understanding to be done when it come to food and it’s preparation in south Italy. I often crave the thin slices of raw swordfish on a bed of wild rocket and sweet white onion.
(Again find out what is fresh and recommended. Let them guide you; they take your eating experience seriously.)
The name Acquapazza refers to a Neapolitan method of preparing Seafood. Literally translated from Neapolitan it means crazy water. The Ristorante AcquaPazza is unique because it does unusual combinations. Combinations, which may not surprise Capetonians, but shock the traditionalist Italian food lover. Recipes which date back three hundred years are common and expected by the citizens. So, this is a brave little non traditional restaurant which my mother in-law rejects because “you really don’t eat there”. (This is said firmly slowly and passionately, with emphasis on and repetitions of the word eat.) They shock by serving home made linguini with tuna eggs and figs, spicy bean and mussel pasta and calamari with pureed chickpeas and raw dark green olive oil. (I know it sounds Italian but here that is experimental). Be warned that Aquapazza can become very expensive if you start on the starters, though the starters are the best part and give you a chance to try a little of everything.
On the twenty eighth and ninth of June every year the village celebrates their saints, Saint Peter and Saint Paul. The grand finale takes place on the second evening. Spectators are treated to an amazing fireworks display over the sea. The shiny black sea reflects mammoth sea urchins. The colours, lights, sounds and even the smells burn to a climax. Often I find myself cheering and emotional.

Joanne Dunn

Insiders Guide to the Amalfi Coast – part 02

literally stunning

Amalfi is a treasure crevice cut into the cool rock at the foot of the Lattari mountain range. Quietly it sparkles within, protected; it’s unimaginable what lies within. One enters through arched passageways, which open into a beautiful square. Then splashes gold light catch your eye. You look up to see what must be one of the most exquisite and impressive cathedrals in the world. Its details and outside walls are decorated with mosaic of all colours, even silver and lots of gold. Combined with sunshine, the effect is dazzling.

Every year around June, Amalfi hosts a historical boat race: The Ancient Maritime Republics Regatta. People with history and the spirit of the sea in their souls celebrate the sea. Dressed in traditional costume they perform passed on rituals under the scattering light of fireworks. Fireworks are an important tradition along the coast line and generally in south Italy. Even grown men are passionate about the fireworks.
Every town and village has a patron saint. On the saint’s scared day, a statue of the saint will go around the town on the back of a van or on the shoulders of men. Passing along the streets with noisy clanging music, children and adults alike are calling, “He is coming!” imploring you with a twinkle in their eyes. Those adults have been running into the street to see their town’s saint, ever since they were little and before. Memories flood back as they stand with tears, notes and petals to shower on the passing protector. Once all the offerings have been collected and the complimentary Saint poster has been received, fire works are set off. Loud bangs and sparks try to frighten the sunshine into lighting up. For the entire day and night the fireworks will beat the sky like a drum.

Many people have never left their Amalfi villages for very long, if at all. The dances and food, song and music are all steeped in old traditions. Traditions which have had many a passionate love affair with rogue influences. Traditions which could be accused of being just a little romantic. They are both in love with and living in their past.

Flowers flop over walls, shocking bougainvilleas and coy but testy prickly pears garnish the town. Citrus, in particular lemons are a symbol of the region. All along the coast you are making an educated choice if you choose something with lemons in it. Lemoncello, lemon sorbet, Dilizia al Lemone (a heavenly lemon desert).

If you love fish, then Amalfi is for you. (My husband loves fish the way some people love drugs.) Most of the restaurants serve fish and if you keep it simple, you can’t go wrong. It will be fresh, delicate and special. Order the house white, it’s likely to be home-made by close relatives or friends. It’s not a quiet refined wine but rather an extremely fine home-made wine. Clean, pure, light, delicious and cheap. In summer it’s advisable to throw a peach into your pitcher and even red wine is chilled. A good rule my hubby, the food worshipper, has taught me is to look for the restaurant with a shorter menu. It means things are fresh because that’s what you should be after.
I once heard Johnny Depp (in an interview) say that it is almost impossible to have a bad meal in Italy. The key is eating what is local and in season; (you payless and it tastes better) creamy juicy mozzarella , rich smoked provola, cherries, peaches, oranges, lemons, grapes, wild mushrooms, chestnuts, pasta (no cream, EVER, well hardly) raw olive oil, fish wrapped in lemon leaves, tiny fried fresh fish, simple pizza, mussels, clams and the best tomatoes you will ever eat.

I recommend two important experiences of the Amalfi coast. One from land and the other from the sea. First hire a Vespa and do the whole fifty kilometres from Sorrento to Salerno and back. Especially when it is really hot and there may be traffic, theVespa is an escape. Has to be a Vespa, it’s a tradition. If you are like me and you suffer on bendy roads the Vespa is the solution. The double-decker public buses, believe me, are not the answer. I cannot describe the joy of a Vespa! My second suggestion is to hire a boat or take a sunset cruise. To see the coast from the sea is inspiring, even from a peddle boat. On a calm day one can even dive in the immense blue sea and have a safe off shore dip.

Joanne Dunn

Insiders Guide to the Amalfi Coast – part 01

The Amalfi Coastline, from the Mediterranean Sea, seems to be a divine organic tiara. The sun’s rays catch little flashes of splendour from the minute villages which are carved into the sea’s crown. Ravello, the thirteenth jewel, perches straight above on the Lattari Mountains. The Mountains and their straight faced cliffs fall lazily down to the sea from above. From my gushiness, you can tell, I am madly in love with the Amalfi coastline and in particular Ravello. I know the little villages and their curves intimately. We are not able to visit all the villages, since our time is brief, so I’ll selfishly stick to my personal favourites. This is my “Insiders Guide” to the Amalfi coast.

Medieval Garden Village

Have to start with Ravello! That’s where it all began. I first heard about Ravello, three years ago, in a book on a plane to Italy. The author described it’s deliciously lush gardens and dizzying views. Little did I know it was a start of a lasting love affair. I do admit that I fall in love with many places regularly. But I have to say that with Ravello it was different and seem predestined. I asked Gianni (hubby) where Ravello was, he pointed at the mountains behind our house, “twenty minutes away”. It’s difficult to decide if Ravello is a garden or a village. This Medieval village garden has a petty coat of lemon and vine terraces. The blossoms and their fall, heavy purple jewels hang from vines, the rusted leaves set the petticoat a flame and finally dissolve into a resting abstraction. Goat and sheep herds with their shepherds and tinkling bells roam the mountains. So on the way up to Ravello, one always goes up to get to Ravello, one is often slowed down my by a scampering pool of fluff and chimes. I always insist on silence in the car as we wade through.

Our first meeting was not the moment we fell in love. It was not love at first sight. I didn’t make an effort to explore very much past the piazza. We missed everything. Ravello is to be climbed and explored. It is three hundred meters above sea with the sea of Amalfi directly below it. Ravello has many stairs but each one is worth it for the views are unimaginable. It was later, when I was commissioned to do a photographic reportage on Ravello, that I saw her many faces and dresses. I woke up at four one morning to search for the best view point to shoot the sunrise. Climbing the many, many, many stairs… a light which seemed celestial. I had a moment. Empty, quiet and suspended, seemingly from the sky above the sea. Truly unbelievable and yet giving one perfect perspective. Vast and close, things seem miniature but yet immense. It’s confusing, as the eye is not used to such huge perspectives and being reminded how very small we are.

Ravello is a place of music. Old music, classical music, folk music and occasionally you might catch a few swinging jazz notes on the wind. Beautiful and prestigious classical concerts are performed in front of these overwhelming spaces. Sea, sky, clouds, mist, specs of colour and light. It is said that Villa Rufolo was Wagner’s inspiration for the gardens of Klingsor, during his visit in eighteen eighty. An enchanted garden and Parsifal is a magical piece with a little of Ravello’s soul. Every year, since the nineteen twenties, Ravello has been home to the Wagner Music Festival. It is held in the hot summer months of July. Set in the very gardens which inspired the master. The festival is a celebration of a passionate love affair of the artist and the landscape. A landscape with coloured flower wings and enchanting Arabic influenced architecture.

There are other music festivals and performances such as Jazz, Arabic, Spanish, Medieval, Folk, Opera and Classical. Ravello and its surroundings have a long concert season from March to November. (Even in midsummer, take a warm jersey. You are up in the clouds and it can get nippy). There are dawn concerts which commence with the sunrise. Ravello is at her most beautiful from four till six in summer mornings and afternoons. In the late summer evenings, on the piazza (Duomo Square), small concerts take place under the watchful gaze of the great dark pines. Music lovers and other lovers come from all over the world to see the astonishing views, drink in the sent of the flowers and take pleasure in the music.

Ravello and its surrounding mountains are inhabited by a little tribe of folk musicians and dancers. Some are classically trained and others play Jazz, but their love is for folk. The leader of musical gnomes can play and sing just about anything. Mad as a potter but thoroughly captivating. He and his fellow musicians earn a living doing concerts in Ravello for wealthy Americans and English, who come to get married. These musicians are some of the happiest humans I know. Ravello seems to have intoxicating powers and has been known to have strange effects. I once saw an extremely wealth lady in her seventies, kick of her shoes and “give” herself to the music. There are times when Ravello is particularly dangerous to self control. As different trees and fruit trees blossom and bloom in spring and early summer, they can quite confuse a restless soul. The sensation is similar to being in-love. The fact that one is at the top of a mountain looking down does something quite wonderful to the head and heart. Add a little sublime music of your choice and well it’s the perfect place to cast a love spell. No discussion of Ravello would be complete without mentioning my favourite little part of this world. The gardens, flowers, views, trees of Villa Cimbrone are unimaginable. A steep demanding little fifteen minute walk from Ravello, the villa is open everyday from nine till sunset. The Terrace of Infinity is one of Ravello’s best views. The terrace looks straight down onto a seductively curvy part of the coast. The effect is startling due to the sharp drop of the mountain the garden is on. It gives the impression that one is looking down from a window in the sky. The lemon tree terraces frill round the mountain and tiny ladybird size cars trace the contour of coast. The effect is just a little surreal.

Villa Cimbrone’s gardens are filled with sculptures, trees, flowers and various other little treasures collected by the English Nobleman who built it. The pines are tall ancient silhouettes and the castle-like villa evokes longings for fairytales. There are grand discoveries, like an oversized marble rose garden, centered with a sundial and gated with huge ceramic urns. There are also places which seem to be secret places to sit and think. Little sculptures tucked away. The bronze turning that special powdery mossy green, while giant blazing leaves float gently to the ground. The time is older up there. It is another world, with its own time, a magical time which offers another perspective. Writers and artists have been besotted Ravello’s virtues. The immense space inspires, humbles and even inflicts melancholy. The Spanish artist and ceramist Miro, the English painter Tuner and the writer Virginia Woolf are but a few of the many artists who have visited Ravello. “Room with a view”, written by Foster depicts many a Ravello scene. Even us mortals can’t help but be inspired by Ravello’s eternity. Yet it has a special naturalism as villagers go about their day. It proposes many unique vantage places to examine without and within.

Joanne Dunn

15 good reasons to get married in Italy

1. Weddings are an institution in Italy and therefore are super organised. Large Italian weddings are notorious all over the world (they take their traditions with them where ever they go). So everybody from wedding planners, venues, hairdressers and florists work a lot. Practise makes perfect and so it’s safe to say Italy offers some of the world’s finest wedding service providers.

2. Italy is seriously beautiful from Lake Como (where George Clooney lives) to Sardinia and everywhere in between. It seems to have many worlds contained in one, so no matter what your taste, your desires can be satisfied.

3. The food is amazing and is so varied from one neighbouring town to the other. Johnny Depp can be quoted as once saying “it hard to get a bad meal in Italy”.

4. It’s about as romantic as it can get. From the old architecture to the old folks sitting watching on the piazza. Can’t really beat Italy for a little bit of “amore”.

5. If you like fireworks Italy has a long fireworks tradition and just about any venue can organise a fireworks display.

6. The live music which is available is quite astounding even in little towns like Ravello. You can find just about anything imaginable from classic to jazz, from Opera to Hip Hop. Just as Justin Timberlake discovered last summer when he was caught getting down to the tunes of the local Ravello DJ at Villa Cimbrone.

7. Delicious wine and “prosecco”.

8. Some of the most beautiful cities in the world are in Italy. Cities adored with amazing architecture and art. The streets bustle with life and history. Hours can be spent sipping wine at the café on the piazza.

9. The weather is mild and a delight with most of the rain coming in Autumn and winter. But we do not recommend August because it can get very hot.

10. Venues which are quite sublime, there is with something for everyone.

11. It’s a great people ‘weeder’. The reason so many couples choose destination weddings, is that for the same price of having a big ‘come all’ wedding back home, they can have a smaller wedding with only those they really want at the wedding.

12. All your guests will be in a holiday spirit and way from their reality. They are therefore far more likely to let down their hair and kick off their shoes. SO not only will you be giving your guests a dream wedding to attend but also a little holiday in the mix.

13. Italians understand and love, LOVE. The have written, sang and died in the name of love for centuries. They are a passionate and emotional bunch, if you are in love you will feel at home.

14. Italians are warm and very hospitable. They welcome foreigners and pride themselves on being friendly. Doesn’t hurt that the men are shall we say sensitive to a girls need for a little attention.

15. Italians are known for their style and taste. Which will naturally be infused into your wedding and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.