Destination Wedding Photographer Florence » Stefano Santucci | Wedding Photography Italy + Worldwide

San Pietro in Valle Ferentillo, Umbria: A Love Story

As destination wedding photographers, we see thousands, literally, of variations on love and weddings and celebrations. Each one is particular, each one is beautiful. And each one has its own special – often funny, often touching, always inspiring – story.

We love Georgie’s and Tim’s how-we-met, how-we-fell-in-love story, and we thought we would share it before we get to the tale of their magnificent destination wedding day in Italy, at Abbazia San Pietro in Valle, Ferentillo, Umbria. We call this story “Einstein, Mongolia and Two Best Friends”. It will make sense, we promise.

Georgie, whose real name is Georgina but who embodies all of the fun and the spirit of the shorter, sportier Georgie, told us, “We met on the first day of university. Tim was the second fresher I met. We were best friends for five years before we finally got together. Back in 2011, we decided to take a big adventure: still best friends, nothing more, we would do the Mongol Rally. The Mongol Rally is a car race where you drive from the U to Mongolia!”

For their journey, these two completely original spirits chose a 10-year old Nissan Micra. Georgie says the 9,000-mile trip took just over five weeks to complete and, during that time, she confesses, “It was just the two of us and we spent half our time arguing!” Still, somewhere along the stretch of road, feelings emerged. As that small Micra motored its way across Germany, Austria, Romania, Greece, into Turkey, up into Kazakhstan, down into Kyrgyzstan and then up and over into the end point of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Georgie’s and Tim’s stories began to intersect and align in special ways.

Still, says Georgie, it took several months after returning to London before either of them dared to use the L-word. “It took a few months until Tim finally plucked up the courage to say it! After the Rally, we knew we could get through anything together. I mean, we drove to Ulaanbaatar, for heaven’s sake! We were such good friends that we knew that any relationship we might have would have to be serious.”

Georgie and Tim later discovered that everyone who knew them suspected these two fun-loving, generous, playful and loving people would end up together. Best friends in the truest sense of the term.

From that point forward, there was no more cautiousness, no more shyness. When Tim proposed, in Prague – a city with special meaning to both he and Georgie, because it was one of their stopping points during the Mongol Rally – he gave Georgie envelopes filled with mementoes from key times in their relationship: the train ticket to the party where they enjoyed their first kiss, the menu from the restaurant where they had their first date, and, of course, a photo from the Rally when they stopped in Prague.

For their wedding, Georgie and Tim chose Abbazia San Pietro in Valle, Ferentillo, Umbria. This is the true heart of the Umbrian countryside, and is often called the Green Heart of Italy. Dating back to the 8th Century, the Abbazia San Pietro is a carefully restored Benedictine abbey, complete with magnificent frescoes and stunning gardens. It is a world unto itself – far, far from the madding crowd.

The frescoes. Those frescoes deserve some special mention because their beauty was very much part of the day. Over the last 13 centuries, even the thick walls of the Abbazia have experienced the ravages of time. The frescoes have worn away in spots, leaving incomplete but somehow more mysterious, more romantic half-visions of angels, saints and purity. The effect is mesmerizing. As photographers, we are fortunate to do our work in some beautiful places. The Abbazia San Pietro was definitely an experience for us. There was reverence in such a space. And a lightness, too. A sense that time had stopped for Georgie and for Tim on their special day, and that the beauty of the art and the grace of the old walls would forever be theirs. The coolness afforded by those old walls sheltered the wedding guests from the heat.

There was a perfection to this wedding. It came from the feeling that two kind and beautiful friends had found one another, somewhere on the long, long stretch of miles linking London and Ulaanbaatar.

Georgie’s and Tim’s wedding invitation spoke to this sense of journey and this sense of discovery. This sense of the universe conspiring to bring these two together. For on the invitation itself was a quote from Albert Einstein: “Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love. How on earth can you explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love? Put your hand on a stove for a minute and it seems like an hour. Sit with that special girl for an hour and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.”

Who are we to argue with gravity and physics?

The photos speak for themselves, we believe. They speak to fun, to love, to family, to art, to life. The only thing missing, really, was the Nissan Micra. But that, we know, will remain forever in Georgie’s and Tim’s hearts.