Snugly seated in a wooden-decked speedboat, George Clooney and his bride travel the 80ft across the Grand Canal from Venice’s 13th Century city hall to the magnificent Renaissance palace that will host the reception for the most hotly awaited wedding of the year.
As they glide over the emerald waters, the film star and his new wife, British lawyer Amal Alamuddin, are flanked by a procession of decorated gondolas, while onlookers line the nearby Rialto Bridge.
This is the scene that Venetians anticipate for the actor’s forthcoming wedding, after he reportedly let slip last week that the city would be the setting.
Now the local press are reporting that the ceremony is scheduled to take place on September 27 with guests arriving the day before.
According to the newspaper Il Gazzettino, Clooney, 53, has rented out two luxury hotels for the event.
The 24-room, seven-star Aman Canal Grande in the Palazzo Papadopoli is the favoured setting for the reception, if the legal ceremony takes place in the former Doge’s Palace Ca’ Farsetti.
Built in 1550, this luxurious canal-front palazzo had one of the first elevators, electric-powered chandeliers, and phone systems in Venice.
The star is also said to have taken over the five-star 79-room Hotel Cipriani – reached only by private motor launch and a favourite of Princess Diana’s – reports Il Gazzettino.
The 15th century palazzo is located on the leafy Giudecca Island with impressive views of the Venetian Lagoon.
Celebs like Al Pacino, Jude Law, Uma Thurman, and Owen Wilson have visited the Cipriani, which boasts an opulent décor featuring silk brocade furnishings, frescoed ceilings, and murals.
A spokesman for the town council said: 'Mr Clooney does not need to have marriage banns published as he is not an Italian or Venetian resident.'
He added: 'We will not say when he is getting married or if he is getting married here.'
Both hotels were fully booked from September 25 to 29 when The Mail on Sunday tried to book rooms. Both hotels are said to have been bound by a strict confidentiality agreement.
Opened only last year, the Aman Canal Grande hotel offers rooms ranging in price from £1,000 to £3,200 a night and has some of the best views of the city.
A source in Los Angeles said: 'The invitations didn't give the location. They just said to be at a private airfield where a chartered jet will be waiting to fly everyone to the venue.'
A spokesman for Clooney failed to return requests for comment, but earlier this week publicist Stan Rosenfield confirmed to a news agency the wedding would be held in Venice. He gave no date.
© Associated Newspapers Ltd.