8 Party Venues Better Than The Sistine Chapel: Palaces, Museums, & More

February 16, 2023

Imagine having the Colosseum all to yourself or spending the night in the royal suite of an ancient castle. There are a myriad of incredible places to see in Italy – but what if you could have them all to yourself? What about hosting a concert in the Sistine Chapel? Recently, Pope Francis agreed to rent out the Sistine Chapel to Porsche for an exclusive Rome tour event.

At more than 4,000 euros per person, the itinerary for Porsche’s tour includes a concert in the famed Sistine Chapel for up to 40 guests, a rental fee that will go straight to charity. The event got us thinking – what other amazing locations in Italy are up for rent? We did a little research and came up with a list of perfect party locations.

Did you know that on our VIP Vatican Key Master’s Tour: Unlock the Sistine Chapel you get to have the Sistine Chapel all to yourself? On this once-in-a-lifetime experience, accompanied by an expert guide, you’ll unlock the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel as you enter with Key Master before dawn. And it doesn’t cost thousands!

La Scala in Milan

Photo by Lelli and Masotti

Put yourself in their shoes when you rent out La Scala’s production center. Photo by Lelli and Masotti

We don’t know about you, but we’d love to be hosts of a Christmas party in ultra-fashionable Milan’s ultra-famous Scala Theater. What could be classier? Rent out La Scala’s production center, the Ansaldo Workshops, where every piece that is featured on stage (scenery, costumes backdrop) is made. The world’s largest theater workshop, your guests can visit the spaces where the costume designers, set designers and the multitude of other artists come together to create La Scala performances. Though we’d probably spend the entire time trying to sing Christmas songs in opera-style acapella.

The Accademia, the Uffizi, Palazzo Pitti & Palazzo Vecchio, Florence

Photo by Alice Barigelli

Florence’s Piazza Della Repubblica is all dressed up for Christmas! Photo by Alice Barigelli

By filling out a special form and being approved by the Museum’s Official Superintendent, you can rent out most of the top museums in Florence under the Polo Museale Fiorentino organization including the Uffizi Gallery, the courtyard of Palazzo Pitti and the Sala del Perugino in Palazzo Vecchio. Check out the price list for each museum to see which is best for your Italian Christmas Party. Rent out the Boboli Gardens and string every tree and bush with Christmas lights. Or invite the chicest and famous to clink drinks under the serious gaze of David in the Accademia. Our vote, however, is for a private night in the Uffizi Gallery. Spend all of Christmas Eve in true “Night at the Museum” style and get front row views of some of the most priceless art in the world. No crowds, no lines, and no rush!

St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice

Get an insider's look into the beautiful Venetian Cathedral. Photo by Dimitry B

Get an insider’s look into the beautiful Venetian Cathedral. Photo by Dimitry B

While a church may not be the most obvious choice for a party, you could rent out the beautiful Basilica in Venice for your very own tour, photo op or Christmas day mass! Of course, if you’re willing to share with a few other people, you can join in on Walks of Italy’s special access private tour of St. Mark’s Basilica. Available twice a week in high season, the tour starts after hours, giving participants an exclusive look at the stunning basilica and time to truly appreciate the 43,000 square feet of mosaics – without the crowds and time limits!

The St. Regis Hotel in Rome

St. Regis Rome. Photo by Herry Lawford

Your very own luxury hotel – straight from the train and walking distance to top Rome sights. Photo by Herry Lawford

Called “Le Grand Hotel,” you’ll know you’re at the right place once you see the row of Ferrari’s lined up out front. Featured in The Talented Mr. Ripley as well as The English Patient, the opulent hotel on Via Vittorio E. Orlando 3 is filled with a curated collection of fine arts and antiques, a historic lift and Murano chandeliers. However, what attracts us most for our incredible Christmas party is the Ritz Ballroom. Feel like the belle of the ball, twirling under the ballroom’s magnificent chandeliers, among 450 of your closest friends. Afterward, choose from over 138 guest rooms or 23 suites for 8 hours of beauty rest. Sure you could simply pay to stay the night – but we want the entire hotel, Ballroom, spa, and Bentley driving experience in all!

The Royal Palace of Caserta

The Royal Palace gardens. Photo by Nicola

How about having this as your backyard? Photo by Nicola

Located north of Naples (and one of our favorite day trips from Naples) Caserta is Italy’s answer to Versaille. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is one of the largest palaces in Europe with 1,200 rooms, not to mention its XX acres of sprawling English-style gardens. This palace isn’t new to renters – it’s been rented out for various films, including Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Mission Impossible III and as the Vatican in Angels and Demons, the film adapted from Dan Brown’s bestselling novel. So why not rent out the palace for Christmas and be the king or queen of the ball? We’d hire the best D.J. to pump up the ballroom, taking the 18th-century palace into the 21st century. Later, choose the best room for yourself and enjoy the best sleep of your life.

While we’re not likely to rent out the Sistine Chapel for an intimate event, and we probably won’t be renting out an entire five-star hotel anytime soon, we can certainly dream! Maybe if we work really hard in 2015…

Which spot would you choose for your dream Christmas party? Mulled wine with Michelangelo or aperitivo at the sumptuous La Scala?

by Gina Mussio

View more by Gina ›

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