Who better to tell the insider story of Villa d’Este than Jean Salvadore, author of My Dolce Vita (published this month by Gliterrati)? As PR director of the legendary palace on Lake Como, she entertained (not to mention acted as security chief and babysitter for) everyone from Queen Elizabeth to Madonna—and then there was the Tom Cruise–Katie Holmes (almost) wedding:
We received a request for a wedding at Villa d’Este for Tom Cruise and his bride-to-be, Katie Holmes. I remember coming through the bar one evening and seeing a lovely young woman, whom I must admit I did not recognize, sitting at the bar. I asked Ilio, our barman who knows everybody, and everybody knows Ilio, who she was. It was Katie Holmes sans Tom Cruise, who would join her later. They were quite serious about having their wedding at Villa d’Este, because Katie really had “cased the joint.” But it would not, alas, work out, as they wanted to take over the entire hotel. As taken as she was with Villa d’Este, reserving the entire hotel is always impossible; we are almost never in a position to allow that because we are always “under siege” by our regular guests and visitors. Eventually I read in the papers that Katie and Tom had a wedding at the Castello di Bracciano near Rome and caused near riots in the streets when they did.