Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are to wed and host a reception at Florence's imposing 16th-century Belvedere Fort on May 24, a spokeswoman at the Florence mayor's office has revealed.
The couple rented the fort, located next to Florence's famed Boboli Gardens, for 300,000 euros (NZ$476,000) and a Protestant minister will preside over the ceremony, spokeswoman Elisa Di Lupo said.
Belvedere Fort was built in 1590, believed using plans by Don Giovanni de' Medici. Located near the Arno River, it offers a panoramic view of Florence and the surrounding Tuscan hills.
The 36-year-old rapper proposed to the reality star on her 33rd birthday in October 2013, renting out San Francisco's AT&T Park for the occasion.
This is the first marriage for West, who was previously engaged to designer Alexis Phifer. It's the third trip down the aisle for Kardashian. She was wed to music producer Damon Thomas from 2000 to 2003, and spent 72 days married to professional basketball player Kris Humphries in 2011 after tying the knot in in a lavish ceremony broadcast as a two-part TV special.
The couple was featured on the cover of Vogue magazine's April issue, with Kardashian wearing a wedding-style dress.
There has been no explicit confirmation from either Kardashian or West about the wedding. In an email yesterday to AP, Kardashian representative Ina Treciokas said she wasn't able to comment on reports about the nuptials.
But in an interview with Florence's La Nazione newspaper published overnight (NZ time), West extolled the beauty of Florence and spoke of the event. Asked if he was excited about May 24, he said, "Very excited. But very happy."
West said he and Kardashian had come to Florence incognito and believed that their daughter, North, born in June 2013, was conceived "among the Renaissance masterpieces."
"It was our first honeymoon," he said of that visit. "It's one of the most beautiful cities of the world, for me the most beautiful in Europe."
He spoke to the newspaper while in Florence to visit friend and designer Ermanno Scervino.
The fort is owned by the Italian government but operated by Florence authorities. It has been closed to the public for the past five years for security upgrades after two young Italians fell to their deaths from its ramparts and was to reopen this summer with an art exhibit.
Di Lupo said she believed the contract to rent the fort had been signed very recently. She said the proceeds from the rental would go to fund restorations for Florence's artistic treasures.
However, it has been reported that some locals are unhappy about the couple taking over some of their most beautiful monuments.
Local opposition candidates for mayor in an election later this month are up in arms over the move.
Passions were further inflamed by the renting-out of the Cappellone degli Spagnoli, a chapel with 14th century frescoes in the Santa Maria Novella Basilica complex for a dinner for JP Morgan bank for 20,000 euros.
Right-wing candidate Achille Totaro said these amounted to "a sell-off of Florence's monuments", while the anti-establishment Five Star Movement's Miriam Amato called for "greater respect for our city's treasures".
But Deputy Mayor Dario Nardella, who is also running for election, said: "We are respecting all the rules."
"If hosting events like private business dinners is good for finding resources for our community and for our cultural heritage then I think it is right," he said.
Kardashian is reportedly terrified an air traffic control strike will ruin the event.
RadarOnline reports the ceremony could be ''wrecked'' by striking air traffic controllers in France, potentially affecting all in and outgoing flights for their guests.
''Kim and Kanye have been told their private planes full of guests get last priority in and out of Charles De Gaulle and Orly airports,'' a source told the outlet.
Apparently the couple had planned to have a rehearsal dinner in Paris before jetting guests to Florence for the ceremony.
Now Kim is said to be having a ''major panic attack'' about a potential change of plans.
''They are now looking into renting rail cars to get guests to Florence from Paris,'' the insider said. ''They do have a site in Paris also available to hold the wedding,'' adding that the ceremony may be held in the Palace of Versailles.
''Kim is very stressed out about it and can’t understand why private air travel is being impacted,'' the source told Radar, adding that Kim has expressed that her ''wedding feels jinxed''.
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