Hidden in the Saratoga hills and standing silently is a magnificent Mediterranean-style mansion surrounded by 175 acres of beautiful estate gardens – Villa Montalvo. Now a center for literary and performing arts, Montalvo is the legacy of former Senator James Phelan (1861-1930) as a public park and home for art, literature, and music in the Bay Area.
The Villa has the Spanish cotta-tile roof, graceful terraces, and a wide open veranda overseeing expansive crispy-green lawns. On the other end of the lawns, a classical gate opens to a long pathway leading to a pavilion with Greek white columns – Love Temple. Along the pathway are terrains of tall pine trees and prismatic gardens on both sides.
When I first visited it three years ago, I immediately understood why Villa Montalvo is a place sought after by the couples who want to tie their vows. I can’t imagine a better place for a beautiful, romantic and joyful wedding.
My favorite spot is the Oval Garden located right behind the Villa. It has a rose garden setting with charming wisteria-covered pergolas and Roman statues. The surroundings offer an ideal place for ceremony. With enchanting music in the background, guests can mingle in the courtyard or on the patios, enjoying splendid views of the estate’s lawns and gardens while sipping champagne and sampling hors d’oeuvres.
In addition to its natural beauty, Villa Montalvo has become a center for creativity, offering art courses, performing arts events, gallery exhibitions, and artist residencies. Every year, Montalvo and its arts programs serve nearly 200,000 visitors from around the world. “Montalvo,” as it is said,” in its silence and beauty, will become one of the creative forces of the world.”
To many people, Villa Montalvo is a place of art, beauty, tranquility and majesty. To me, it is a place of special memory in my heart.
– A tribute in remembrance of our wedding at Villa Montalvo and in celebration of our togetherness for three blissful years.