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Niccolo Machiavelli's Tuscan home, where Peter Levinson's daughter was married.

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OKC to Rolling Tuscany Hills

Machiavelli's villa provides lovely setting for grand wedding

Article by Peter Levinson

Photography by Peter Levinson and Facibeni Fotografia

Originally published in OKC City Lifestyle

From my backyard wedding in Oklahoma City almost 31 years ago, we now fast forward to my daughter's backyard wedding in Niccolo Machiavelli's Tuscan home.

My wife and I met in high school, and before our high school graduation, we had our first daughter. Three weeks after our graduation, we were married.

Our daughter was 1 at the time and was a flower girl at our wedding. At the time, I thought nothing of it. It seemed natural for two 17-year-olds to get married after high school with their kid in the wedding in a family member's backyard. 

Let me take you further if you've read it this far. We received the wedding video a couple of weeks after my daughter's wedding. As my wife and I watched it, I remarked to her, "We were there." It seemed unbelievable. How could we, two people who met at 15, give this incredible gift to our daughter?

As parents, one of our roles is to lift our kids to a higher place than ourselves. To give them more of a foundation to rise from than where we, as parents, had.

Another role is to raise our children in a way to make the world a better place and go further than we, as parents, have gone.

My wedding was everything it was supposed to be. At age 46, I have spent more than half my life on earth with this person.

My daughters watched us rise from living in a trailer park, when I served in the Marines, to where we live now. More than financial success, I hope my kids have learned it's never where you start; it's where you are going. 

We taught our kids to be givers by giving to them. Not in a spoiling way but to show them that working hard and being generous does not keep one from being financially "safe."

This article is coming out during Christmas holidays, and a story that annoyed me in my 20s will soon begin playing on TV: A Christmas Carol.

I used to want to be Scrooge. You know, be a jerk for most of your life so I could be super rich, then be nice the last years after you've earned your millions. But then, what type of parent would I be? What kind of people would my kids be when they grow up? 

At my daughter's wedding in Italy, surrounded by family and friends, everyone gathered to see her marry a fantastic man. I realized no other accomplishment mattered more than this moment, to be able to provide her with the wedding of her dreams.

Soon, I plan to tell the tale of my younger daughter's wedding in 2015 and the life lessons I learned then. But first, let me reiterate that the backyard where my daughter's wedding took place once belonged to Niccolo Machiavelli, author of The Prince.

As a retired Italian politician, Machiavelli wrote that book to the new ruler of Florence on how to be a good ruler to the Italian people. The book's theme is that the greatest gift you will ever give in life is what you give of yourself to your kids and the type of people they will be in the world. If you still need to read it, you should! 

If you have the opportunity to travel to Florence, visit Villa Machiavelli. This family home is a piece of history, believed to be designed by Michelangelo in the 15th century. nestled among Tuscany's rolling hills, surrounded by vineyards and expansive English-style gardens, and full of unforgettable experiences. 

  • Niccolo Machiavelli's Tuscan home, where Peter Levinson's daughter was married.
  • Wedding day.
  • Peter and Tara Levinson, with daughter Tiara, on their wedding day in the early '90s.
  • The grounds of Machiavelli's Tuscan villa were spectacular!
  • Aerial view of Villa Machiavelli
  • Another aerial view of Villa Machiavelli
  • The wedding party.

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