Galaxy of stars to attend George Clooney's wedding
Not since the gilded barges of Venetian royalty swept down the Grand Canal will Venice have seen such a spectacle.
More than 150 Hollywood stars and other luminaries of the show business and arts worlds will be conveyed down one of the world's most famous waterways on Saturday for the wedding of George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin.
The guests, who are expected to include U2's Bono, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Matt Damon, Cindy Crawford, the opera tenor Andrea Bocelli and the singer Lana Del Rey, will be ferried from the Hotel Cipriano, on the island of Giudecca, to the Aman Resort on the Grand Canal, Venice's only seven-star hotel, where the wedding reception is expected to take place.
The marriage, which has been the subject of fevered speculation in the city for weeks, will present a security headache for the Venetian authorities.
The celebrities in their sleek motor launches will be escorted by police boats, while other craft, including gondolas, will be barred from lingering outside the Aman, which occupies a restored canal-front palace, the Palazzo Papadopoli.
That is to prevent the Grand Canal from being clogged with the hundreds of journalists, photographers and television crews who are expected to descend on Venice for the event.
The authorities know that to close the Grand Canal altogether would cause an uproar, but they can at least prevent boatloads full of photographers and curious tourists from bobbing up and down in front of the hotel.
The couple will be married by Walter Veltroni, a friend of 53-year-old Clooney and a former mayor of Rome, who has obtained a special license to perform the ceremony.
The Hollywood actor and director is expected to wear an Armani suit, while Ms Alamuddin, a high-flying human rights lawyer based in London, will wear an Alexander McQueen wedding dress designed by Sarah Burton, responsible for Kate Middleton's bridal gown.
Mr Clooney has lined up as his best man Rande Gerber, the husband of Cindy Crawford, while Ms Alamuddin's chief bridesmaid is expected to be her sister, Tala.