23 APRIL 2009

Newlyweds Salma Hayek and Francois-Henri Pinault have reportedly invited their nearest and dearest to share three days of festivities in celebration of their recent union, at the stately Venetian palace where their mutual attraction first sparked.

The festivities will be held at the billionaire businessman's magnificent Palazzo Grassi, which he bought in 2006 and where he threw the party which was to change his life.

It was there he encountered and began romancing Salma, going on to tie the knot with her at a civil service in Paris on Valentine's Day earlier this year.

Among those set to wish the happy couple well is Penelope Cruz, a close friend of Salma since they teamed up on 2006 Western Bandidas, American actress Ashley Judd and Prince.

The American singer has organised an especially original wedding gift for the newlyweds. He recently penned the tune Valentina in honour of their 18–month-old daughter Valentina Paloma.

While the 42-year-old Mexican beauty recently rejected suggestions she was planning a lavish bash – "Spending millions of dollars on a wedding is ridiculous" - the surroundings are rather plush.

Built between 1748 and 1772 for a rich Bolognese family, the palace is an imposing marble edifice overlooking the Grand Canal. The patrician residence houses a collection of contemporary art, including pieces by Pablo Picasso and Joan Miro.

On Friday guests of the new Madame and Monsieur Pinault will enjoy a welcome reception followed by the main party the next day and a farewell brunch on Sunday.

Photo: Rex
Three years after they first set eyes on each other at the Palazzo Grassi, the Mexican beauty and her new husband Francois-Henri Pinault have had the romantic idea of returning there to celebrate their recent union
The stately palace overlooking the Grand Canal was built in the 18th century for a rich Bolognese family and has been owned by the billionaire Frenchman since 2006
Photo: Getty Images
Penlope Cruz, seen here with Salma at the Vicky Cristina Barcelona in Los Angeles, will be among the guests