The main thing missing from the much-rumored wedding between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie was the bride and groom.
Still, officials held out hope that the couple would show up this weekend to tie the knot in this Lake Como retreat, a favorite getaway for the rich and famous.
Cernobbio Mayor Simona Saladini said she was told Saturday to remain on standby for possible official functions into the evening.
Saladini also said police in the area were placed on alert and a private firm had increased security around a villa owned by George Clooney — a friend of the Hollywood couple.
Speculation about an impending wedding at the lake was rife last year, but quickly fizzled after Clooney denied his friends were scheduled to marry at his villa. It resurfaced this week, with Saturday mentioned as a possible date.
Jolie — who starred with Pitt in the 2005 film “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” — is expecting his child this summer. Pitt and Jennifer Aniston divorced last fall. Publicists for Clooney and Pitt have declined to comment on the wedding rumors.
“I have been mayor since 2003 and they would be the most famous couple” to be married here, Saladini told The Associated Press as she had her hair done Saturday morning.
Saladini performed at least one wedding Saturday, the marriage of an older couple at city hall.
But by evening, with no wedding in view, the mayor and other town officials were calling it a very long day.
“We are at the end of our rope,” said Giuseppe Salvioni, a spokesman for the town, referring to himself and the mayor. “Let’s say we are packing it in” and heading home.
Residents seized the opportunity to have some fun with the journalists who descended on this romantic lakeside tourist town.
Two men created a stir by dressing up as the famous couple, calling each other “Brad” and “Angelina” and kissing passionately on the main drag near the lake.
A Clooney lookalike also was on hand, displaying a photo in his wallet of himself posing with the star.
“They were talking about it (on the news) this morning, so I came to take a look,” said Giuseppe Gregorio, who said he stood in for Clooney for lighting tests during the filming of “Ocean’s 12” in nearby Villa Erba.
That neoclassical villa, which had been home to the late Italian aristocrat and movie director Luchino Visconti and is now owned by the town and provincial governments, had been mentioned as a possible site for the wedding.
The mayor’s spokesman happily gave journalists a tour of the estate, but no evidence of pending nuptials could be detected. The only action under way was the installation of a new bathroom.
In the nearby town of Laglio, where Clooney keeps his Villa Oleandra, Mayor Giuseppe Mantero played down the rumors, saying construction projects on the estate made any wedding there virtually impossible.
Another possible location for the wedding was Cernobbio’s famous luxury resort, Villa D’Este, which often hosts stars and international conventions. But all was quiet there Saturday and officials repeated previous claims they knew nothing of a possible wedding.
Meanwhile, photographers camped out in Paris in front of an apartment where Jolie has stayed in the past, convinced she was in the French capital. There was no word about Pitt’s whereabouts.
In Cernobbio, hotels and restaurants welcomed the attention.
“I doubled the number of clients this week,” said Pietro Sacchi, owner of Cernobbio’s Harry’s Bar — reported to be one of Clooney’s favorite spots.