Italy Weddings – How To Get Legally Married in Italy
12 October, 2012
Italy offers its visitors art, culture, history, fine wine, amazing food, beautiful countryside, spectacular coastlines and ancient villages. An enviable checklist for any potential wedding destination, and little wonder that Italy weddings are among the most popular choice for destination wedding couples worldwide. Its people are warm and welcoming, and there is an endless choice of wedding locations; villas, castles, palaces, vineyards, lakes, historic monuments or elegant hotels to name a few. If France is considered the destination for love, then surely Italy is the perfect location for marriage, with some of the most foreigner-friendly marriage laws in Europe.
Italy Travel Facts
Language – Italian. English is widely understood in most large tourist areas, however far less so in rural areas.
Currency – The Euro. Tipping is not required.
Religions – Catholics are by far the largest religious group in Italy, comprising almost 90% of the population.
Getting to Your Destination Wedding in Italy
Most international visitors to Italy will arrive via air, and the country is well serviced with airports in many regional areas as well as the main cities. The main international airports are Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci (FCO), better known as Fiumicino, and Milan’s Malpensa (MPX). Many of the budget airlines also fly from various hubs in Europe direct to Venice (VCE), Florence (FLR), Pisa (PSA), Bologna (BLQ), Perugia (PEG), Genoa (GOA), Naples (NAP) and Palermo (PMO). It is also possible to enter Italy via train from within Europe, with regular services operating from many larger European cities.
Citizens of the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, Israel, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand do not require a visa to enter Italy, provided that they do not intend to stay longer than 90 days or work during their stay.
Italy is also party to the Schengen Convention, an agreement between 25 European countries to abolish internal border controls between Schengen countries. Citizens of countries who are required to obtain a visa before entering Europe should apply for a Schengen visa, which allows free travel between all 25 Schengen countries for a period of up to 90 days.
Weather & Seasons in Italy
The weather in Italy varies considerably from alpine conditions in the north, through to a Mediterranean climate in the south. Generally speaking, May to September are the warmest months, with temperatures peaking in July and August. Spring (April to June) and early Autumn/Fall (September and October) are ideal times to visit, with more moderate temperate and bearable crowds. Winters can be very cold, particularly in the north with the Alps experiencing snow from around November to March. The south of Italy has much milder winters, and long, hot and dry summers.
There are no specific immunisations recommended for travel to Italy.
Italy Weddings – Getting Legally Married in Italy
The process of planning a legal marriage in Italy actually varies quite considerably depending upon the couple’s nationality. The requirements also vary from region to region within Italy as, although there are common Italian marriage laws, each region or town interprets these differently. Unlike many other European countries however, there are no residency or minimum stay requirements.
Generally speaking, civil ceremonies must take place at the local town hall, and ceremonies held outdoors or in castles or villas are not legally recognised. There are a few regions in Italy that do allow civil ceremonies in certain venues outside of the town hall however, and the list seems to be growing slowly. Catholic wedding ceremonies must always take place in a Catholic church.
The documentation required to marry in Italy is basically the same for all nationalities, however the process of applying and the names of the various documents will vary for each individual Embassy.
The basic documentation to get married in Italy;
- 1) A current Passport
- 2) Birth Certificate
- 3) Evidence of termination of any prior marriages, i.e. Divorce or Death Certificate. In addition, Italian law states that at least 300 days must pass before a woman can remarry after divorce.
- 4) Certificate of No Impediment/Atto Notorio – This document has many different names, and the process of applying will depend upon the country issuing it. In the US and Australia, it is referred to as an Atto Notorio, and couples are required to apply in person at their local Italian Embassy with up to 4 witnesses each (generally only 2 for Australians). Other countries have various names for the document including; Certificate of No Impediment, Extract of the Population Register or Certificate of Freedom to Marry. Couples should contact their local Italian Embassy to determine the process of applying for this document. In some cases, the document will also need to have an Apostille affixed (an international certification similar to a notarisation), and may need to be translated into Italian. Your Embassy will advise if this is required.
- 5) Nulla Osta – This is a document issued by your Embassy confirming your freedom to marry. Again, the process of obtaining it will vary by country, however you will usually require a Certificate of No Impediment/Atto Notorio in order to apply. Citizens of some countries must apply in person at their Embassy once they arrive in Italy, however most can arrange to have the documents issued by post, or collected if you have a local wedding coordinator.
Civil Wedding Ceremonies in Italy
Couples must make an appointment with the Ufficio Matrimoni (Marriage Office) in the town or city where they intend to marry in order to make a Promessa di Matrimonio (Declaration of Intent to Marry), along with a second appointment for the civil wedding ceremony. You will be required to appear in person with two witnesses, and to present original copies of the paperwork listed above. A translator will also be required if you do not speak Italian.
Once the declaration has been made, it is usually necessary for the Banns (Marriage Announcement) to be posted at the town hall for two consecutive Sundays before the marriage can take place. This requirement is waived however, if neither party is Italian or residing in Italy.
A civil wedding ceremony can then take place (generally at the town hall), and in the event that the Banns have been waived, it is possible for the appointments for the declaration and for the wedding ceremony to take place on the same day. Immediately after the civil ceremony, a Certificato di Matrimonio (Marriage Certificate) will be issued, certifying that the marriage is legal.
Catholic Wedding Ceremonies in Italy
Couples must follow the process above in order to make a Promessa di Matrimonio (Declaration of Intent to Marry), including appearing in person along with two witnesses, their original paperwork and a translator. Once the declaration has been made and the Banns waived (or posted, in the event that either party is Italian or residing in Italy), a Catholic wedding ceremony can take place in the Catholic church of your choice. It is not necessary to have a civil service in addition to a Catholic wedding ceremony, as the Priest will register the marriage on your behalf.
Couples planning a Catholic ceremony should speak to the local Priest well in advance to determine any additional requirements for marriage in the Catholic church. These may include; Baptism Certificates, Certificates of Confirmation, Religious Letters of Freedom, or proof of premarital counselling.
Popular Wedding Destinations in Italy
With some of the most stunning scenery on earth, it’s no wonder this is often the first region in Italy that couples consider for a destination wedding. The beautiful towns of Florence, Siena, San Gimignano, Cortona and the Chianti region offer art, history, rolling hills, sprawling vineyards, romantic villas, ancient towns . . . . . need we say more???
Amalfi Coast Weddings
Ravello, Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi … all stunning locations overlooking the sparkling Mediterranean sea.
Venice and the Veneto Weddings
What could be more romantic that a gondola ride down one of Venice’s many canals, cruising beneath the Rialto bridge, sipping espresso in Piazza San Marco or wandering its narrow laneways after dark? Verona perhaps, with its cobbled streets, ancient arena and its shrine to the greatest lovers of all, Romeo & Juliet.
Italian Riviera Weddings
Encompassing the glamour and elegance of Portofino, the ritzy seaside village with its picturesque harbour home to many a luxurious boat, along with the spectacular coastline of the Cinque Terre overlooking impossibly blue water for as far as the eye can see.
Another glamorous location, the lake district includes the stunning destinations of Lake Como, Lake Garda and Lake Orta, with their panoramic views of the surrounding alpine mountains and opulent villas perched on the water’s edge. Why not arrive at your elegant reception ‘James Bond’ style, via boat??
With some of the most iconic and romantic monuments in the world, the eternal city is rich with art, architecture, history . . . and no shortage of churches! Imagine the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, the Colosseum or the Pantheon as the backdrops to your wedding photos.