Guest Author - Lisa Shea
A romantic wedding in Italy... the stuff that dreams are made of! If you are planning on getting married in Italy, there are several legal hoops to jump through. The key to success, as always, is good research and preparation.
Always check with your embassy well in advance for up-to-date requirements. Many embassies recommend that you arrange your Italian wedding through a professional agency, but here are some guidelines if you choose to do-it-yourself.
Apply For a Marriage License
Appear at the Ufficiale di Stato Civile (Civil Registrar) of the locality where the marriage is to take place, accompanied by two witnesses, to file a declaration of intent to marry and all required documentation. Depending on the locality, you must file the declaration two to five days prior to the wedding.
Submit the following documents to the Ufficiale di Stato Civile (Civil Registrar) at the same time as the declaration of intent to marry:
- Birth certificates -- long form including names of parents
- Evidence of termination of all previous marriages -- certified (notarized by a lawyer or notary public) copies of final divorce decrees, annulment decrees or death certificates
- Affidavit of consent to the marriage from the parents or legal guardian of anyone under the age of 18
- Certificates of no impediment (see nationality-specific requirements below)
All documents issued outside of Italy must be accompanied by certified translations into Italian, affixed with an Apostille and authenticated by an Italian Consular Officer.
A woman may not remarry, without special authorization, until at least 300 days have passed since the dissolution of her previous marriage.
Certificates of No Impediment - U.S. Citizens
Two sworn affidavits are required from U.S. citizens.
1. An affidavit by the applicants, declaring that there are no impediments to their marriage under U.S. law. The affidavit must be sworn before a U.S. Consular Officer in Italy. Contact the U.S. Embassy for an appointment before departing the United States.
Parties must present the following documents to the U.S. Consular Officer:
- Proof of U.S. citizenship (birth certificate, passport or naturalization certificate)
- U.S. Armed Forces personnel must submit consent to the marriage from their Commanding Officer
2. An affidavit (Atto Notorio) by two witnesses, declaring that there are no impediments to the marriage under U.S. law. The affidavit must be sworn before either:
- An Italian Consular Officer outside Italy (recommended) or
- An authorized agency in Italy -- Pretura, mayor, local public registrar or notary
U.S. citizens planning a wedding in Italy are encouraged to obtain the Atto Notorio before leaving the United States in order to avoid problems locating two witnesses to perform this function.
Certificates of No Impediment - Citizens of Austria, Switzerland and Germany
A certificate of legal capacity to marry issued by the applicant’s local Register Office. This certificate need not be authenticated.
Certificates of No Impediment - Other Foreign Citizens
An authorization (Nihil Obstat) stating that there are no marriage impediments according to the laws of the applicant’s country.
If the authorization is issued by a competent authority of the applicant’s own country, it must be authenticated by the Italian Consul or Ambassador.
If the authorization is issued by the applicant’s Consular Authority in Italy, the Consul’s signature must be authenticated by the Prefettura (Ufficio Legalizzazioni):
- Florence: Via Giacomini 8, Second Floor, Firenze (9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.)
- Rome: Viale Ostiense 131L, Roma (9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.)
Authentication is not required for applicants from Austria, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Malta, Netherlands, Serbia and Montenegro, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland or United Kingdom.
Announce the Marriage
Traditionally, marriage announcements (banns) are posted at the local city hall for two consecutive Sundays prior to the date of the wedding. The posting of the banns is often waived when neither party is an Italian citizen or resident.
The ceremony may take place after the fourth day following the second Sunday of the posting or at any time after the posting is waived.
Civil ceremonies are performed in Register Offices (town halls) – often beautiful, historic buildings.
Religious ceremonies performed by Roman Catholic clergy do not require a separate civil ceremony. Reality check: it is becoming increasingly difficult to secure religious ceremonies for foreign citizens. Be prepared to spend time and money. The Catholic Church also requires baptismal and confirmation certificates.
Other religious ceremonies are not recognized by the Italian authorities. To ensure the legality of the marriage, a valid civil ceremony is required prior to the religious ceremony -- either in Italy or at home.
Getting Married in Florence
Weddings take place on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings. Two witnesses and an interpreter must be present.
Point of contact:
Ufficio Matrimoni, Palazzo Vecchio, Room 3, Mezzanine Floor, Firenze.
Monday to Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Getting Married in Rome
Weddings take place every day of the week. On Saturdays and Sundays, civil marriages also take place at the City Hall in Piazza del Campidoglio. Two witnesses and an interpreter must be present.
Point of contact:
Ufficio Matrimoni, Anagrafe, Via Petroselli, 50, Roma.
Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Getting Married in Vatican City (Holy See)
Contact the priest of Santa Susanna Church. Begin the process four to six months before the intended wedding date.
Newlywed (Sposi Novelli) tickets to the Pope’s Wednesday audiences can be requested in advance. If a couple appears wearing bridal attire, they are often escorted to receive a personal blessing from (and photo with) the Pope!