How to get married in Italy
With a choice of elegant hotels, romantic cities and idyllic coastal towns with stunning sea views, Italy is the perfect spot to say 'I do' – and the ideal destination for that long dreamt of wedding in Europe!
Italy offers a wide choice of stunning venues for your destination wedding, from the magical cities of Rome and Venice to the scenic beauty of the Amalfi Coast and Cinque Terre.
The legal requirements for getting married in Italy are fairly straightforward, but can vary slightly between region and city so it is recommended that you work through a certified wedding planner, and with a clergy member in the case of a religious ceremony. The process also differs slightly between nationalities.
Civil ceremonies may take place in locations that have been approved by the Italian authorities, including villas, castles, town halls, public gardens, etc. They are generally performed in Italian by the city / town mayor or a civil officer.
The only church ceremonies that can be performed legally in Italy without the requirement for a civil ceremony beforehand are Catholic Ceremonies.
If neither the bride nor the groom speaks Italian, you may require the services of a translator – if one of your guests is fluent, there's no requirement to hire an official translator.
Once you have decided on a wedding date, contact the Comune (Town Hall) of the Italian town where you intend to marry to check availability of dates and to double-check the required documents. You will need to make two appointments at the Town Hall, the first is to make a Declaration of the Intent to Marry before the Civil Registrar (Ufficiale dello Stato Civile) and the second appointment is for the actual civil marriage ceremony.
There is no official residency requirement for a civil ceremony in Italy, but foreign nationals from EU countries should allow two days to process the required documents, while those from non-EU countries should allow up to five working days.
Ensure that all documents are in your legal name, and provide affidavits in cases where you are known by another name.
All documents – originals or certified copies – must be translated into Italian and need to be certified with an Apostille stamp affixed. Contact the Italian embassy or consulate in your home country for an official translation, or your embassy in Italy. Note: the Apostille Stamp is not required for Australian citizens.Documents required for both the bride and the groom, include…
Additional requirements apply if one of the parties is an Italian citizen or resident of Italy.
The Nulla Osta (Sworn Declaration) must be signed, whether you are single, divorced or widowed, in the presence of an embassy or Consular officer at your local embassy in Italy. Generally, you need to call ahead to make an appointment and be prepared to show original documents, where applicable, of your original divorce certificate or the death certificate of your late spouse. The Nulla Osta is valid for six months.
Note: Nulla Ostas sworn outside of Italy and Certificates of No Impediment are not valid for use in Italy.
The Atto Notorio – basically an official declaration that states you are who you say you are – should be obtained from the Italian embassy or nearest Italian consulate where you reside before leaving your home country.
If you are unable to obtain the Atto Notorio from an Italian consulate in your home country, you may obtain one from a Tribunale Civile (Civil Court) in Italy or from the civil registrar (ufficiale di stato civile) of the marriage office of the city where you plan to get married.
If you are requesting the Atto Notorio from the Tribunale Civile, you must attend in person together with two adult witnesses. If either spouse or one of the witnesses does not speak Italian, it is necessary to provide an interpreter, in addition to the two witnesses.
Note: an Apostille is a unique stamp that is attached to an official document, usually by a local embassy, Court or Government Department, that certifies the authenticity of that document.
Once you have obtained the Nulla Osta, it will have to be legalised by the Uffico Legalizzazioni of the Prefettura. You may take the document to any Prefettura office in Italy. (The Prefettura in Rome is: Viale Ostiense, 131L, 2nd floor, Scala B, Rome - open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 9:00am-11.30am.)
Before going to the Prefettura (the provincial Italian Government Agency), you will need to purchase a revenue stamp (marca da bollo) which costs EUR 16 at a tobacconist (tabaccaio). This stamp will be applied to your Nulla Osta by the Prefettura official who performs the certification.
Please contact the marriage office of the city were you intend to marry in order to obtain more detailed information on marriage requirements (including the list of documents that you need to present) for foreign citizens wishing to marry in Italy.
After receiving the Atto Notorio and Nulla Osta you may take them to the Ufficio Matrimoni, or Marriage Office, in the Italian city where you plan to marry. (The Marriage Office in Rome is: Via Petroselli, 50, Rome (tel: 06-6710-3066). The office is open from Monday to Friday, 8:30am - 4:00 pm.)
At this time, you will be given an appointment to lodge your Declaration of Intent to Marry, usually two days before the wedding, and another for the actual marriage ceremony. These appointments may fall on the same day. It is customary to pay a fee for the rental of the marriage hall, and this may vary according to where you are getting married.
You may apply for a marriage certificate (certificato di matrimonio) shortly before the wedding ceremony; you will receive it immediately after the ceremony. If required, ask to have an Apostille affixed to the Italian Marriage certificate by the Italian authorities at the Prefettura of the city where you get married, so that it may legally valid once you return to your home country.
Please keep in mind that during the peak marriage season (May to September), it could be difficult to get an appointment for the marriage celebrant and to apply for the Apostille.
If one of the parties marrying is Italian or with Italian residency, the Italian authorities may require that Banns (pubblicazione di matrimonio) be posted for at least two weeks before the date of the marriage. Please contact the marriage office of the city where you intend to marry in order to obtain more detailed information regarding this requirement.
Proof of a civil marriage is required before you can celebrate in a church.
Some faiths may require additional documents for a church service. Couples are advised to contact their respective clergy as early as possible to determine what is required for their particular religion.
The only church ceremonies that can be performed legally in Italy without the requirement for a civil ceremony beforehand are Catholic Ceremonies, but you are still required to submit all the required documents for a civil service.
Couples of the Roman Catholic faith should allow six months before the wedding date in order to process all the necessary paperwork (certificates of baptism, dispensations, statements of freedom to marry, etc.).
Paperwork needs to be completed at home, usually through the bride's parish. Documents should reach the church you wish to be married in at least two months before the wedding date.
Typically, the wedding ceremony of a Roman Catholic must take place in a church rather than in a resort or on a beach.
European Union citizens (except the United Kingdom and Ireland) may need to have their Marriage Certificate apostilled (or authenticated).
This does not apply to citizens of United States, Canada, Australia or New Zealand. Citizens of Asian countries, South and Central America should check with their Civil Registrar/Marriage Officer as to whether an Apostille is required for your country.
A special stamp (Apostille) is required to validate the marriage certificate obtained after the civil ceremony for certain nationalities. Your wedding planner can assist you in obtaining the Apostille, if required.
Payment at the Tribunale Civile (Atto Notorio) is made in the form of revenue stamps which you purchase in advance.
• Atto Notorio (urgent same-day certificate) – EUR 50.60
• Atto Notorio (non-urgent certificate) – EUR 38.20
• Nulla Osta – EUR 45 (at embassy)
• Nulla Osta – EUR 16 (for legalisation, payment by stamp).
Major hotels in Italy can often provide wedding planners who can insure that the entire process of getting married in Italy, including fulfilling all legal requirements, is stress free.
Or you may wish to check out wedding planners at Just Get Married – an excellent resource to getting married in Italy.
For more information on getting an Apostille Certificate (Australian citizens) for Australian public documents, visit Apostille Australia Certicifate Service. When affixed or attached with an Apostille Certificate, the documents will automatically be accepted for legal use in foreign countries that are signatories to the Hague Convention, including Italy.
Latest update How to get married in Italy: 25 June, 2018