It is widely known that Italy is one of the most romantic places in the world. So it comes as no surprise that many couples choose Italy as their wedding destination. With a church on practically every corner, engaged couples have many choices. Rome alone is home to 900 churches. Not all of these are available for weddings to everyone. Some are designated only for Italian residents, and others are only for Catholic ceremonies. Weddings take place somewhere in Italy, every day of the week, and sometimes there are two weddings in the same church on the same day. Some of the most popular churches for weddings are in Florence, Positano, Ravello, Monreale, Bologna, Savoca and of course, Rome.
I have had the pleasure of being in the right place at the right time to witness the excitement of an Italian church wedding. Although weddings are celebrated in hundreds, if not thousands of churches in Italy, certain churches are popular because of their beauty and history:
In Florence, the Basilica di San Miniato al Monte. Its location at one of the highest points in Florence makes this church particularly attractive as a wedding backdrop. Its marble faÃ§ade and interior mosaics create a beautiful setting for a wedding in Italy. Not only was this basilica featured in the filming of Brian de Palma's 1976 film Obsession, but it was also the location for the 2012 wedding of Dutch Princess Carolina to businessman Albert Brenninkmeijer.
Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta in Positano. Also on the Amalfi Coast, this well-known cathedral near the beach in Positano is a popular destination for Italian church weddings. Its beautiful white and gold interior is a natural setting for a beautiful church wedding.
Ravello Cathedral or the Duomo of Ravello on the Amalfi Coast, in Ravello. One of the most popular churches for weddings, the Duomo of Ravello is the most famous because of its ambience and elaborate gold mosaics and beautiful sculptures. This 11th-century cathedral has a capacity for 200 guests, and provides the perfect setting for a Catholic or non-Catholic ceremony.
The Cathedral of Monreale in Sicily. This Norman cathedral is so popular for weddings that oftentimes two weddings take place on the same day. Its stunning mosaics envelop over 68,000 square-feet and consume almost 5,000 pounds of gold. I was fortunate enough to be there just before a wedding was to take place. The piazza was filled with wedding guests dressed according to "la bella figura," and I found myself swept up in emotion as I witnessed the beautiful bride, arm-in-arm with her father, walking down the long aisle.
Chiesa di San Martino in Bologna. Micol Scondotto, a wedding planner from Bologna, recommends Chiesa di San Martino, the historic church in the center of Bologna. Filled with paintings and art from the Renaissance period, this church is a perfect wedding venue. She adds that not all of the churches in Bologna are available for weddings to non-residents. For more information check Micol's website, http://www.myspecialeventinitaly.com/.
Chiesa Madre in Savoca, Sicily. The small hilltop town of Savoca in the Messina region of Italy is known as a filming location for the academy award-winning film, The Godfather. Its main church, the 15th century Chiesa Madre, is a popular venue for weddings, as I was told by the local priest on a recent visit there. He explained that weddings occur any day of the week, not just Saturdays. I loved the gorgeous floral displays of white anthurium outside, and the inside was beautiful with the frescoed ceiling and glass chandelier.
In Rome, the most popular churches for weddings are Saint Peter and Paul Basilica, the Church of Saint Mary in Cosmedin, the Church of Saint Mary in Campitelli, the Church of Saint Francesca Romana, the Church of Saint George in Velabro, the Church of Nereo and Achilles and the Church of Saint John at Porta Latina. The waiting list for these churches may be quite long due to the high number of requests.
Although these are just a handful of some popular churches in Italy for weddings, thousands more exist and with a little research, you can find the perfect location. Italy will always be romantic, and a church wedding in Italy is truly something special.