In Rome there are two city halls. The Complesso Vignola Mattei is set in a wooded area in the heart of Rome. You would practically swear that you were in the countryside. The tiny building dates back to Ancient Rome. Like most of the earliest Christian churches it started out as someone's home where the faithful would gather. In the early Middle Ages it was turned into a church and then later deconsacrated when the larger, more elaborate churches became the order of the day.
A wedding in Vignola Mattei, Rome
It is now a secular structure and dedicated exclusively by the city of Rome to the purpose of Civil Matrimony. An official of the Italian State wearing a Miss America style ribbon in the colors of Italy (red, white and green stripes) performs the act of matrimony. At the conclusion of which the Celebrant presents the bride and groom with a bouquet of flowers as a gift from the city of Rome along with their best wishes.
In Rome civil weddings are also performed on the weekend in the Sala Rossa in the piazza Campidoglio. The piazza is in the heart of Ancient and modern Rome and the piazza was designed by Michelangelo.
In Florence the Civil Ceremonies are performed in the Palazzo Vecchio, perhaps historically the most important building in all of Florence. In Siena it is held in the Piazza del Campo and in Venice in the Piazza San Marco. Although one would expect the Italians to treat love and marriage as a serious pursuit, the locations they have selected to celebrate it is overwhelming.
By Brenda Babcock