Rome Wedding

A Civil Wedding In Rome

You will probably already know that there are 3 locations for a civil wedding in Rome. The Campidoglio, Caracalla and Villa Lais. The Campidoglio wedding hall is the more formal choice of the three and very centrally located right next to the ruins of the Roman Forum. The Caracalla wedding hall is a rustic ex convent situated near the Baths of Caracalla and the larger venue of the three. And lastly Villa Lais, a small 19th century chapel set amidst the tranquility of a small park.

Piazza del Campidoglio


Designed by Michelangelo, Piazza del Campidoglio is one of the most elegant piazzas in Rome. The long, beautiful staircase leading into the piazza is known as the Cordonata. It is adorned with granite statues of Egyptian lions at the foot and two large classical statues at the top.
The central building on the piazza is the Palazzo Senatorio. The name is derived from its function as seat of the Senate until 1870 when it became the seat of the City of Rome. The building on the north of the square is the Palazzo Nuovo and on the south, directly opposite is the Palazzo dei Conservatori. Both are now part of the Capitoline Museums, housing a collection mainly consisting of sculpture and paintings.

 Link to 3d image of the Piazza

Campidoglio Wedding Hall


When we visited Rome on our research weekend, we were surprised to discover that you are not actually married in the main Town Hall building, The Palazzo Senatorio, which is the building shown on the majority of websites. Instead the ceremony is held in one of the museum buildings, The Palazzo Conservatori. We were disappointed at first, but the building is still very pretty and the renaissance style interior of the Salla Rossa 'the red hall' is beautiful. On the wedding day itself the piazza is so beautiful it didn't matter at all which building the ceremony was held in.

For another great YouTube video of the piazza click here

The Ceremony

Our initial doubts about The Campidoglio were the actual length and feel of the service. We had heard how this can feel rushed and how there are also other couples waiting for their 'time slot'
In our November visit we witnessed an Italian wedding here and indeed it was VERY quick. BUT  when it came to our wedding we were pleasantly surprised with the time we had. Our ceremony lasted about 20 minutes. There was one other couple coming out of the hall before us and I didn't see anyone waiting to go in after us. It certainly didn't feel like a 'queue' of brides and the ceremony did not feel at all rushed. As I recall now, I was so overwhelmed with the excitement of getting married that I often didn't notice very much around me! 

What to expect in the ceremony:

The groom and two witnesses need to sign various pieces of paperwork before the ceremony begins so they and any guests will enter the room first.
The bride will enter the room last accompanied by the father if you choose. This was quite an important part for me as I wanted my dad to give me away. In my case my photographer told me when everyone inside was ready, and then I walked down the red carpet with my father by my side. Simple background music will be played as the bride enters the room and then it is switched off when the service begins.
The bride and groom sit down with their witnesses either side of them. I was not able to have my father sit next to me at this point because he was not my witness as he had walked me down the isle instead. It is ONLY the witnesses who can be seated aside the bride and groom and they were very rigid on this when we asked.

The service begins with the reading of the 'contract of marriage' in Italian and translated by our wedding planner. See below for a rough translation of the contract.
You are then told you are husband and wife and are led to sign the papers. Once this is done you are told to approach the desk where you exchange your wedding rings.
Finally, you have a few minutes for photographs inside the hall and then you go back out onto the square where you can have more photos taken.

There was a lady present in the hall who seemed to be organising everyone, and although she probably has to do the same thing every 20 minutes for each wedding, she was very very friendly and smiled throughout.

Note about Witnesses:
Once you have an official interpreter for the ceremony you can provide your own witnesses. Both must be over 18 and have a valid passport with them at the ceremony. If you wont have any witnesses at your wedding then a wedding planner can arrange them. I was quoted 90 Euro for 2 witnesses by my planner if we needed them.

Rough Translation of the 'contract of marriage'

Are you Mr XXX? Answer: YES
Are you Miss XXX? Answer: YES

I hereby read for your knowledge the Articles of the Civil Code which regulate the rights and duties of the Marriage:

With the Marriage the husband and wife acquire the same rights and the same duties. From the marriage comes the mutual duty of loyalty, the moral and material assistance, the cooperation in the interest of the Family and the cohabitation.
Both the partners are responsible, each one in relation to their means and ability of professional or housekeeping work, to contribute to the needs of the Family

The partners both agree on the Family life direction and decide their residence according to the existing needs of both. Each one has the power to implement the agreed direction.”

The Marriage commands to both the partners the duty to support, teach and educate their children in
accordance to their abilities, the natural predisposition and the aspirations of the children.

XXX do you want to marry/take as your wife XXX? Answer: YES
XXX do you want to marry/take as your husband XXX? Answer: YES

I hereby declare that XXX and XXX are married

The Caracalla Wedding Hall, also known as Vignola Mattei


Before we decided upon the Campidoglio for our wedding we visited Vignola Mattei, a less formal option for a civil ceremony in Rome. The simple rustic looking building is situated near to the Baths of Carcalla on the edge of a quiet park. The surroundings are far more tranquil than the busier Campidoglio and would make for a more relaxed and private wedding. There is also the added benefit of being able to have the wedding midweek and as there is more seating here than in The Campidoglio, it is more suitable for weddings with a larger number of guests. Although we were tempted at times to choose this location, the main deciding factor for us was that although beautiful this location didn't feel like we were in the centre of Rome.
Vignola Mattei, Via di Valle delle Camene
Roma, Latium 00184

Villa Lais

Villa Lais is a small chapel in a 19th Century villa complete with frescoes and antique furniture. Situated amidst the lush greenery of a small park and seating around 20 people, it makes an ideal choice for a quiet and intimate wedding.

Villa Lais, Piazza Giovanni Cagliero, 20
Roma, Lazio 00181, IT

Map of the 3 locations for a civil ceremony in Rome