Differences Between Civil and Religious Marriage in Italy for American Citizens.

Differences Between Civil and Religious Marriage in Italy for American Citizens.

A foreign couple getting legally married in Cortina in front of the "Cinque Torri".
Besides Planners, we have been legal consultants for the Italian internationalization offices! This experience allowed us to gain deep expertise in foreign affairs.

In Italy, there are three types of marriage: civilreligious, and the so-called “matrimonio concordatario“.

Civil marriage is a legal union between two people, while religious marriage is a union between two people who share the same faith.

Please note that, concerning the Catholic wedding, the Catholic Church allows the marriage between a Catholic and an atheist upon specific conditions.

Civil marriage is the most common type of marriage in Italy. 

It is a legal union between two people who are at least 18 years old and who are not already married. Civil marriage can be celebrated in any Italian comune (town hall).

Religious marriage is a union between two people who generally share the same faith. It is celebrated by a minister of religion authorized to perform marriages in Italy. Religious marriage can be celebrated in any church, synagogue, or other place of worship.

If you are an American citizen and you want to get married in Italy, you can choose to get married either civilly or religiously. 

If you choose to have a civil marriage and you are a US citizen, you need to follow the procedure for Americans getting married in Italy.

This process involves obtaining the so-called ‘atto notorio’ either at an Italian Consulate in the US, which is a longer procedure requiring several documents to be translated, legalized, and provided to the Italian officials in the US, or at an Italian Court.

Alternatively, the quickest way to obtain your ‘atto notorio’, without needing to provide any documents except your valid passport, is to secure it in Italy with our assistance. We have solid experience and connections with specific Italian Courts that will facilitate and speed up the entire process.

Additionally, you must obtain a sworn statement at a US Consulate in Italy, which must then be duly legalized at an Italian Prefettura.

The legalization of the sworn statement will be handled by us without the need for your presence or a power of attorney.

If you choose to marry religiously, you must meet the requirements of the religion you share with your partner.

In addition to civil and religious marriage, there is also a type of marriage called a concordatary marriage (Matrimonio Concordatario).

The “matrimonio concordatario” is a civil marriage recognized by the Catholic Church and celebrated by the catholic Priest during the rite, the Priest also assumes the role of a public official. To get married with the “matrimonio concordatario”, you must be both Catholic and meet the Catholic Church’s requirements.

If you are an American citizen and you want to get married “concordatarily” in Italy, you will need to get the atto notorio in any Italian Court and sworn declaration at any US Consulate in Italy. Please note that according to The Hague Convention, the USA sworn declaration issued by one of the American Consulate on Italian soil shall be legalized at the competent legalization office in Italy.

Civil Wedding in the Dolomites.

We, as legal counselors, will be able to provide you with more information about the requirements for any type of marriage you want to contract in Italy as USA citizen.

Here are some additional tips for getting married in Italy:

  • Start planning your wedding early. The process of getting married in Italy can take several weeks, so it is important to start planning early.
  • Hire a wedding planner with a legal background. A structured team with more consultants can help you with all of the details of your wedding, from finding an outdoor venue for your civil ceremony to choosing the best florist and wedding photographer.
  • Choose a location that is special to you. Italy is a beautiful country with a rich history and culture.

Who will be your Counselors?


Our firm’s specialized legal consultation services are designed to assist you in successfully meeting these requirements, thereby facilitating the legal recognition of your marriage in both Italy and the U.S.

Due to our experience in law firms and the foreign offices of the Italian public administration, we gained significant expertise in Consular affairs, and we are trained to solve the most complicated procedure such as:

1) Nulla osta process, legalization procedure, Court hearings for the refusal of the town hall when there documents missing , legal translation, apostille procedure, emergency procedure for legalization.

2) Same-sex couples that want to celebrate a civil union in Italy as in their country the union is forbidden;

3) Couples that come from countries where divorce is not allowed;

4) Italians living abroad registered at AIRE that need to recover their document to start the marriage banns in the Italian Consulate;

5) Assistance with people that come from countries that do not release the nulla osta;

6) American and Australian couples who needs assistance with “atto notorio” in an Italian Court or the Italian Consulate in the USA or Australia.

7) People with refugee status who have requested asylum in Italy.

Civil Wedding in the Capitoline Hill of Americans.

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