Journey from northern to southern Italy to discover the traditions associated with the day of the fateful ‘I do’
Heterogeneity is one of the reasons for the extraordinary beauty of Italy, so small but abounding in different places, sceneries and traditions that change radically from north to south. Let’s take marriage, for example: did you know that, throughout “the beautiful country”, far and wide the rituals and habits are completely different from region to region? If you have been invited to a wedding in Italy and you do not know what awaits you, this is the article for you: Through this guide you will learn how Italians experience what has always been defined as “the most beautiful day of one’s life”.
Imagine the high peaks of Trentino Alto Adige, covered with snow and made even whiter by the sun that gifts them with light, offering unforgettable atmospheres: here, in Castelrotto, weddings are still celebrated according to local historical customs. The bride and groom travel to the wedding banquet by sleigh, revisiting an ancient tradition that is disappearing in time. In the Val Pusteria, at the end of the reception, there is the custom of the fake “kidnapping of the bride” by the friends of the groom, They take her bar-hopping throughout the neighbourhood and leave the tab to be paid by the bridegroom: again it is a revisitation of an ancient tradition in which the feudal lord kidnapped the bride to take advantage of the jus prime noctis and the bridegroom had to pay the ransom.
In Piedmont, in the Valli di Lanzo, the Bride’s Arch is usually built in front of the entrance of the house of the betrothed: the knot blocking their way through the arch is undone by the bride’s mother-in-law whereupon they can cross under the arch. The latter also gives them a blessing and wishes for a serene and fruitful life. Another Piedmontese custom is the spreading of sawdust between the house of the betrothed and the house of their relatives: this way, according to tradition, their tears will be dried.
Then there is the ‘ciupu’, a fence that prevents the walk of the betrothed to the church: the obstacle will be overcome only after the payment of a mite, in the form of confetti, by the couple. In the Veneto Region, in addition to the gifts of the enchanting scenery bestowed upon the betrothed by the Venetian lagoon, today there is also the possibility of celebrating civil marriage in one of the Italian Temples of Love: in Verona the bride and groom can pronounce the fateful “I do” in the famous House of Juliet and look out from the historic balcony to greet relatives and friends.
In Lombardy there is the possibility of the Ambrosian celebration: according to this ancient rite, the betrothed reach the altar together and, after the Benediction, they are both covered with a veil. The Lombard tradition also contemplates that the friends of the groom sell pieces of the groom’s tie to the wedding guests in order to collect a nice nest egg which the couple can use to finance their honeymoon.
In Liguria never marry in September and never let the bride wear pearls… but a dime in a shoe allegedly guarantees the couple wealth and success. In Friuli Venezia Giulia, finally, the betrothed cut a tree stump with a woodsman’s saw: this gesture establishes the beginning of their collaboration to overcome all the trials of life.