Destination Wedding Italy: Portovenere

The southern coast of Liguria is one of my favourite places not only because it is absolutely breathtaking but I have have fond memories of my own fairytale wedding that took place in the beautiful church of San Pietro overlooking the Bay of Poets.  That’s me (albeit 10 years ago) with my prince charming and the church in the background. Not too shabby eh?

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Although there are many churches and many castles  for holding a legal ceremony along the Ligurian Riviera, I will focus on the magical place of Portovenere with its spectacular views of the “Bay of Poets”.

The Bay of Poets

The gulf of La Spezia is referred to as the Bay of Poets simply because the area attracted many great poets like Shelley and Lord Byron. The sheer beauty of the rocky coast and crystal waters makes it one of the most beautiful backdrops for weddings. Below is “Grotta di Byron”  named after the poet Goerge Gordon Byron who was inspired by the beauty.

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I love this quaint fishing town with tall colourful houses lining the coast and many seafood restaurants. Although there is a small sand beach suggested for children, be prepared to jump into the crystal waters from the rocky coast. Take a stroll inside the “Caruggio” where there are many small boutiques and do not forget to walk all the way to the castle for some spectacular views.Screen Shot 2014-01-24 at 10.58.35

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Doria Castle

This castle is perched on the hilltop with views of the San Pietro church, the entire village of Portovenere and the Mediterranean sea. You can hold a civil wedding ceremony of the outdoor terrace of the castle. Just breathtaking!


Chiesa di San Pietro (Saint Peter’s church)

This 12th century church  is perched on a rocky hill with 360 degrees views of the mediterranean sea. I will let the pictures speak for themselves…..but can you imagine celebrating a catholic ceremony here?

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One of the great things about Portovenere is that it is close to Pisa International airport and very well connected by boat to visiting other charming villages in the area – Lerici, Cinque Terre, Portofino to name just a few.

pv4For more information on organising a civil, catholic or symbolic ceremony in Portovenere please contact us at:

Let the dream begin…………

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How to get married in Italy legally: a civil wedding ceremony

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One of the most frequently asked questions I get as a wedding planner is “how can I have a legally binding wedding ceremony performed in Italy yet recognised in my home country?”. There are two possibilities:

  1. A civil ceremony: This is the easier legal ceremony to organise in Italy. The number of spectacular city halls and outdoor locations is certainly a great way to celebrate an unforgettable wedding. From frescoed city halls, rustic stone courtyards to a beautiful outdoor terrace overlooking the mediteranean….there is something for everyone.
  2. A Catholic wedding: Although the process is slightly more complicated, it is considered a full legal marriage recognised by the catholic church all over the world. In this case you are required to obtain both civil and catholic document requirements.

I’ll explain shortly the biggest differences between the two different weddings and what is required, how much it costs and the timing.



  • Must takes place in a town hall or a propriety belonging or rented by a town hall. This means that most of the time it is celebrated indoor, in ancient palaces or in a mediaeval courtyard.  There is the possibility to marry civilly in a few selected locations however it varies from tuscan town. Tuscania Events can assist in the search for locations that allow on site civil ceremonies.
  • The couple must complete the paperwork here in Italy prior to the ceremony. Tuscania Events will assist fully with this.
  • The bureaucratic process can vary according to nationality so it is important to mention both nationalities to be sure the necessary paperwork guidelines are followed. Tuscania Events can assist in the specific document needs and with navigating the cumbersome and often difficult Italian bureaucracy.
  • The couple should be prepared to be in Italy three or four days prior to the ceremony to finalize all the necessary paperwork.
  • The cermony lasts around half a hour and it is performed in Italian and translated in your native language by one of our interpreters. It is pretty straight forward and beautifully written and full of significance. The couple is free to add few readings, music, personal vows and the exchanges of rings.
  • Two witnesses are required: one for the bride and one for the groom. Usually it is two members of the bridal party or the parents. If you don’t have any guest present Tuscania Events will provide the witnesses.
  • Pricing: you will have to pay a rental fee directly to the town hall (with our assistance) that could be from 300€ to 5000€ depending on the Town Hall. For the paperwork expect to pay from 150€ up depending on your nationality.  If you need other services, you will also have to consider additional expense for the musicians, photographers, florist, photographer, etc.
  • We suggest that the process should begin around 6 months before the actual ceremony date.



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  • Must take place in a catholic church. Italian churches are usually ancient charming buildings. They can be simple stone chapels even 1000 years old, or frescoed magnificient churches depending on the style you prefer.
  • A Catholic marriage in Italy is not possible if one of you was previously married in a Catholic church and then divorced without a formal annulment from the catholic church.
  • The couple must complete the catholic and civil paperwork here in Italy.
  • Refer to civil ceremony above as the documents required for a civil ceremony are also required for a catholic wedding.
  • About catholic paperwork: it is basically the same for all nationalities. Around two months before the ceremony you will have to present your religious pre cana peperwork to the italian bishop. Tuscania Events will assist you and guide you through this process.
  • We will also provide you a parish that speaks your native language. You’ll have to meet up with the priest a few days before the actual wedding day. So the couple should consider being in Italy at least three to four days  prior to the ceremony.
  • The ceremony lasts around one hour. The wedding will be celebrated during the mass if both spouses are Roman catholic. If one of the two is protestant it is easier if they only celebrate the Rite of marriage without the mass. However this is decided also by the parish. In this case the ceremony will last around 30 min. and must be approved by your own Bishop that must give you permission in writing.
  • The mass is the same all over the world. Tuscania Events will provide you a parish priest that can perform it in your native language. You will have the possibility to add readings and music. Then there will be of course the personal vows and exchange of rings.
  • Four witnesses are required: two for the bride and two for the groom.
  • There is no rental fee for the use of the church but you certainly can not forget to make a donation that can be from 300€ for the church and from 100€ for the priest. You’ll also have to consider the expenses for the paperwork that are from around 150€ depending on your nationality. Then, if you need musicians, photographers, florist, photographer and other vendors, you will also have to consider the possibility of additional costs.
  • We suggest that the process should begin around 6 months before the actual ceremony.


Whether you decide to have a civil wedding or a catholic wedding in Italy, Tuscania Events is available to guide you through the entire process and turn your dream of an italian wedding into reality. To find out more about the beautiful city halls, the panoramic terraces or the breathtaking churches please contact us at

Ease of mind comes with an expert!!!