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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

An Italy Local's Guide to Rome & "I Do"

Words by Courtney Cox
Photos courtesy of Rochelle Cheever

Our friend, Italian local and professional wedding photographer, Rochelle Cheever, is back today as part of our Destination: Italy week! Today, she’s sharing the basics on how to say “I do” in Italy and giving you the inside track on exploring the Italian capital – Rome! Read on to discover her must-see and must-do, four-day itinerary throughout “The Eternal City.”

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The Basics on Saying “I Do” in Italy

Decide on Your “What” 

You can go about saying “I do” in Italy in a variety of ways: a civil wedding, symbolic wedding or religious ceremony in a church. 

Civil and Religious: You should get a local wedding planner with a knowledge of the area, the bureaucracy and also the language. The paperwork can get quite complicated, let alone not knowing the language. A good wedding planner will be able to take care of all the paperwork.

Symbolic: A lot of couples are now opting to have the civil wedding back home and then have a symbolic ceremony in Italy. The overall logistics also depend on where the couple is from. Each country has its own requirements.

Figuring Out the “Where” & the “When”

As for cities, it really depends on the time of year and also the couple’s preferences. Italy is small and quite popular and towns get very crowded quickly. For instance, Capri, Positano, Venice, Florence and Ravello (all very popular wedding destinations at the moment) are quaint towns and they get super crowded during the summer months like July and August.

It also gets quite hot and miserable and Italians aren't too fond of air-conditioning, unfortunately. It can be doable if you rent a private villa that is away from the center. But, you will find restaurants packed, that it’s hard to walk around and crazy busy. I myself, don't like to even take commissions at some of those cities during those months as it hard to work and get around – again, unless the couple has secured a private space like a villa.

Tuscany, Umbria and Puglia, for instance, are less touristy and are fine during the summer months (as are a lot other unknown cities). Venice, Rome and Florence (the most popular places) are best in the off-season months like January-June and also September-December. As for accommodations, I recommend either renting a private villa or even a nice hotel. 

Discover the “How”

The day-to-day rhythms are a bit different in Italy. For instance, you eat late compared to American dinners. Italians eat around 8-9:00 pm. It is a social event…almost a ritual where you sit down, talk and can easily be at the table for a few hours. Italians have great food and everything is "made with love and care." The concept of “slow food” comes from Italy. It is not only to nourish our bodies, but also to nourish your soul and it’s a chance to talk with friends and family. Food is a ritual in Italy.

At night, fun things to do are to go for an aperitivo with friends, dinner, sometimes a gelato afterwards and a stroll around the town. Walking/exploring is one of the most fun things to do! People walk a lot more in Italy than in the States. I just got back from Italy and I averaged 20,000 steps per day! No wonder the Italians are famous for their figures…

A Local’s Guide to the Italian Capital

Rome is the Italian city I know best, it’s where I was raised, got married and all my children were born. It is also the most beautiful city in the world aka the “Caput Mundi” and “The Eternal City.” It really is where civilization started, in my opinion, and the Ancient Romans were brilliant artists and architects.

There is so much to do, as well. One should polish-up on their history to appreciate Rome. Go back to the Etruscans, then Ancient Rome, Middle Ages, Renaissance and Baroque. Each period has a wealth of knowledge and one of the beautiful things about Rome is that you can see all the various periods superimposed like patchwork.

Four-day itinerary in Rome:

Get an apartment (Airbnb) or hotel in the center – the Pantheon and Spanish Steps areas are nice since they really are in the heart of Rome. Everything will be walking distance and you won't have to drive or take a taxi.

Must see places (pick & choose one /two per day):

  • Pantheon
  • Colosseum (private tour)
  • Vatican – both St. Peter's and the Museum
  • Castel Sant'Angelo
  • Roman Forum
  • Trajan's Forum
  • Palazzo Barberini
  • Villa Borghese & Gallery
  • Piazza Navona

The best thing to do is to walk the city to really live it and explore.

Great walks:

  • Spanish Steps area
  • Villa Borghese
  • Colosseum area
  • Trastevere
  • Monti

Favorite cafés for coffee, "cappuccino + cornetto (aka Italian breakfast)":

  • Rosati (Piazza del Popolo)
  • Antico Caffe Greco (Via Condotti)
  • Sant'Eustachio Il Caffè
  • La Casa Del Caffè Tazza d'oro
  • Giolitti
  • Ciampini Roma

Favorite Restaurants in Rome:

  • Imago (rooftop at Hasslers)
  • Colline Romane
  • Zuma
  • Dal Bolognese Roma
  • Pierluigi
  • Ristorante Camponeschi
  • Ristorante Aroma (best view of Colosseum)
  • Ristorante Laganà

A huge “thank you” to Rochelle Cheever for giving DID readers the inside track on marrying in Italy and exploring “The Eternal City” – Rome! In case you missed it yesterday, Rochelle shared her top “10 Hidden Romantic Spots in Italy” and on Thursday she’ll be back to share her top “10 Most Photogenic Places in Italy.” As a professional wedding photographer…she would know!

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