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tying the knot: marriage license requirements

Marriage Requirements for Italy

Residency Requirement: None

Necessary Documents: Passports or armed forces ID cards; certified copies of birth certificates; proof of divorce or death certificate of former spouse/s (if applicable); declarations "atto notorio" sworn to by four people before an Italian consulate officer attesting that they know of no reason to object to the marriage under the laws of the couple's home country; declaration sworn to by both parties that there are no obstacles to the marriage under U.S. law.

Note: Certain documents must be translated into Italian with special "apostille" seals from the secretary of state from the state from which the documents originated. Additional requirements apply if one of the parties is an Italian citizen or resident of Italy. Requirements may vary by region and city. It is highly recommended that you work with a wedding planner to help you fulfill all requirements properly. A translator may be required to attend the wedding if neither the bride nor the groom speaks Italian.

For More Info: Italian consulate nearest you; the Italian Government Tourist Board Office, (212) 245-5618; the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Italy, www.usembassy.it

Europe: Italy - Venice | Magical Streets & Moonlit Canals

Visiting Venice is like unwrapping a present for the senses: the toll of church bells; beribboned gondoliers churning their oars; the sight of women hanging ornate rugs out windows to dry; the sharp scent of coffee; glass chandeliers twinkling; and slender, twisting streets suddenly turning onto sun-filled market squares. The elegant piazzas and glistening waterways of this northern Italian city breathe ancient urban grandeur and romance.

In A Word: Canals

Venice is synonymous with canals -- the city consists of 100 islands linked by bridges. The best part? No honking cars to contend with -- just you in your miniature dollhouse movie-set city.

before you go: need-to-know infor

  • Entry requirements: Passport
  • Language: Italian
  • Currency: Euro
  • Flight time: 10 hrs from NYC, 14 hrs from LA, 14 hrs from Dallas
  • Hotel tax and service charge: 10%
  • Tipping: 15% - 20% if not included
  • Getting around: Vaporetto, traghetto (a gondola with fixed stops), gondola, water taxi
  • Homework: Watch La Dolce Vita
  • Notes: Many restaurants may be closed from Christmas through the first week in January and for much of August; If hotels have no 800 reservation number, fax (instead of calling) them for information and confirmations
  • More info: Italian Tourism Board.

Why We'd Go: Six Features You'll Never Forget

  • Piazza San Marco: Pigeons, tourists, and street entertainers flock to this lively plaza, home to the glittering gold and mosaic-embellished Basilica di San Marco and the fresco-filled Palazzo Ducale. Tour the palace and cross the Bridge of Sighs, so named because it was the last view Venetian prisoners had before facing their fate.

  • Getting lost: You're likely to get turned around in Venice, but getting lost was never so much fun. Labyrinthine streets will reveal new discoveries at every turn. Don't pass up that off-the-beaten-path shop selling candy, Carnevale masks, or marbled paper.

  • Vaporettos: These boats, which carry Venetians just as city buses carry passengers in less liquid locales, are the best way to see the Grand Canal.

  • Italian eats: Water, water everywhere provides some of the best seafood in Europe, and the Italian touch creates risotto beyond compare. Best bets include Trattoria Madonna, canal-side Ristorante da Raffaele, and Harry's Bar, where the Bellini was invented and still reigns supreme.

  • Ponte di Rialto: This bridge over the Grand Canal also serves as a marketplace, the perfect spot to buy a gondolier's hat or assorted souvenirs.

  • Day trips: Just a short vaporetto ride away are: Murano, the birthplace of Venetian glass; Burano, known for its candy-colored houses and fine lace; and Torcello, site of two lovely 11th-century churches and plenty of prime picnic spots. In fact, Katherine Hepburn and Rossano Brazzi fell in love during a picnic there in the film Summertime.

Pucker Up: Best Place To Smooch

Curled up in a gondola under a starry sky, of course!

When To Go: Venice At Its Best

  • Best weather: April to June, September, and October. July and August are hottest and most humid; canals may also smell. Tourism swells May through September.
  • Best prices: Winter (excluding the Christmas holidays and Carnevale week), early spring, and late autumn.
  • Festival highlights: Costumes, music, dance, and revelry fill the streets for Carnevale in February. If you're artsy and it's an odd-numbered year, check out the Venice Biennale, an international art exhibition held in the summer.

    (Il Palazzo review by Alisa Jenkins)

    Photo: ENIT / Italian Tourism

-- Lori Seto

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