When you marry in Italy, you usually have to choose between two options. The civil marriage, celebrated by the Mayor or another officer in the City Hall, or a Catholic religious marriage, which will be automatically recognized by the State pursuant to the Concordat between the Holy See and Italy.
If you choose the religious marriage, you have to pass a screening by the local dean, usually in the form of a ‘marriage course’. If one of the fiancés still hasn’t received all the Catholic Sacraments, he or she will have to fix this.
Finally, if you choose a Catholic marriage, expect to spend much more. Not only you have the pay the Parish for using the church and the dean for celebrating, but the bride will need the traditional expensive white gown, while a smart dress would be just fine for the civil ceremony. Moreover, after the religious marriage you are expected to offer a very rich luncheon, while after a civil ceremony you can be content of a buffet.
Notwithstanding all of this, 60 per cent of Italian couples still choose the religious marriage. In the Northern richer regions, however, this percentage has gone down to 48 per cent, according to a report by the National Statistics Institute. It is the first time in Italian history that a whole part of the country has chosen the civil marriage over the religious one.
This is a further blow to the Catholic Church, which is clearly losing a substantial part of her influence over Italy. Northern Italy is a key part of the country. Italian unification in the XIX century started from the North, being led by Piedmont. Northern Italy is much richer and more developed than the rest of the country, and is even represented in the national Parliament by a dedicated political party, the Northern League.