The wedding (il matrimonio)

The wedding (il matrimonio)

Saturday, October 10th, 2020

On Friday we took a taxi to the comune (city hall) of Bologna. The two witnesses and the two guests were already there but could not enter without us – the pandemic has caused a number of restrictions. We had to wait for a bit and the witnesses and guests need to show identification but strangely enough Laura and I did not.

The wedding ceremony is pretty different. Here in Italy almost all written formal communications cites one or more references to laws either for the country, the region or even for the European Union. So I guess the officiant (one of the members of the city council) is required to read a couple of rules as the first order of business). Of course I understood almost nothing and frankly could care less. I suspect this is true of the entire population.

So then I had expected wedding vows during the ceremony and had translated what seems to be more or less the standard format in the U.S. and the translation into Italian. It seemed like a nice touch. First in Italian and then in English.

“Io, Joseph, ti prendo, Laura, per essere mia moglie sposata, per averti e tenerti da questo giorno in poi, nel bene, nel male, in ricchezza e in povertà, in salute e in malattia, di amarti e onorarti, finché morte non ci separi.”

“I, Joseph, take you, Laura, to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until death do us part.

Then Laura did the same in both languages.

The the officiant, rather than wedding vows simply asked “Do you want to marry this person” to each of us and we responded “Yes (si’) and then he simply said “OK, you’re married” – well he didn’t really say “OK” but it was very brief – short and sweet.

Laura read a poem that she had written and that I clumsily translated into Italian. It is really hard to translate poetry! I have tried to find a way to change the font size for poetry without success so I’m just going to live with it.

Molte volte ho sognato di stringere
una mano che mi corrispondesse
tenera complice e immaginato occhi sinceri da potermici fidare.
Un desiderio poco probabile ad avverarsi,temevo.
Poi, quando non ci credevo più, ti ho visto
e ho capito che eri tu. Perché
il tuo sguardo è un abbraccio che dà forza,
un sorriso che si apre su tutto il viso;
la tua mano nel prendere la mia
m'ha accolto benvenuto come a casa.

Many times I have dreamed of holding
a hand that matched mine
a tender partner and I imagined sincere eyes that I could trust.
A wish that is unlikely to come true, I feared. Then, when I no longer believed, I saw you and realized it was you. Because
your gaze is a hug that gives strength,
a smile that opens up all over your face;
your hand in taking mine, welcomed me home.

And of course there are photos that friends made.

We each read the vows in both languages (above) and then Laura read her poem.

Exchanging rings.

Both Laura and I and the two witnesses (Monica and Gianluca) signed a document of some sort. They didn’t give us a copy but I’m sure it’s filed away somewhere in the comune.

Then since there is a little balcony overlooking the fountain of Neptune and Piazza Maggiore we had our photos taken there as it seems all newlyweds do.

Also with our testimoni (witnesses) kind of equivalent of best man and maid of honor. Both good friends of mine and in this case Monica was my “best man” and Gianluca was the “maid of honor”. There must be two witnesses and they kind of assume the roles as I mentioned above.

And the last photo taken when we returned to our house.

By the way you may have noticed that I’m using a cane. I did some sort of damage to myself when I moved from my old apartment to the new house. I thought it was a pulled groin muscle but it has been pretty persistent and I’m having it checked out. More adventures with the health system here which I will write a post about before long.

And I almost forgot (again) to add a quote from un Bacio (the chocolate)

“Un amico e’ qualcuno che ti conosce molto bene e continua a frequentarti”

“A fiend is someone that knows you well and continues to spend time with you.”

Oscar Wilde

Of course I love to get comments.

16 Responses to “The wedding (il matrimonio)”

  1. Joy O'Neal Says:

    The poem is so beautiful, and you both look really happy! The photos are such a Lovely window into your ceremony and friendships. May all of your years be blessed!

  2. Joe Says:

    I’ll tell Laura that her poem has many admirers. She’s a woman of many talents. I feel so fortunate to have her in my life.


  3. Susan R Frey Says:

    Congratulations, I’m so very happy for you and Laura. Like myself, you have always been a true adventurer. Marriage is a huge adventure and you have doubled down by marrying a lovely Italian lady and making Italy you home. You are truly inspiring.

  4. Joe Says:

    Yes, marriage is a huge adventure. Fortunately I have some experience in that realm :^)


  5. Mary Says:

    Congratulations to you both, you look so happy! Looks like a gorgeous day for the ceremony. (You were at our wedding in 2010 in West Oakland, if you recall; not quite so elegant.) Joe, I think your transition to full-blown Italian is now complete. I think it’s the glasses.
    Tanti baci –
    Mary (Mike’s wife)

  6. Joe Says:

    Oh, yes, I certainly recall your wedding day. When I look at that photo I think I look a bit goofy. Maybe just giddy. My condolences and best wishes to you. Diane told me about Mike.


    P.S. Yes, I think that the glasses help.

  7. Nikolas Neuwirt Says:

    Congratulations and beautiful post Joe, I wish you and Laura the best I possibly can to have a happy life, share some wonderful moments and to do some things you really love in the company of people you love even more. Happy for you Joe.
    Keep dreaming in Italian, and I’ll keep following you here.

  8. Joe Says:

    Thanks Nick. I hope that you come back to Bologna before too long – you owe me a spectacular meal cooked in our new place.


  9. Helen Brainerd Says:

    How lovely, Joe! We are very happy for you! Look forward to meeting Laura if we are ever allowed out of here and can resume traveling! Take care! Helen and Abby

  10. Joe Says:

    Oh, probably by next summer (fingers crossed) we will emerge from the modern days of the plague. Let me know when you’re coming.


  11. Nina Silk Says:

    Congratulations, Joe! You wanted to make a life in Italy and you’ve done that now 100%. It is so wonderful to see someone make his dreams come true. May you and Laura be very happy together.

  12. Joe Says:

    Thanks Nina. Now my next dream is for the pandemic to end. Let’s all dream together and maybe those dreams will come true.


  13. Cynthia Says:

    Congratulations again, Joe and Laura! Joe, it’s another testament to your decision to move to Italy being the right decision, and to reimagine your life living in Italy. Very courageous from the start.

    I am very happy for you both! Laura, the poem you wrote was so lovely and the sentiment is really beautiful. Joe, thanks for sharing it with us.

    Continued happiness in your new lives as a married couple!


  14. Joe Says:

    It is quite amazing when I think that everything had to happen just right and at just the right time for this to occur. We both say it’s a miracle.

    I’ll tell Laura that you liked it, even in my poor translation. She knows very little Engish so obviously my Italian continues to improve.

  15. Peter Hillen Says:

    A beautiful ceremony for a beautiful couple. Congratulations Laura and Joe.

  16. Joe Says:

    Thanks Peter. Such a pleasant surprise to find a true love here.


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