For an eternal moment, Sposati in Rome!

  Rome: May 23: "Si," I said when the magistrate asked if I was there of my own free will and understood all that was being said. But, when he asked if I would take Robin Ann Ferrini as my wife, I switched to English and answered, "I do." Being a traditionalist and all.
   A moment later, Robin said "I do."
   And the magistrate said, in Italian, that by the power of Italy, and by the power of the mayor of Rome, he was, therefore, pronouncing us married.
   The translator then repeated it in English.
   There was a pause.
   And then the assistant magistrate stepped forward and bent over slightly, and, in a gesture aimed at urging everyone to follow his example, clapped his hands quickly. All present followed suit. Robin and I kissed. general hoopla ensued.
   Sposati in Rome!
   Married in Rome!
   It's going to be hard to top that one.
   It was the most magical trip of my life.
   For two weeks, Robin and I and seven of our friends, traveled in Italy. Four days in Rome, a week in a villa in Tuscany and then three days in Venice.
   The trip came first. Once the trip was planned, well - it seemed sort of an obvious thing to do to get married and then use the trip as a honeymoon.
   But then - there was an article in the Boston Globe that any number of friends clipped and sent to us (We got the hint.) The reporter recounted how she herself had been married in Rome. She related how difficult it was to get through all the red tape. But she offered an easy solution: hire a woman named Gabriella Lo Jacono, an Italian who had lots of experience as a translator and knew everyone in the embassy and in Rome government. So, we called Gabriella.
   She spoke impeccable English - with that wonderful Sophia Loren type of lilt to her voice.
Italians pronounce all
the syllables. So when Gabriella says "married" - it is "marry-ed."
   "I will be so please-ed, to help you to be marry-ed in Roma."
Music to my ears.
On Gabriella's instructions, we first contacted the Italian consulate in Boston.

    We were told to assemble our documents (Italians are very big on assembling documents), to round up four non-family witnesses, and to go into the consulate for document processing.
   The weddings was to be a surprise, so we asked three of the people we were traveling with (plus a co-worker of Robin's, John Moran, who loves intrigue) to go in with us to Boston. At the consulate things went smoothly until it was time to affix the official stamps to the documents (Italians are even bigger on official stamps.) Robin's papers were in fine order. My birth certificate was acceptable - being an original, with an embossed, raised seal, and with the added "apostile" of the Rhode Island Secretary of State, attesting that the official signatures on my birth certificate were indeed, of whom they had ought to have been. (Some interesting use of exotic verb tenses in that last phrase, non vero? But my divorce decree needed some sprucing up. So, back to Rhode Island I went. Back to Family Court. More seals, more embossing - and for good measure, some very nice ribbons.
   Holding what looked like the Magna Carta, we returned to Boston; we were approved; we were stamped. We were on our way.
   Literally. A week later, we were in Leonardo da Vinci airport, negotiating for a taxi ride to our hotel in Rome.
   Oh! This is important. Although Italian by heritage, I had never learned one word of the language. Not a single word! But for this trip I decided it was time. I bought an audio tape for my car. And on March 1, I started to study. Two months later, if I do say so myself, I was able to converse. This is immensely important, if you want my opinion on the subject. It helps you out when you encounter the Italians who can't speak English. And, even if you butcher the language - they love you for trying! And they fall all over you - and will do anything to help you get whatever it is you need.

   Once in our hotel, we met with Gabriella.
   Documents. Photographer. Flowers. Limousine. Champagne. Caviar. Music.
   Logistics. Gabriella wrote the book on logistics and details. The woman is a master at what she does. They should turn the entire Italian government over to Gabriella.
   Marcello, the co-owner and, apparently, 24-hour employee of our charming little hotel asked: "You're getting married here?" When I responded, "yes" he said: " But we can't get married here! It's too complicated! How are you doing it?"
   We had Gabriella. That's how.

   A week later, we took a bus from Tuscany back to Rome. (We had planned to take the train, but the trains went on strike that day. Not to worry! Italian mass-transportation is very co-operative they take turns going on strike. The day after the trains went back to work and the buses went on strike.)
   Our very good friends, Donna and Bill, graciously came with us as Maid of Honor and Best Man.
   At 8:30 a.m., Gabriella arrived at our hotel. Flowers were distributed to everyone. And then to the limousine, a big black Mercedes, driven by Dante - the only driver in Rome who traveled at a speed below the sound barrier.
   To the Campadoglio! (Compoh-dough-lee-oh.) The capital of Rome. Atop the Palatine Hill, overlooking the Roman Forum, the Coliseum, and what is called Old Rome, with the majestic dome of St. Peter's in the distance. The Campadoglio complex was designed by Michaelangeo, 500 years ago: a series of five or six buildings, surrounding a square, and reached by a huge staircase.
   Robin wore a simple white dress, trimmed in lace; and she wore a stunning white hat, the kind with the wide brim, that turns down. I wore a black, double-breasted suit; with a silver-gray tie and a matching pocket handkerchief(the latter, we bought on the Via Vanetto, from a shopkeeper who warned: "Non per il naso!" - "Not for the nose.")
   The ceremony was very formal, lasting about a half hour.
   The magistrate spoke in Italian, and Gabriella translated.
   We all signed a huge book - no computers in the Eternal City, thank God!
   And then we were married!
   Outside there was rice to throw and photographs to take.
   Roberto Cagni, the photographer that Gabriella had recommended, was wonderful. And the day of this writing, the album arrived! The pictures all look great, taken, as we drove from spot to spot, at various scenic locations: the Forum, a villa overlooking Old Rome, a picturesque cobblestone street, the Arc of Constantine, and the Coliseum. Robert knows his stuff, all right!
   There was champagne. There was Italian music. And there were passers by and tourists - all of whom stopped to applaud and yell out best wishes.
   "Auguri! Auguri! " Best of luck! Best of Luck!
   Grazie, Mille grazie.
   And thanks to Rome. The most wonderful city that I have ever seen and ever hope to see.
   And most of all, thanks to our dear new friend Gabriella - who took our romantic moment - and made it eternal.

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