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
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
"I will be so please-ed, to help you to be marry-ed
Music to my ears.
On Gabriella's instructions, we first contacted the Italian consulate
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 è 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
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.
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
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
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.