Exhibit Highlights in the Italian Gallery

 "Italian Wedding Traditions" are displayed in this gallery. Traditions are some of the oldest and most noted in significant areas:

Tuscany - A long standing custom is for the bride to wear black in dress, a white hat, and carry a fan-even in Winter. Unmarried girls were not allowed to witness a wedding ceremony so the bridesmaids consisted of married women.

Sicily - there were two ceremonies, a civil followed by religious. The groom was not considered married until after the religious ceremony which was considered the wedding date. Many times the bride arrived on horseback for an evening wedding lighted by torches.

Venice - It was the brides custom to walk to church in her second best wedding dress. She wore her finest gown for the wedding dance and reception. The bride would walk to church on the canal side arm and arm with "compare." The groom walked behind her arm and arm with "comare."

Some traditions continue today, but others put by the wayside such as the groom carrying a piece of iron (toc ferro) in his pocket to ward off evil. Sunday was the only day for a wedding and life of happiness. Other days were unlucky and Saturday was reserved for a widow to remarry. The night before the wedding the bride stayed at her parent's house and wore green representing fertility and good luck. A former custom was for the bride and groom to break a vase or glass and the broken pieces would represent years of married bliss.

Today most weddings occur Saturdays and the bride meets the man at church because she goes there with her father. The bride carries a small bag for guests to put money inside. ("Buste" custom) Newlyweds today give confetti "bomboniera" which consists of five or seven coated almonds wrapped in netting with ribbons to celebrate family life. The Italian dessert table consists of an array of pastries, fruit and cakes. ("venetian hour") This is a Sicilian tradition. Music and dancing continues the celebration at the reception. ("LaTarantella")

Celebrate Yesterday and Today Italian Traditions with a gallery visit! The exhibits are amazing and viewed to mid November.