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Italy is one of the most desired wedding destinations in the world. The country's rich cultural heritage is a significant attraction, encouraging couples to incorporate Italian art, music, and cuisine into their celebrations. Furthermore, Italy's influence on wedding dress fashion is undeniable, as its world-renowned fashion industry produces timeless and innovative designs that inspire bridal fashion worldwide. From luxurious lace to impeccable tailoring, Italian wedding dresses reflect the elegance and sophistication for which Italy is celebrated.

Italian wedding fashion through time

Italian fashion has a rich and diverse history dating back centuries. Throughout Italy's history, wedding dresses have reflected not only the fashions of the time but also cultural and regional influences. Each era brought its unique interpretations of bridal attire, from the opulent gowns of the Renaissance to the simpler, more streamlined styles of the 20th century. Today, Italian brides have the freedom to choose from a wide range of styles, drawing inspiration from both history and contemporary fashion.


Find your wedding gown in here: WEDDING DRESSES

  • In ancient Rome, clothing was a reflection of social status. Brides wore simple, flowing white or light-coloured tunics made from natural fibres like wool or linen. These garments symbolized purity, and brides often adorned themselves with flower wreaths. The grooms wore togas that were a symbol of Roman citizenship. The toga was made from wool and worn in various ways to denote different occasions and social positions.
  • Medieval Italian fashion was heavily influenced by the Byzantine Empire. Women wore long, flowing gowns, and men wore tunics and cloaks. Italian city-states like Venice and Florence were known for their luxurious fabrics, and they played a significant role in the trade of textiles and silks. During the medieval period, Italian wedding attire varied depending on social class. Noble brides often wore luxurious gowns made from rich fabrics like silk and velvet. Peasant brides, on the other hand, might wear simple, practical dresses in natural fabrics.
  • The Renaissance marked a significant turning point in Italian fashion. It emphasized a revival of classical art and culture. Clothing became more structured, with women's dresses featuring fitted bodices. The Renaissance period brought an emphasis on intricate clothing. Italian brides wore gowns with elaborate embroidery, ornate lace, and rich fabrics. Dresses were often embellished with precious stones, and jewellery played a significant role in the bridal ensemble.

THE WEDDING FEAST at Cana by Paolo Veronese, in the Louvre Museum
  • The Baroque period brought opulent and extravagant clothing characterized by lavish fabrics, lace, and intricate embroidery. Women's fashion included corsets and voluminous skirts, while men wore ornate coats and wigs. During the Baroque and Rococo eras, wedding dresses were elaborate and with voluminous designs. Brides wore dresses with wide panniers (hoops) that created a dramatic silhouette. Fabrics were lavish and often featured intricate embellishments.
  • Napoleon's influence on Italy brought military-inspired fashion with tight-fitting jackets and high- waisted pants for men. Brides began wearing more fitted, high-waisted gowns inspired by the Empire style. White gowns became more popular during this period.
  • The 19th century saw a mix of traditional regional attire and French-inspired fashions. After Italian unification in 1861, there was a push for a national Italian style. Women's fashion included voluminous crinoline skirts and modest dresses. Victorian fashion influenced Italian wedding dresses. Brides wore long, white gowns with high necklines and long sleeves. These dresses often featured intricate lace and embroidered details.

Juan Pablo Salinas, LA BODA / 19th-century
  • In the early 20th century, Italian fashion was influenced by Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles. Wedding dresses were more streamlined and featured geometric patterns. Some brides opted for shorter hemlines and cloche hats. Fashion designers like Elsa Schiaparelli and Emilio Pucci gained prominence during this period.
  • After World War II, Italian fashion experienced a resurgence. Milan and Florence became prominent fashion centres. Designers like Giorgio Armani, Guccio Gucci, and Salvatore Ferragamo made a significant impact. Italian brides embraced styles that were more elegant and romantic. Full- skirted, tea-length dresses were popular. Dresses often had lace bodices and flowing skirts. Italian fashion continued to thrive in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, with designers like Versace, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, and Fendi gaining global recognition. In modern times, there has been a revival of historical wedding dress styles. Designers have created dresses inspired by various periods, incorporating elements like lace, corsets, and voluminous skirts. These dresses offer a nostalgic and romantic touch for brides who appreciate vintage styles.

20th-century Italian lace

Traditional Italian wedding dress

Italian wedding dresses are deeply rooted in tradition, with a focus on timeless elegance and symbolism. Like many Western cultures, white or ivory is the most common colour for Italian wedding dresses. These colours symbolize purity, innocence, and the beginning of a new life. Italian wedding dresses often feature delicate lace, which is intricately woven into the design. Lace is a symbol of romance and femininity, and it adds a touch of grace and elegance to the dress.

Traditional Italian wedding dresses tend to be long and flowing, with an emphasis on a classic and modest silhouette. The dress may have a fitted bodice and a full skirt, often made from luxurious fabrics like silk, satin, or taffeta. In some regions, long sleeves are a traditional feature of Italian wedding dresses. These sleeves can be made of lace or other light, sheer fabrics. Some Italian wedding dresses have a train, which adds a touch of drama and grandeur. The length of the train may vary, but it is often a feature in more formal weddings.


Many traditional Italian wedding dresses are adorned with intricate embroidery, beading, or other embellishments. Traditional Italian wedding dresses may incorporate handmade details, like hand- embroidered monograms or personalized elements, making each dress unique and special. These decorations can be symbolic, incorporating motifs that represent love, family, or other important values.

The bridal veil is an essential component of Italian wedding attire. The veil is a symbol of modesty and purity. It is often long and flowing, complementing the dress. Sometimes, the veil is secured with a tiara or crown. In addition to the veil, Italian brides may wear a headpiece or wreath of fresh flowers. The choice of flowers often has regional significance.


Wedding dress in different regions of Italy

Italy's diverse regions have their unique traditions and styles when it comes to wedding dresses. In Sicily, it is common for brides to wear a black dress. This might seem unusual in Western culture, but black represents loyalty and is believed to ward off evil spirits. The dress is often adorned with gold jewellery and accessories.


Tuscan brides often opt for simple and elegant wedding dresses. These dresses are typically made from high-quality materials like silk or satin and feature modest silhouettes. Lace is a common embellishment in Tuscan wedding attire, and veils often complement the dress.

Venice is known for its opulent and luxurious weddings. Brides may choose elaborate, Venetian- inspired gowns made from sumptuous fabrics like silk and velvet. Masks and elaborate headpieces are also a part of Venetian bridal attire and are often worn during the wedding reception. In the southern region of Puglia, brides may wear a white dress, but it is common for the dress to have colourful accents. Traditional Puglian bridal attire may include a headscarf or crown adorned with flowers.


Calabrian brides often wear a white dress with a red sash, symbolizing fertility and protection from the evil eye. Bridal attire in Calabria may include gold jewellery, especially large gold earrings, as a symbol of wealth.

In Sardinia, brides wear traditional costumes called "abiti sardi." These costumes vary by region and can be quite colourful and ornate. A common feature in Sardinian bridal attire is the "corona," a metal headpiece, which may be decorated with symbolic motifs and beads.


Brides in Campania (Naples and the Amalfi Coast) may choose wedding dresses with a Neapolitan influence. These dresses often feature lace, silk, and intricate embroidery. The dresses may have a fitted bodice and a full, flowing skirt, providing a sense of romanticism.

These are just a few examples of the regional variations in Italian wedding attire. Each region has customs and traditions that are reflected in the choice of fabric, colour, style, and accessories for the wedding dress. These regional differences add depth and diversity to Italian wedding culture.


Contemporary Italian bridal fashion

Le Baobab Sposa is a revered Italian bridal atelier with a distinguished 50-year history that seamlessly marries contemporary bridal fashion with profound respect for Italian heritage and tradition. This atelier has stood as a symbol of excellence, epitomizing the finest elements of Italian bridal design.

Renowned for its impeccable tailoring and skilful techniques, Le Baobab Sposa has garnered a reputation for crafting wedding gowns that are nothing short of masterpieces. Each creation is a testament to the atelier's unwavering commitment to quality and craftsmanship. Inspired by Italy's rich cultural heritage, Le Baobab Sposa seamlessly weaves traditional elements into their modern designs.


The gowns are imbued with a timeless elegance and sophistication that reflect the essence of Italy itself. The atelier's designers draw inspiration from Italy's art, history, and breathtaking scenery, translating these influences into wedding dresses that capture the spirit of the Italian soul. Le Baobab Sposa's commitment to excellence is further exemplified by its personalized service. With a team of skilled artisans and expert tailors, they work closely with brides to bring their dream wedding dresses to life, ensuring that every gown is a unique, tailored reflection of the bride's style and personality.

Their wedding dresses embody the timeless elegance and sophistication for which Italy is celebrated, making them a cherished choice for brides seeking to embrace Italian tradition in their modern-day nuptials.


Author: Renāte Berga

Italy-inspired wedding dress: Le Babobab Sposa

Photo: Francesca Angrisano

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