Italian couple tie the knot at Swedish Pride festival

UPDATED: Two Italian expats in Sweden got married in front of hundreds of thousands of people at the Stockholm Pride Parade on Saturday afternoon – to send a message about gay rights to their home country.

Italian couple tie the knot at Swedish Pride festival
Diego Angemi and Francesco Ceccarini. Photo: private

It's a special day for most couples, but Diego Angemi, 36, and his partner Francesco Ceccarini, 33, in particular are two people unlikely ever to forget their wedding day. The two Italian expats got married in front of hundreds of thousands of people at the Stockholm Pride Parade on Saturday.

But for the pair, who met in Italy but live in Sweden, the ceremony was not just a celebration of love in front of their family, friends and some 450,000-strong Pride audience. It was also a political statement.

IN PICTURES: Look back at last year's Stockholm Pride Parade

While same-sex marriage has been legal in Sweden since 2009, several attempts to introduce similar legislation in Italy have repeatedly been blocked in parliament. Angemi told The Local's reporter Elin Jönsson ahead of the wedding that they hoped it would send a strong message back to their home country in favour of LGBTQ rights (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer).

Watch Angemi and Ceccarini explain their wedding from six minutes in.

How did you come up with the idea to get married at Pride?

Well, we’ve been together for ten years so there’s not much left to do but to get married – it’s definitely about time.

The usual ceremony only takes about three minutes, so we wanted to do something more fun, especially now when we’re inviting our friends and family from Italy. So we thought of doing something different, which makes Pride the best option – a parade with three hours of music and people having fun.

Pride is the best time in Stockholm with so many people celebrating and now our loved ones from Italy get to experience it – and attend the wedding as a bonus.

How does it feel to get married before all these people?

It feels amazing, Francesco and I will start the parade as unmarried, then when we get to the Sergels Torg square in central Stockholm the ceremony will start. We’ll say ‘I do’ in front of Kulturhuset ('Culture House', a centre for cultural events in the Swedish capital), a place I love, and then continue the parade as a married couple.

It feels good to have our relatives with us both on the truck while we’re in the parade and at Sergels Torg when we get to the ceremony.

What kind of reaction have you received?

Everyone’s really interested. Some think it’s perhaps a bit different to do it during a truck parade. Some have asked if I don’t want to get married in Italy, but that’s not even a possibility.

The Stockholm Pride Parade is the biggest in Scandinavia. Photo: Annika af Klercker/TT

What’s it like for LGBTQ-people in Italy?

They're not accepted, Francesco and I pretend to be best friends and not partners when we’re there.

Not every European country has come as far as Sweden, and Italy and Greece are probably the ones who are furthest behind. When our family and friends return to Italy after Stockholm Pride, they’ll tell others how joyful and festive it was, which is exactly what Italians need to hear.

What can be improved in Sweden?

If we can get married at Stockholm Pride, I feel as if there’s no limit to how good this can get. Personally, I have no complaints about gay rights in Sweden but I’m not sure what it’s like for trans-people. It could be different.

How long will it take before Italy gets where Sweden is now?

I don’t have a good answer to that. I attended a Pride festival in Rome in 2000 and it hasn’t progressed since. The situation has almost gotten worse while the rest of the world is developing in these matters.

The event on Saturday could be the perfect storm and we want to make a political statement to pressure Italy into legalizing same-sex marriage. We’ll also stream our marriage on YouTube to stoke the debate in Italy and we’ll show that it needs culture and education about where the world is headed.

Finally, have you booked your honeymoon yet?

Yes, we’re going travelling around America!

By Elin Jönsson


Italy’s Renzi wants ex-ECB boss Draghi to become prime minister: report

Ex-PM Matteo Renzi would like to see former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi become prime minister of Italy, a party source told Reuters on Sunday.

Italy's Renzi wants ex-ECB boss Draghi to become prime minister: report
Matteo Renzi. Image: Andreas Solaro/ POOL / AFP

“I would say that is one of our proposals,” confirmed the source, who declined to be named.

The Italian government collapsed last week when PM Giuseppe Conte resigned. The former coalition allies are currently trying to come to an agreement and sort out their differences.

The centre-left government had been in turmoil ever since former premier Matteo Renzi withdrew his Italia Viva party earlier this month, a move that forced Conte to step down this week.

During the past year, Renzi frequently criticised Conte’s management of the pandemic and economic crisis.

Italy’s La Stampa newspaper also reported on Sunday that President Sergio Mattarella was considering Draghi for the prime ministerial role. However, Mattarella’s office promptly denied this, saying there had been no contact between them.

So far, there has been no comment from Draghi, who hasn't been seen much in the public eye since 2019.

Italy's president, Sergio Mattarella, gave ruling parties more time on Friday to form a new government, after the resignation of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. 

Coalition parties Italia Viva, the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and anti-establishment 5-Star Movement must come to an agreement to allow the government to heal. 

Renzi, a former prime minister himself, has pubilcly stated that he does not want to talk about who should lead the next government at this stage, reasoning that the parties need to agree on a way forward first.

“Any effort today to fuel a discussion about Draghi is offensive to Draghi and above all to the president of the republic,” Renzi said in an interview published on Sunday with Corriere della Sera.

A senior Italia Viva lawmaker also told Reuters that “If the president gives a mandate to Draghi, we would certainly support this”. 

Renzi, whose party is not even registering three percent support in opinion polls, quit the coalition over Conte’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and his plans for spending more than 200 billion euros from a European Union fund to help Italy’s damaged economy.

READ ALSO: Why do Italy's governments collapse so often?