The coronavirus pandemic has put a real damper on the wedding and tourism industries. But Italy is fighting back with a new $11 million initiative that aims to boost both industries while possibly funding your wedding. Any couple—Italian or foreign—who opt to marry or begin a civil union in the Italian region of Lazio in 2022 can submit up to five receipts to be eligible for a reimbursement equivalent to about $2,250, the Guardian reports. Applications can be made up to the end of January 2023, or until the money runs out. "The scheme is needed to support a sector that has suffered badly from the economic crisis," says Lazio President Nicola Zingaretti.
There were more than 15,000 weddings in Lazio—a region including Rome, several castles, the Apennine Mountains, and Circeo National Park's famed beaches—in 2019 but only 9,000 during the entire two-year pandemic. "We have put the significant investment in place also with an eye on the tourism sector," Zingaretti adds, boasting of "many locations among the most magical and fascinating in the world thanks to an unparalleled cultural heritage." You'll need to start planning soon to take advantage of the initiative, dubbed "From Lazio with Love." Zingaretti tells the UK Times that the money will be spent on Lazio-based wedding services—including venues, attire, flowers, and photographers—on a first-come, first-served basis. (Read more Italy stories.)