In Italy, marriage between first cousins is legal under civil law, though some restrictions have applied historically. Here is an overview of Italy’s laws regarding cousin unions.

Current Civil Law Allows Cousin Marriage

According to Italy’s Civil Code, marriage is permitted between biological first cousins without any current prohibitions or limitations in effect. There are no Italian civil laws today barring cousins from marrying.

This legal allowance extends to double first cousins as well, who share both sets of grandparents. Despite their closer degree of kinship, Italian law does not prohibit double first cousins from marrying.

Past Prohibitions Have Been Lifted

However, it should be noted that first cousin marriage has not always been permitted in Italy. Prior to 1919, Italy prohibited marriages between biological first cousins based on canon law of the Roman Catholic church.

But after the Lateran Treaty established the separation of church and state, this religious prohibition was eventually lifted from civil law. Today’s civil regulations place no restrictions on cousin marriage.

Cultural Views on Cousin Marriage

Despite permissive modern civil laws, views on cousin marriage remain mixed across Italian society. Surveys show younger generations are more open, but objections around potential birth defects and incest taboos persist.

Supporters argue bans excessively restrict personal freedom around marriage choices between consenting adults. But stigma remains present for some segments of society.

Rationale Behind Italy’s Approach

By neither prohibiting nor promoting cousin marriage today, Italy’s modern civil law emphasizes personal liberty and choice for couples. It takes a neutral position rather than imposing moral or genetic judgments.


In summary, Italian civil law places no restrictions on first cousin marriage between consenting adults today. But social acceptance fluctuates, so couples should expect mixed public reactions. Overall, marrying your cousin is legally permitted.