Celebrate Valentine’s Day in Italy – Traditions & Romantic Getaways
Valentine’s Day is a time to show love by giving gifts to someone special to you.
It’s not just about buying things; it’s a chance to be romantic.
Whether you plan big surprises or pick up flowers on the way home, February 14th is more than just a commercial day for love.
It’s not about promoting one type of relationship over another; in fact, the origins of Valentine’s Day leaned more towards celebrating various kinds of love.
Valentine’s Day has its roots in Italy, going way back to the Roman Empire around the 6th Century B.C.
Many historians believe it’s connected to an old pagan celebration called Lupercalia, which happened in the middle of February.
During Lupercalia, Roman priests, known as Luperci, started things off by sacrificing a male goat and a dog.
The celebration then turned into a lively week of feasting, drinking wine, getting a bit naked, and coupling.
So, the tradition of couples celebrating during this time goes way back!
When Roman Catholicism became popular, they replaced the pagan tradition of coupling during Lupercalia with a simpler celebration in honor of Saint Valentine.
Over time, Valentine’s Day has become more popular because of the writings of poets like Chaucer and Shakespeare.
In the United States, Hallmark turned it into a big commercial holiday. Italians celebrate their “La Festa Degli Innamorati” with some unique traditions:
Locks of Love
A trendy romantic tradition in Italy is ‘Lucchetti dell’Amore,’ where people attach a padlock to the famous bridges of Rome, Florence and Venice.
After locking it, they throw the key away, usually into the water below the bridge.
Unfortunately, authorities try to stop this tradition as the locks damage the bridges’ beauty and integrity.
Baci, meaning kisses in Italian, are famous chocolates filled with hazelnuts and a whole hazelnut.
The iconic blue foil wraps the chocolate and includes a small love note with a romantic quote.
To celebrate its 100th year, Baci Perugina partnered with Dolce & Gabbana for a special “Love and Passion” collection.
The Valentine’s edition features a soft gianduia heart with hazelnut and raspberry-flavored crystals.
Orange is the new red?
In Vico del Gargano, Italy, people celebrate La Festa Degli Innamorati (Happy Lovers’ Holiday)uniquely by blessing oranges to protect the groves from winter.
On Valentine’s Day, a parade with a wooden statue of San Valentino followed by a blessing of oranges and lemons.
People eat the blessed oranges and drink orange juice, believing it brings joy and happiness.
The town’s famous Vicolo del Bacio, a narrow alley, has a tradition of meeting couples to exchange promises.
People believed that a kiss there ensured lifelong loyalty.
Visits to Verona
In Verona, Italy, the city known for Romeo and Juliet, a grand red heart decorates the historic Piazza dei Signori.
Heart-shaped lanterns further light up the city center. The celebrations feature complimentary concerts a contest for the most eloquently written letter to Juliet.
The various local hotels and eateries offer exclusive deals to attract couples for a romantic weekend getaway in Verona.
The Bishop of Terni
Many people in Italy believe that San Valentino was the Bishop of Terni, a town in the Lazio region.
Under the main altar lies the tomb of Saint Valentine in the beautiful Basilica di San Valentino.
Every year, on the Sunday before 14 February, couples about to get married attend a special church service and exchange vows before the altar.
The Basilica di San Valentino has a colorful window that shows Saint Valentine blessing Serapia, a Christian, and Sabino, a Roman soldier, as they get married.
They had a Christian-Pagan wedding, which was against the rules.
Another story says that the bishop grew roses in his garden and gave them to the young people who came to his church.
When a couple who received his roses fell in love, more people started coming to the bishop for flowers and his blessings.
This made him famous as a supporter of people in love.
How People Wish Valentine’s Day in Italy?
To express Valentine’s Day wishes, Italians either say Buon San Valentino (Happy Valentine’s Day) or Buona Festa degli Innamorati (Happy Lovers’ Holiday)!
I Love You is the most common phrase used worldwide to express our love to partners, lovers, parents, children, friends, and more.
In Italy, people use various ways to say ‘I Love You.”.
If you want to say “I love you” to someone in Italian, you can say “Ti amo.”
To emphasize your love, you can add “tanto” or “molto” at the end, making it “Ti amo tanto” or “Ti amo molto.”
If you want to express much love, you can say “Ti amo tantissimo!” or “Ti amo moltissimo!”.
There’s another phrase, “Ti voglio bene,” which means “I love you,” but they use this only for friends, children, parents, etc. However, for partners and lovers, people use “Ti amo”.
Beyond Spaghetti And Roses: Most Romantic Towns to Say Ti Amo!
Italy is known for its romantic towns, perfect for celebrating Valentine’s Day. Venice, Florence, and Rome are among them.
Venice, with its magical atmosphere, is like a living painting.
A gondola ride through its beautiful and secluded corners is a must for couples.
Here are some options for your special day:
Classic 30-Minute Gondola Ride: This half-hour ride explores the city’s famous waterways, passing by landmarks like Teatro La Fenice, Rialto Bridge, Campo San Luca
Canal Grande, and Campo Manin.
Private Off-the-Beaten-Path Gondola Ride: This private ride is perfect for couples looking to escape the crowd.
The gondolier will show you some cultural treasures like Teatro La Fenice, Grand Canal, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Santa Maria della and more.
Sunset Private Gondola Ride: This ride offers a romantic activity you’ll remember forever.
Starting near Piazza San Marco, you’ll navigate the canals, exploring charming sites along the way.
The gorgeous sunset, paired with the colorful city streets, is a sight to behold.
The City of Love – The Romance of Verona
Verona, the city of Romeo and Juliet, is the ultimate destination for lovers.
It hosts numerous events around Valentine’s Day.
You can dine by Lake Garda or take part in the “Romeo and Juliet” half-marathon.
Watch the “Opera in Love – Romeo and Juliet” at the Chiesetta di Santa Maria in Chiavica.
Or explore the latest wedding trends at the Verona Sposi fair.
The city also decorates itself in red and hosts a themed market in Piazza dei Signori.
One of the most enticing places to visit is Juliet’s balcony, the scene where romance blossoms and the two fall deeply in love.
It’s no surprise people are so charmed by it that it attracts many tourists.
Many people believe that writing a letter to Juliet can make their love last forever. This is why people often write letters and notes to her.
Verona’s charm lies in its myths, ancient squares, alleys, and courtyards.
The medieval streets, picturesque views, and soothing music of Verona have always evoked deep emotions, making everyone fall in love with the city.
Rome- The Eternal City
Rome, a city that has always inspired love, is an ideal place to spend Valentine’s Day.
The city is filled with romantic spots to explore.
Enjoying a meal at a local music restaurant or taking a boat ride on the Tiber River are two wonderful ways to celebrate this special day.
You can explore Rome’s beauty by taking a stroll in Villa Borghese Gardens, making a wish at Trevi Fountain, and having a picnic at Aventine Hill.
You can also dine in Trastevere, visit the Spanish Steps, and end the day with a night tour of the Colosseum.
“It’s a day filled with romance and unforgettable moments. For more info, check out how to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Rome”.
Manarola and Riomaggiore, Near La Spezia (Liguria)
Manarola and Riomaggiore are two of the five villages, including Cinque Terre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the Italian Riviera.
Both villages are on cliffs by the Ligurian Sea with colorful houses, winding streets, and stunning views.
Manarola is the second smallest of the five villages.
It has a pretty harbor and a special walkway called “Via dell’Amore” (Path of Love), connecting it to another village called Riomaggiore.
The village also has several wineries where visitors can sample local wines like Cinque Terre DOC Cinque Terre Rosso and Cinque Terre DOC Cinque Terre Bianco.
Riomaggiore is the southernmost Cinque Terre village known for its colorful houses, medieval castle, and lively atmosphere.
The village also has several restaurants where visitors can enjoy fresh seafood and other local dishes.
Terni, the birthplace of St. Valentine, is a mecca for romantics worldwide. St. Valentine was a bishop and martyr who died on February 14, 347 AD.
He became the patron saint of lovers because he allegedly performed a marriage between a young Christian woman and a pagan soldier, allowing love to triumph over religious barriers.
Every year, numerous events in Terni honor the patron saint, attracting thousands of tourists and visitors.
On February 14, 2024, visitors can discover the history and celebrations for Valentine’s Day in Terni.
They can visit the thousand-year-old Basilica dedicated to the patron saint and lovers and the Roman amphitheater.
The day offers opportunities to experience history, culture, and tradition.
Visitors can also attend the 2024 edition of Cioccolentino, an event dedicated to chocolate that features workshops, shows, tastings, and a chocolate village.
Featured Image : Stock photos by Vecteezy