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Valentine’s Day in Italy, history and curiosities related to the feast of lovers

The feast of Valentine’s Day is a celebration celebrated in Italy but that is actually recognized all over the world pagan. Its origins are in fact linked to a Catholic saint, but, contrary to what is believed, totally pagan.

In Italy it is celebrated almost everywhere, but it is obvious that it is celebrated more in some cities, such as Verona, which is considered the city of lovers par excellence. The festival is surrounded by a series of culinary traditions and drinking.

The Valentine’s Day in Italy has entirely pagan origins, although it is closely linked to the figure of a saint who really existed and, of course, also celebrated by the Catholic Church.

Valentine’s Day was a Christian bishop of Terni, beheaded at the age of 97 at the hands of the soldier Furius Placidus. According to the most reliable sources, Valentine’s Day was executed for marrying Serapia and the non-Catholic legionnaire Sabinus. It is also for this reason that he is universally considered as protector of lovers.

San Valentino: vita e opere più rappresentative del Santo degli innamorati
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Party Origins

The origins of Valentine’s Day pagan date back to the fourth century. It was established to replace the pagan festival of LUPERCALIA. It was a series of pagan rites celebrated on February 15 that included the celebration of fertility and that consisted in unbridled celebrations totally in contrast with Christian ethics.

Papa Gelasio I therefore decides to officialize the party in an attempt to regain a more consonant morality, moving it to the previous day, dedicated precisely to Valentine’s Day.

Where to go on Valentine’s Day in Italy

There are many cities that you can visit if you decide to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Italy:

  • Venice: Valentine’s Day and the city of Venice are like two magnets that attract each other. What to do? A romantic tour in gondola, admire the view from the Fondaco dei tedeschi, climb the bell tower of San Marco, dine in a romantic restaurant and much more.
  • Verona: on the occasion of Valentine’s Day the city dresses with lights and decorations. Due to the pandemic situation this year (2022) will not be set up the market in Piazza dei Signori in the shape of a heart, but Verona remains one of the most romantic cities in the world and perfect to visit on the day of love.
Potrebbe essere un'immagine raffigurante 6 persone, attività all'aperto e monumento
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  • Rome: majestic, evocative and full of atmosphere, the eternal city is perfectly suited to spend a nice Valentine’s Day.
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  • Cinque Terre: breathtaking views, exceptional food and romantic trails will be full of romance in one of the most beautiful areas of Liguria.

What to give to Valentine’s Day

As usual, to Valentine’s Day, lovers usually exchange gifts. Tradition wants the gifts that go for the most are sweets (especially cioccolatini) and flowers: red roses are typical of the feast of lovers, yet only one in ten pink is Made in Italy! Anemones, buttercups, calendule, lion mouths, carnations and freesias are some examples of Italian flowers that the Italian Farmers Association recommended to compose a perfect bouquet. These types of flowers, in addition to being beautiful, have strengths not to be underestimated: they are fresher, fragrant and sustainable.

But Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be so traditional! In fact, more and more all couples rather than exchanging gifts prefer to “give themselves” trips or experiences to do in pairs.

Some practical examples? A weekend in an Italian city, a day in SPA, a stay at the spa or a dinner for 2.

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