How Italy Celebrates Valentine's Day

How Italy Celebrates Valentine's Day

In Italy, Valentine's Day is celebrated as "San Valentino" on February 14th and is a popular occasion for couples to exchange gifts and show their affection towards each other. Popular gifts include chocolates, flowers, and jewelry. Romantic dinners and outings are also a common way to celebrate the holiday. Some cities in Italy, such as Verona, the city where Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" is set, hold special events and activities to mark the occasion. Overall, Valentine's Day is seen as an opportunity to express love and appreciation for loved ones in Italy.

  • In the city of Verona, a tradition has developed where lovers leave love notes on the walls of Juliet's house, made famous by Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet."
  • Another tradition in Italy on Valentine's Day is to give "Baci Perugina," chocolate kisses wrapped in love messages, as a symbol of love and affection. 
  • In Italy, the tradition of sending "La Letterina di San Valentino" or Valentine's Day letters dates back to the Middle Ages and is still a popular way to express love and affection.
  • In some parts of Italy, the holiday is also associated with the "Festa degli Innamorati," or Festival of Lovers, which involves outdoor feasting, music, and dancing to celebrate love and companionship. Did you know, the most people hugging is 5730 couples, and was achieved at an event organized by Bergamo Municipality and Turismo Bergamo (both Italy) on 3 July 2016?

The Bollandists, started by a Jesuit priest, researched and determined there were 3 Saint Valentines of Rome, all of which were killed on 14 Feb.

  • One was killed in Africa with 24 soldiers without further information.
  • There were several legends with the other 2
    • One was that he was imprisoned and executed for secretly marrying couples during a time when marriages were banned by Emperor Claudius II of the Roman Empire to increase enlistment. The Saints were clubbed to death and then beheaded on February 14th around 270 CE.
    • One was that he cured a judge's daughter's eyes before leaving behind a letter "From Your Valentines". Unfortunately, when Emperor Claudius II heard the news, he ordered the priest to be executed.

However, St Valentine and among 200 saints were removed from the General Roman Calendar in 1969 due to the lack of reliable information.

Here's a look at how Italy celebrates Valentine's Day nowadays.

Enjoy Home Cooked Dinners

What better way to express your feelings than over dinner? While some Italians follow the American's way of celebration with candlelit dinner with stunning decors - such as rose petals arranged in heart shapes on tables, some Italians prefer home cooking freshly-made dishes featuring traditional recipes from across the country. These romantic meals serve as the perfect places for couples to spend quality time together savoring their meal under dimmed lights and gentle music playing in the background.

Visit Florists and Chocolate Shops

Like elsewhere in the world, flowers are a must on Valentine’s Day in Italy. People will flock to florists to buy colorful bouquets of roses, lilies, and other flowers to present to their significant other as tokens of love. Similarly, chocolate shops will be packed with couples choosing sweet treats for each other as gifts.

Send Personalized Cards

In addition to purchasing presents for loved ones, buying personalized cards is also popular among Italians celebrating Valentine’s Day. Most card stores will feature entire sections dedicated exclusively to this festive occasion – complete with an array of cute messages that you can send along with your gift or select as standalone expressions of love.

Here are a few famous Italian quotes about love:

  1. "Amore è cieco, e gli uomini più." (Love is blind, and men the most.) - Dante Alighieri
  2. "L'amore è una cosa semplice come un bacio, ma anche complicata come un abbraccio." (Love is a simple thing like a kiss, but also as complicated as a hug.)
  3. "Amore e' come un fiore che spunta dal terreno, se non gli dai la luce del sole, non crescera." (Love is like a flower that grows from the ground, if you do not give it the light of the sun, it will not grow.)
  4. "Chi ama non conta i sacrifici." (Who loves does not count the sacrifices.) 
  5. "L'amore vero non si compra, non si vende, non si baratta: si regala." (True love is not bought, sold, or traded: it is given as a gift.)

Seek Out Festive Events

The towns leading up to Parsi (a community near Florence) will hold a very special event each year to celebrate the day of love – a re-enactment of Romeo and Juliet’s balcony scene from the classic Shakespeare play by the same name. This theatrical piece draws both locals and visitors alike every February 14th in celebration of romance and affection.

Efforts have been made to get the information as accurate and updated as possible. If you found any incorrect information with credible source, please send it via the contact us form
Author: Sky Hoon
Italy Lover. He travel to Europe a few times and loved Italy for its unique language and culture. He loved the idea of Italian food focusing on original taste of the ingredient.
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