Valentine’s Day in Italy: do you want tips for spending a special Lovers' Day in the most romantic country in the world? Here you are. 

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When love is involved, we all want one thing: for our special moments to be perfect and unforgettable. Italy, in its incredible beauty, offers endless possibilities to those seeking that romantic magic that stays in the heart. That's why we at Visit Italy think that the Belpaese is the ideal location to celebrate a Valentine's Day flawless in every way.

In this article, you'll discover what to do, where to go, and what to give as a gift for the occasion of Valentine’s day in Italy. We'll also give you tips on how to dress to make your sweetheart say: "wow". First, let's start by telling the history of this holiday and who St Valentine, the patron saint of lovers, was. Are you ready to embark on a virtual journey of red hearts and dreams? An article awaits you, suitable for the romantic, the unconventional, and the reckless, for all those who want an extraordinary moment to frame in their memories to enjoy a marvelous Valentine’s day in Italy.

Valentine’s day in Italy: the origins of this romantic holiday

Valentine’s day in Italy: the origins of this romantic holiday

On 14 February, almost all over the world, we celebrate Valentine's Day, the feast of lovers. But where does this custom originate?

Its ancestors are the Lupercalia of the Romans, which, in reality, had very little to do with romance. On 15 February, they practised archaic fertility rites dedicated to the god Faunus. These rituals were unbridled, uninhibited and violent. Around 496 A.D., Pope Gelasius I decided to end this festivity in open conflict with Christian morality and instituted a day dedicated to romantic love. Then he thought to entrust his new creature to the protection of a saint suited to the task. The choice fell on Saint Valentine, a martyr beheaded in 274 A.D. on 14 February. But why him?

Valentine, bishop of Terni, was born in 176 A.D. His long life counted various episodes, shrouded in mystery, that indicated him as the best candidate for the 'role' of the patron saint of lovers. Apparently, he was the first to celebrate the marriage between a Roman legionnaire and a Christian woman, the probable reason for his martyrdom. Another legend is that Valentine gave a large sum of money to a poor girl who was then able to marry.

Valentine’s day in Italy: the day of lovers as we know it today

Valentine’s day in Italy: the day of lovers as we know it today

Most probably, Pope Gelasius I did not foresee love phrases and letters. For these, we have to wait until the 15th century when Charles Duke of Orleans, locked up in the Tower of London, quoted Shakespeare and called his wife 'sweet Valentine' in the notes he wrote to her.

The appellation 'lovebirds' is also said to have historical origins. In some European countries, during the Middle Ages, bird mating was believed to begin on 14 February. Another version attributes the origin of the term to the English poet Geoffrey Chaucer who, in his work 'Parliament of Fowls', pointed to Richard II of England and Anne of Bohemia as an example of love: the perfect little sweethearts. And, maybe, thanks to the English poet and the 'courtly love' celebrated in his circle, today 'lovebirds' all over the world exchange good wishes, sweet words, flowers and gifts.

Where to go on Valentine's Day: the most romantic places for a Valentine's Day in Italy

Where to go on Valentine's Day: the most romantic places for a Valentine's Day in Italy

Let's start with the city of love par excellence: Verona, the scene of the story of Romeo and Juliet. At Juliet's house in the historic centre, women traditionally touch the right breast of the Capulet maiden's statue, now visibly consumed, as a sign of good luck. Another city that is romantic by nature is Venice, as elegant and graceful as embroidery mirrored on the water. Here are three different but equally infallible ways to take home a magical Venetian memory: venture into the quiet 'calli' (the typical narrow streets), exchange a kiss on the Rialto bridge amidst the hustle and bustle of tourists, and take a romantic gondola ride to enjoy the city's beauty in total peace.

Let's move on to the capital. In Rome, there is a place where lovers attach a padlock and throw the key into the Tiber River as a sign of eternal love: the Milvian Bridge. This custom is linked to Federico Moccia's book 'Ho voglia di te' and soon infected other Italian cities and various places around the world, so much so that today in China, couples attach their padlocks to the Great Wall. Enveloped in a magical and picturesque aura, Lake Orta in Piedmont is also ideal for a romantic getaway. At the centre of this mirror of water is the island of San Giulio, and ancient villages and small harbours pop up on the shores of the lake. The result is an authentic gem set between the green of the Alps and the scent of the forests.

All of the above is very nice, but would you love to take your soul mate to admire a fantastic sea view? Then you might choose Portofino in Liguria, Capri or the Amalfi Coast. Or would you prefer a city with a warm and engaging atmosphere like no other? Book a trip to Naples now and get carried away by the vitality of an impromptu concert in front of some little restaurant in the Quartieri Spagnoli. If, on the other hand, you want to immerse yourself in the elegance of Italian art, then Florence is the perfect place for you.

Suppose you want a place unlike anywhere else. In that case, there is Alberobello with its 'trulli', and if you are looking for a place that, by its very nature, instils a feeling of peace and relaxation, the hills of Tuscany are waiting for you. Then, in Trentino Alto Adige, you can spend a night in a romantic igloo amidst snowy landscapes: a stay complete with a spa and gourmet dinner under a starry sky. In short, whatever you are looking for for your Valentine's Day, you will be spoilt for choice here in Italy. Take advantage of the Visit Italy ticket to undertake a magnificent gondola tour with your partner and enjoy a delicious dinner.

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What to do on Valentine's Day: ideas for the romantic and the reckless

So. Let's start with the premise that a romantic dinner is a nice idea anytime, whether in a restaurant or at home, should you want to prepare an intimate dinner with your own hands. Suppose you want to cook a private dinner with your own hands. In that case, you can add an extra touch of style by decorating the table with some romantic details. Or you could book a table at the venue of your first date. But if you would like to spend an entire afternoon or day together, you can throw the other half of your apple a lot of surprises. In this case, figuring out which idea is best depends on your temperament: is it laid-back or reckless?

If you like to relax, spas and thermal centres offer plenty of couples' massages. You could book a relaxing itinerary with a welcome cocktail, entrance to the spa and thermal baths, and a couple's massage. Then, you could complete it all with a nice dinner in your room. Here are some types of massages perfect for the occasion: relaxing with soft lighting and music therapy, 'hot stone' with lava stones on different parts of the body, Hawaiian massage with essential oils, Thai and Ayurvedic massage. And then there are the candle massages, in the soft light of a candle - perhaps chocolate - melting in a warm scented oil.

Nice, but would you like something more original? Try a horseback ride (perhaps on the beach) or - this would be unforgettable - a flight in a hot-air balloon. And, as the icing on the cake, a night in a castle. Just like in fairy tales.

If, on the other hand, you are more of an adrenalin kind of guy, you could share the thrill of a tandem paraglider flight, a ride in a supercar on a race track or a quad bike excursion. But if you don't have much budget to spend but are a romantic, don't worry. Take a surprise trip to where you met and round it all off with a takeaway dinner of your favourite food. Remembering how it all began always has its effect. Treat yourself to a marvelous weekend with your sweetheart at the Verona Thermal Park with a ticket from Visit Italy.

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What to give on Valentine's Day for him and her

What to give on Valentine's Day for him and her

So far, all the ideas we have given you can also make great gifts.

However, we also have other tips for going beyond the usual flowers, chocolates, watches, jewellery and bags.

A very romantic - and low-budget - idea is the 'time capsule': it is nothing more than a box where you will gradually store objects that have deep meaning for you, memories of beautiful moments spent together and everything that, in some way, tells your story. The more time passes, the more exciting it will be to open it and let your mind drift back to all it contains.

Another option that is certainly appreciated - time permitting - is to give the other person a course on their passions. Helping each other be ourselves and value ourselves is the best way to say 'I love you'.

How to dress for Valentine's Day

How to dress for Valentine's Day

The perfect look depends on the day's schedule. So unless you expect some sporty adventure, these outfits can go well on almost any other occasion. Let's start with the boys. Avoid overly sporty looks, such as tracksuits, trainers and hoodies, if you are no longer in your twenties. Instead, even sporty trousers, single-breasted jackets and unbuttoned shirt collars are fine. Regarding shoes, yes to moccasins, classic lace-ups and classic ankle boots in leather, but not amphibians: they would be a bit 'too much'. You can complete it all with a nice watch and a drop of perfume. These are two details that, if well chosen, give a lot of sensuality and style. Another rule has a circle of hell reserved for those who do not respect it: beard and hair groomed. Always.

And now we come to the sissies. Do you want a romantic look, or do you want something sexier? In both cases, you can indulge quite a bit and, given the occasion, play with red. Regardless of which style you prefer, however, there is one starting point to always bear in mind: choose clothes that enhance your figure. Knowing how to spot them makes a difference.

A romantic outfit can play on pastel shades, delicate materials such as tulle and silk, and a few red details such as a belt or clutch bag. Yes to jewellery that enhances the décolleté without falling into anything too showy, and yes to thin heels because, as we know, 'the heel is female'. Appropriate make-up and hairstyle will do the rest. Remember that a romantic look doesn't reveal too much: it leaves you guessing.

A sexy outfit, on the other hand, allows you to dare more but be careful never to fall into vulgarity. Slit skirts, tulle bodices with an open jacket on top and tight-fitting looks will be perfect. (High) heels are practically compulsory, and you can also play up some details or leather garments. The ideal colours for this style are black and, especially on such an occasion, red, but be careful not to overdo it so as not to look like Jessica Rabbit. If the location allows it, you could opt for a dress with a back neckline and low-cut front. The result will be a sensual look that does not slip into the vulgar. For inspiration, the web and the latest fashion shows of top Italian designers will be an inexhaustible source of ideas. And of wonder. Well, now you have everything you need to have a dream Valentine's Day, but we are giving you one more piece of advice. Remember the main ingredient: love. If this is truly special, everything else will follow.

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