Valentine’s day in Italy

San Valentino

Valentine’s day celebrates love. Italy is the “land of love”, il Belpaese, the most romantic country in the world… So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Italy is also the home of the story of Saint Valentine, and the origin of the Valentine’s day celebrations which take place around the world on 14th February each year.

young couple
Smile for the camera!

The history of Valentine’s day is murky and vague, and there are various stories surrounding it. One legend would have it that Saint Valentine was a priest who defied a Roman emperor by wedding young couples in secret after the practice was outlawed as it was believed that single men were better soldiers. The priest then became a martyr, of course.  Another story tells that Valentine was a young man condemned to death and who fell in love with his jailer’s daughter, sending the first Valentine’s message to her the morning of his execution… February the 14th of course.

Whatever the origins of the festival, celebrate it by being with your loved ones this year, try staying at home and cooking a delicious Italian meal if your budget can’t stretch to a romantic meal out. Restaurants tend to double their prices for February the 14th and it really irritates me, so we don’t tend to go out for Valentines day at all. Treat your loved one to some special Valentine’s day treat, like strawberries dipped in chocolate, a bottle of prosecco, or some Valentine’s day cupcakes 

We probably won’t do much tonight. We went for a “Valentine’s” dinner last night, to a really nice local sushi bar… it was not crowded and good value for money. Tonight I bet they have a menu on which will cost 3x what we paid, and the place will be packed. A bowl of pasta and a glass of good red wine on the sofa at home will do fine this evening, thanks very much!

Don’t stress about what you give or receive…. In Italy, Valentine’s day is generally less commercial than it is in the UK and the US. Expectations are lower, and people just seem to relax and enjoy it. Take a leaf out of the Italian book and enjoy Valentine’s day the way it was meant to be enjoyed… And if you’re single, make a meal for yourself, enjoy a bubble bath, a nice glass of wine and a favourite move or a good book, and celebrate being you!

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