La “Festa degli Innamorati”, also known as San Valentino in Italy or Saint Valentine’s Day in English, truly is a landmark occasion in the Italian cultural diary.

0fa674da9fc459f7c81ef4edab87f327Saint Valentine was born in, and was later made patron saint of Terni, a delightful, historical town in southern Umbria.

Defying Emperor Claudius II’s decree that young men should be forbidden from marrying because single men were considered to make better soldiers, Saint Valentine continued to marry in secret and signed letters to his lovers signed ‘Your Valentine’.

Unfortunately, he was later found out and sentenced to death for his crimes, and was killed on 14th February in Rome. Whether he knew it or not, Saint Valentine was to leave a timeless and romantic legacy. A day when Italians and countless other nations celebrate romance was born.

If you have never visited Venice in Italy and you are considering a visit one of these fine days, consider doing so during the Venice carnival that takes place some 40 days before the start of Easter holidays.

According to records, carnival of Venice is believed to have started out way back in 1162 as a celebration of the victory of Serenissima Repubblica against the Patriarch of Aquileia. It is documented that it started as a victory dance as a show of appreciation and reunion in the San Marco square.

The italian presepio

Italy has been a strong Christian based culture for generations and through the years has adopted Christmas into their traditions. Italy is known for its strong traditions, and people from around the world can easily share in their experience. An Italian Christmas follows uniquely region specific traditions that are respected by almost all the households in the country. If you're looking to spend your Christmas among warm, passionate people who collectively share in the festive season, then Italy is the place to be.

Delicious food, great shopping opportunities, traditional culture and a welcoming European atmosphere… what better way could there be to prepare for the festive season than to visit some of Italy’s famous Christmas markets? The Christmas Markets in Italy or ‘Mercatino di Natale’ as they are known locally, takeChristmas Market in Bolzano place throughout Italy from late November to early January. Italian Christmas markets are held in many cities, and boast a wonderful, celebratory atmosphere. Elaborate nativity scenes, which form a focal point of many of the markets, are something for visitors to look out for.

One of the most traditional and enticing Christmas markets is to be found in Merano, in South Tyrol, in the very north of Italy. It is perhaps its proximity to its northern neighbors, Switzerland and Austria, that leads this market to feature delicious home-baked goods, often sweetened with cinnamon and spices. Traditional artisan crafts are also popular here. There is truly nothing as magical as meandering around this traditional Italian market whilst admiring the magnificent mountain scenery that surrounds the town.