10 Feb 2014 Valentine’s Day in 5 sumptuous villas in Italy: That’s Amore
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.
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.
Historically, Italians have marked the occasion by exchanging gifts: flowers, delicacies and perfumes have been popular throughout the ages. Today, Saint Valentine’s Day is celebrated with all of the gusto and enthusiasm that is typical of Italian romance.
As in many other western countries, romance in Italy is often celebrated by couples going out for an evening meal and giving each other gifts. Baci Perugina is, nowadays, a popular gift given on Saint Valentine’s Day in Italy: hazelnuts dipped in chocolate, accompanied by a romantic poem in various languages.
A relatively new and fun tradition, which is popular with young couples, is to attach a padlock known as a ‘Love Lock’, or “lucchetti dell’amore”, to a bridge or railing then throwing away the key, as a symbol of everlasting love.
Italy is full to bursting with romantic cities. Florence, Venice, Rome itself, of course. But it is Verona – home of Romeo and Juliet – that really encapsulates the Italians’ love of… well, love!
A four-day event takes place in the city, including romantically themed concerts and heart-shaped lanterns decorating the elegant city streets. The centre-piece of these celebrations is a large red heart painted on the floor of the Piazza dei Signori, one of the city’s main squares.
For those celebrating Valentine’s Day in Italy, a charming Italian villa makes for a perfect romantic break. Ville in Italia looks at the most romantic villas in Italy.
Barchessa is located in a grand estate in the Padua area. The imposing marble staircase, private pool and panoramic views combine to make this villa truly stunning.
The Torre Saracena di Maiori on the Amalfi Coast is located on a sheer cliff, offering breathtaking views out to sea.
Rossellino, located within the historic grounds of Villa la Gamberaia, is oozing with charm and is surrounded by truly magnificent Tuscan countryside.
San Montano, also on the Amalfi Coast, exudes a maritime ambience with a décor of cool blues and whites. Bougainvillea abounds on the exquisite outdoor terrace, creating dappled shade from which to enjoy resplendent sea views.
Villa Costasanti, on the world-famous Lake Garda, is the ultimate in understated Italian elegance. A luxurious, soothing décor creates a sense of calm, while a grand staircase leads to a private pool overlooking the lake.