Italy has a long and rich history of famous loves and lovers. Giacomo Casanova, the famous Venetian womanizer and Rudolf Valentino, the Italian sex symbol, are two that immediately come to mind. And who hasn’t heard of Shakespeare’s immortalized lovers, Romeo and Juliet or Dante’s ill-fated couple, Paolo and Francesca?
Italy is the land of amore, as it oozes passion from coast to coast. But, in the country where romance was invented, you might be surprised to learn that there is not much celebration on Valentine’s day … maybe it’s because Italians live it everyday … just a thought!
Unlike the American tradition with the omnipresent displays of red and pink hearts, flowers, cards and candy throughout nearly every store, the Italian tradition is not as commercial and is reserved for lovers. Italian children do not exchange Valentine cards, which is unfortunate because I like this American custom. When my son was young, I really enjoyed helping him make the homemade cards to give to his teachers and classmates.
I can’t think of any city in Italy where I wouldn’t want to spend this holiday but, Venice and Verona (home of Romeo and Juliet) are considered to be two of the most romantic. I have fond memories of both Italian towns. In Verona, heart-shaped, illuminated lanterns are placed throughout the city and the Piazza dei Signori has a giant red heart painted in the center. Venice in February with the love of my life, Jack, makes my heart smile every time I think of our beautiful time together in the city of amore!