It’s no secret that Valentine’s day is the most romantic holiday celebrated by couples worldwide. Today many countries developed their own traditions, but Valentine’s Day in Italy has its origins tracing back all the way to the Roman Empire! 

Read on to discover how Italian Valentine’s Day is celebrated. You’ll also learn how to impress your sweetheart by saying “I love you” in the most romantic language – Italian, of course! 

The History of Valentine’s Day in Italy

Many legends are surrounding this romantic holiday. According to one, the history of Valentine’s day has its roots in ancient Roman culture. February the 14th was the day when people celebrated Juno, goddess of woman and marriage.

St. Valentines day marked in calendar with heart-shaped mark - The Proud Italian

The other legend is about St. Valentine, the priest who defied the Roman emperor’s order. During wartime, the emperor banned marriage, and when St. Valentine was discovered to marry the lovers secretly, he was put to death on February the 14th. Later, Pope Gelasius declared February 14th St. Valentine’s Day, and it’s celebrated for more than 1500 years.

Italian Valentine’s Day Traditions Couples vs. Singles

In Italy, Valentine’s Day is celebrated only between couples as “La Festa Degli Innamorati.” It is expressed with romantic dinners, giving the flowers and of course, the chocolate! Famous Italian chocolate maker Perugina makes the special edition of Baci chocolate candies in a red wrapper with a liquid sweet cherry center instead of the traditional one with hazelnuts. 

These sweet chocolate candies have romantic quotes under the foil, making them the perfect gift for Valentine’s day!

Chocolate candies, roses and a bottle of wine is modern way of celebrating Valentine's day in Italy - The Proud Italian

The most recent tradition on Valentine’s Day in Italy is the locks of love. Young lovers attach the padlocks or “lucchetti dell amore” to bridges, railings, and lampposts and throw away the key. This new tradition should ensure that the couple stays together forever.

An interesting tradition for single ladies on Valentine’s Day is to wake up before the sunrise and take a glimpse through a window. It’s believed that the first man which an unmarried girl sees would be the one she will marry within a year or at least the man who strongly resembled him.

Fun Facts About Valentine’s Day in Italy

The tradition of “lucchetti dell’ amore” became so popular in Italy that cities placed a ban on attaching padlocks to bridges and removing them. Despite the ban, many locks of love still appear on the bridges around Italy. 

Maybe because of all the romantic scenery and dinner with candles and roses, Valentine’s day is the most popular day for couples to become engaged in Italy. If the proposal goes according to the Italian traditions, the Italian girl is presented with a diamond ring. 

Young couple celebrating Valentine's day with lanterns and holding a heart together - The Proud Italian

Every year, the city of Verona, where Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet lived, receives about 1000 letters addressed to Julia. All the letters are answered by the team of volunteers from the Juliet club, and the most touching love letter gets awarded with the “Cara Giulietta” (“Dear Juliet”) prize.

How You Can Celebrate Valentine’s Day in Italy

Italy is a place full of romantic cities, and we have a few suggestions where you and your partner can spend a romantic Italian getaway for “La Festa Degli Innamorati.”

Verona

 As we mentioned above, this town is the setting of Shakespeare’s most tragically romantic play, “Romeo and Juliet,” and the most romantic place where you can spend Valentine’s day in Italy. Juliet’s balcony is a popular place to visit where you can touch Juliet’s statue for luck in love and leave a message to Julia with your name and the name of your love.

Front of the house of Juliet in Verona, with balcony and statue of Juliet and some ivy as decoration on the house - The Proud Italian

Festival “Verona in Love” (“Un Cuore da Scoprire”) takes place on 13th and 14th February every year. You can enjoy a Valentine’s market, taste Italian wine and chocolate for free, join in the “minute-long kiss,” and stroll the streets and piazzas decorated with gorgeous red heart-shaped lights.

Camogli

This is one of the most beautiful towns in the coastal region of Liguria. Every year leading up to Valentine’s Day, it hosts a festival named “Lovers in Camogli” (“Innamorati a Camogli”). During the celebration, everything in the town gets dedicated to lovers! 

There’s a tradition to put a heart-shaped card with your name and the name of your love to fishing nets on the harbor wall. The cards that withstand the weather conditions until the end of the week are relationships that will withstand the test of time.

Camogli city viewed from the harbour with boats - The Proud Italian

You can enjoy the Valentine’s market, a special street market where you can buy sweets, pastries, jewelry, etc. You can enter a poetry and art competition or just enjoy sipping one of the cocktails in the bar’s competition over the best new cocktail with a romantic theme. 

Gondola ride

Taking a ride in flat-bottomed boats called Gondolas and exploring the canals of the beautiful city of Venice with your sweetheart sounds like a movie scene! It can be the ultimate romantic way to celebrate Valentine’s day and get away from the crowd to enjoy with your love. 

While you two lie down and enjoy the romantic ride, experienced Gondolier will take you through the heart of the town. This experience is worth remembering.

Couple on Gondola ride as a way to celebrate Valentine's day in Italy - The Proud Italian

The Different Ways of Saying I Love You in Italian

The words, the tone, and the music of the Italian language makes it the most romantic language in the world. If your significant other is an Italian or you just want to impress, here are some useful Italian phrases to express your love:

  • Ti amo! – I love you!
  • Buon San Valentino, amore mio! – Happy Valentine’s Day, my love!
  • Sei sempre nel mio cuore. – You are always in my heart.
  • Sei più bella di un angelo. – You’re more beautiful than an angel.
  • Ti amerò per sempre! – I’ll always love you!
  • Sei la mia vita. – You’re my life.

Summary

Whether you and your Amore plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Italy or at home, there’s no reason not to make it a romantic occasion. 

With your favorite Italian dish, some homemade Italian dessert, wine, candles, flowers, and some nice Italian music playing in the background, you can make your own Italian Valentine’s Day.