By Martina Ghinetti
GENOA, Italy – Thursday, February 14th. Saint Valentine’s Day. But who was St. Valentine exactly? He was an Italian bishop and martyr who lived between 176 AC and 273 AC. Although some Italian cities still celebrate this man’s sacrifice, February 14th is now internationally recognized as the festival of love.
In Italy, this is not limited to the usual cards and gifts: if it were for students, St. Valentine’s Day would be a bank holiday!
The week before the much-anticipated event, when checking my Facebook wall, I often saw very different posts. Boyfriends wrote posts like, “Ti amo” (which means, “I love you” in Italian) while others asked, "What’s the difference between a calendar and you? A calendar has a date.”
When the day actually comes, do not open Facebook or any other social network if you do not want to see love posts.
Apart from that, St. Valentine’s Day is a really popular blast in Italy. How do we celebrate? Teenagers usually go out with their boyfriend or girlfriends and exchange small, yet meaningful, gifts, although love cards and love letters are not very common.
Since Italians are very romantic, be they teenagers or adults, they very frequently buy roses for their beloved. A reminder for all the guys out there: Italian tradition says the number of roses should always be odd. And never buy yellow roses, because they signify betrayal.
What is really typical, though, are chocolates called “Baci Perugina,” produced in the city of Perugia since the 20th century. Each praline contains one love sentence.
This is it? No way!
In most cities, such as Florence or Rome, big parties are organized. But these parties are not limited to large cities. If you like quieter surroundings, you can go to smaller cities, which usually offer stunning landscapes and, of course, delicious food!
So, what’s it like in your country?