St. Valentine’s Day in Rome

There are a lot of things that we attribute to the Romans – democracy, numbers, roads and Russell Crowe in a skirt for a start. But did you know that Valentine’s Day was also thought up in Rome? It’s no secret that Italians are a passionate bunch, full of fire and drama, so it hardly comes as a surprise that the patron saint of lovers was Roman. And what better way to spend Love Day St.Valentine's day in Rome than getting back to basics with a romantic weekend break in Rome??

Valentine’s story is a little murky but it goes something like this...

St. ValentineSt. Valentine was a priest who defied Emperor Claudius and was imprisoned by the wrathful ruler as punishment. While he was in prison, he was often visited by the jailer’s daughter and when he was finally executed on February 14th 269 A.D., (a date that had traditionally been devoted to love lotteries) he left a note to the girl, signing it ‘Love your Valentine’. And so the Valentine’s card was born.

romantic RomeIn romantic Rome there are endless opportunities and itineraries to choose from for a perfect Valentine’s Day. First things first though, a true Roman Valentine’s Day starts with a late morning – there’s no need to rush when you have the day and the world at your feet. After an invigorating cappuccino you trip along the cobblestones following your nose (and rumbling belly) towards a bakery that is throwing out fresh pastries – the perfect picnic ingredients.

Packing your booty into the baskets of your rented bike (you can find your Rome bike rental here) you head for the best sunny day spot – Villa Borghese, home to the Borghese Gallery and the spectacular gardens that surround it. After chowing down on your picnic sprawled out on the grass, you rush into the gallery and to a favourite sculpture, Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne. One could spend all day watching the beautiful Daphne flee lovesick Apollo, her graceful arms morphing into branches. Join a Borghese Gallery tour and listen as your guide explains their story. Here’s a hint – if that meddling cherub-faced Cupid had stayed out of it, they would never have been stuck in this eternal game of cat and mouse. The tale will leave you contemplating why it is that all epic love stories end in disaster.

Rome bike rentalBreaking away from throngs of tourists clutching Borghese gallery tickets your bellies once again call to you. A favourite romantic spot for dinner is a neighbourhood rather than a specific restaurant. Trastevere is the heart of Rome, full of life and music. Tonight it’s where all the locals are heading in search of their favourite pizzeria or trattoria in couples or with huge laughing families in tow. On a night like this a friendly, homey spot would be more appropriate than a swanky tourist spot so it’s off to local spot Ai Bozzi, one of the best restaurants in Rome, for delicious fresh fish. Strolling home after a relaxed, romantic dinner and more than the recommended daily allowance of wine, you’ll be convinced that Rome is the perfect space to spend Valentine’s Day.

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