The biggest love/hate holiday of them all: Valentine’s Day. What many people probably don’t know about Saint Valentine was that he was Umbrian-or at least that’s the story we’re sticking with. Some historians claim that there were as many as seven martyrs named Valentino. For our purposes, he is the bishop from Terni who brought lovers together by marrying them in secret. Terni is now called, “La Citta degli Innamorati”, or “The City of Lovers” as a result.
The legends about San Valentino are numerous. According to popular myth, when Valentine was in jail, a blind girl used to sneak him messages and flowers from children and lovers alike. He was in love with this girl and prayed that her sight would return. She was healed from her condition a few days before he died. He signed all his messages to her as “your Valentine”, a phrase that is still very much in use today. Another story is that he used pigeons to help break up an argument between a young couple, giving us the term “lovebirds”.
Whatever you choose to believe, you can check out the cultural events that Terni hosts all February long, including the Feast of the Promised-where couples come to be blessed in their union. I would personally be careful about this as some of my Italian friends tell me that “Marriage is the tomb of love.” If you want to see what’s left of the famous saint, be sure to visit San Valentino’s remains at his basilica as well. It’s about an hour and a half train ride from Perugia.
Sticking around Perugia? Take your sweetheart to the Perugina Chocolate Factory for a different kind of baci.
Caffe di Perugia is also hosting a romantic dinner, complete with roses and violins to woo your beloved. Dinner starts at 20.30 at Via Mazzini 10.
You can also do what I do and download a romantic movie and have an Umbrian wine as you contemplate why we celebrate the day Saint Valentine was beheaded.
If you’re still looking for that special someone to spend the night with, we advise checking out the Little Blue’s Not-Dating Guide. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Buona fortuna in amore!