La Festa degli Innamorati or La Festa di San Valentino – as it is known in Italy – is definitely THE most romantic day of the year.
A day dedicated to the celebration of love in all its forms, a day in which lovers show their Dolce Metà (sweet halves) how much they care about them.
Some of you could argue that there is no need to have a day dedicated to love, becuase if you are “in love” you show it every day and not just on Valentine’s Day, and I agree with you. But it has definitely become a tradition, an excuse to go do something extra, unique, something you don’t always get to do in our busy lives today. It could be some time alone, a couple spa day, a weekend away, or the most simple but effective of all… a special dinner.
Italians, you know it, are passionate, hot blooded people. Love, just like food, is deeply intricated in our culture. There are plenty of legends that reconnect our lovely country with the most tormented love stories known to the world.
Romeo and Juliet, for example, lived in Verona, which over the years has become one of the most sought after Valentine’s destinations all around Europe. Venice as well can be listed among the most romantic cities, though its main connection with love was the famous (or maybe should we say infamous) Giacomo Casanova and his numerous love affairs.
The we have the city of Terni, probably the most unexpected one. For those of you who have never heard of it, Terni is a small town in Umbria, one of the regions of central Italy, and it is the birthplace of St. Valentine himself. Patron saint of the city and known as “the proctector of lovers”, Valentino is quite a mysterious (historical) figure. There are many legends connected to him, which is what makes it difficult to exactly tell if he really lived and when. But some of these legends are quite similar to one another, hence why they are considered to be about the same person.
Valentinus, his Latin name, was a Roman priest martyred during the reign of Claudius Gothicus. He was arrested and imprisoned upon being caught marrying Christian couples and helping Christians who were at the time being persecuted by the Emperor Claudius in Rome. He was then sentenced to death and beheaded for trying to convert the Emperor himself to become a Christian. Many years later, when this was discovered, the Pope of the time decided to name him Saint and assigned the 14th of February to his memory.
And that is – allegedly – why Valentine’s Day is on the 14th of February. But, how do people in Italy celebrate it?
Some say it with flowers, presents, box of chocolates. A typical Italian tradition are Baci Perugina.
Perugina, the renowned Italian chocolate maker, are the go-to chocolate choice for this day. They usually make a special edition of their uber-famous Baci (kisses, in Italian) just for Valentine’s Day. The classic Bacio is a delicious chocolate bite with a nutty inside and covered in dark chocolate. Its peculiarity is that each and every single one of them contains a tiny strip of paper with a quote on, usually about love.
The majority of people, though, will celebrate it with a romantic dinner in a restaurant they particularly like, staring in each other’s eyes and whispering words into each other’s ear all night.
So… if you can’t organise a quick last minute trip to Italy, the closest you can get to the romantic atmosphere of an Italian city, is with us at Antico – your little Italian paradise in the middle of Jesmond.
Special menu available:
Two Courses for £24.95 or Three Courses for £29.95.
plus Live Entertainment by the one and only King of Swing Jason Isaacs, who will delight your evening with some true romantic classics!
For a sneak peak of Jason in action on stage click on the link below: https://www.facebook.com/anticorestaurantjesmond/videos/746007075580528/
*Please note: A deposit of £10 is required with your booking.