Why shoud you ever spend Valentine’s day in Rome? Just because it is one of the most beautiful cities on earth and as such inspires noble feelings? Well, that could be a good reason for enjoying a long weekend in Rome, but there are also interesting historical reasons.
Valentine was a bishop here in Rome and according to some, the tradition started when he helped a fighting couple to make peace with a rose and some wise words. Valentine then became a saint and his grave (actually a catacomb) is in Rome. According to others, in ancient Rome, during the reign of the emperor Claudius II, many marriages were cancelled to convince men to leave their cities and join war, but Valentine secretly celebrated new marriages and when he was found out, he was sentenced to death on February 14, 270 AD.
In any case, February 14 had always had a special relationship with love in ancient Rome. It was a holiday to honour the goddess of Women and Marriage and on February 15 the Fertility Festival started.
But let’s get back to our times and have a look at the romantic stuff couples can do in and around Rome from February 10 to February 20. February 20?? Yes, it might sound weird but in Terni, a city in Umbria but very close to Rome by train whose patron is Saint Valentine, they hold a marathon on Sunday the 20th dedicated to lovers, that follows a very romantic route along valleys, lakes and water falls!
And what about the 10th, isn’t it a bit too early? Not for the collective exhibit “Art Lover Passion in Rome” that will be inaugurated at 6pm. The exposition gathers artworks that have passion and love as their main theme.
On the 11th the TramJazz crew start their Hello Love concert and perform it every night until the 14th (double concert on that night). To know more about this romantic candle-light dinner on a historical tram in the heart of Rome, read our story.
On February 12 and 13 (not the 14th since all landmarks are closed on Mondays) couples can enter state monuments and museums paying just one ticket. For a complete list of places applying the “For Valentine’s Day Fall In Love With Art” special tariff in Rome and surroundings, look here. I suggest Galleria Borghese (my favorite museum in Rome), the Roman Forum and the Colosseum (the very heart of Rome), the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica (recently restored and renovated) and the nearby Museo Nazionale Etrusco (with the most romantic couple from the past: the Sarcophagus of the Spouses).
On February 13 you can find last-minute presents for your loved one in the “Waiting for Valentine’s day market” in Bracciano, a nice city overlooking a lake with a beautiful castle, only an hour away from Rome by train.
A different celebration will be carried out by bikers in the Sabina area. From breakfast to lunch the MotoClub Valli Sabine will show you the most romantic places of this province from a bike.
And we have finally come to the actual Valentine’s day, Monday the 14th. At Teatro Eliseo the quintessence of Romanticism Romeo and Juliet (in Italian) will be on stage.
Two very original dinners will take place in two castles just out of Rome: the Castelluccia Castle, along the Via Cassia (north of Rome) and the Orsini Castle – where you can also spend the night after dinner.
If you are after something more active, such as a parachute jump or an airplane tour, give a look to what they’ve organized here for Valentine’s Day.
And what is Rome’s most romantic kissing location? The Gianicolo hill, of course.