The romantic Festival of Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Italy as it is in the United States, however the tradition of Valentine’s Day is a little different in Italy.
History of Valentine’s Day in Italy
Valentine’s Day was initially celebrated as a Spring Festival in Italy. Celebration for the day was held in the open air. Young people would gather in tree arbors or ornamental gardens and enjoy listening to music and reading poetry. Later they would stroll off with their Valentine into the gardens. The custom steadily ceased over the course of years and has not been celebrated for centuries.
Early Valentine’s Day Tradition in Italy
In the Italian City of Turin, engaged or betrothed couples used to announce their engagement on the Valentine’s Day. Several days ahead of February 14, stores were decorated and loaded with a huge variety of Valentine’s Day treats. Some even sold glass or china baskets and Deruta Ceramics or trays filled with delectable Valentine’s Day candies and tied with a ribbon.
Another interesting Valentine’s Day tradition followed in Italy and Britain had single girls and women waking up before sunrise. People strongly believed that the first man an unmarried girl would see on Valentine’s Day, would marry within a year. Girls therefore used to wake up early on Valentine’s Day and stand by their window waiting for a single man to pass by.
Valentine’s Day Celebration in Italy –
People of Italy see Valentine’s Day as a holiday imported from US, just like Halloween and Mother’s Day. For the love and lovers country of Italy, the major day for celebration of love is il giorno della festa degli innamorati. As lovers’ exclusively celebrate this day family members and friends do not exchange gifts.
In recent times however, couples in Italy celebrate Valentine’s Day by expressing their love to sweethearts. Couples usually go out for dinners at pizzeria or ristorante, just like in the US.
There is a strong tradition still, to exchange gifts like flowers, perfume bottles, Murano Glass hearts, chocolates, and if someone is really lucky, diamonds.
Another popular Valentine’s Day gift in Italy is Baci Perugina – a small, chocolate-covered hazelnuts containing a small slip of paper with a romantic poetic quote in four languages.