Valentine’s Day in Romantic Rome

Valentine’s Day in Romantic Rome

Sunset over the Colosseum from the Hotel Manfrdi
The Colosseum from the Hotel Palazzo Manfredi

There are so many beautiful places in Italy, it is hard to choose which location is the most romantic, but Rome is certainly a top contender. After all, Roma spelled backwards is Amor or Love. So it is the perfect place to spend Valentine’s Day, especially if you subscribe to the story that St. Valentine was Roman.

But, who exactly was St. Valentine? According to legend, a priest named Valentinus lived in Rome in the 3rd century AD, when Claudius II (also known as Claudius the Cruel) was Emperor. Valentinus refused to obey an edict from the Emperor outlawing marriage between young couples. Claudius sentenced him to death but before his execution, he was able to smuggle a note to a young woman  and signed it “From your Valentinus.” The rest, as they say, is history. Although there are several other Valentines in history, for this particular legend, St Valentinus’s skull and bones are kept in the Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin (where the Mouth of Truth is located). They are brought out on his feast day – February 14, also known as Valentine’s Day


If you are lucky enough to spend Valentine’s Day in Rome with the love of your life, here are seven places that are likely to make you feel romantic.

A couple in the Giardino degli Aranci, Aventino
Giardino degli Aranci, Aventino

The Aventine Hill

On top of one of Rome’s seven hills, across from the Circus Maximus, is the Giardino degli Aranci (Garden of the Oranges). Surrounded by the 12th-century walls of the Savelli castle, the Garden offers magnificent views of Rome through a grove of orange trees. In season the aroma fills the air. Next to the Garden is the medieval Basilica of Santa Sabina where St. Dominic lived in the 13th century. He is credited with planting Rome’s first orange tree.

Ponte Sant'Angelo leading to the Castel Sant'Angelo, Rome
Ponte Sant’Angelo, Rome

Ponte Sant’ Angelo

One of the most famous and beautiful bridges in Rome, lined with ten beautiful sculptures of angels (designed by Bernini). It leads to the Castel Sant Angelo. Visit at sunset or in the evening for beautiful views of St. Peter’s Basilica.

Vista over Rome from the Gianicolo
The Gianicolo, overlooking Romantic Rome

Gianicolo Hill

The Gianicolo (Or Janiculum Hill), high above Trastevere, is probably Rome’s most famous spot for lovers. The panoramic view from above the city is breathtaking, especially at sunset when the lights come on below and the entire city sparkles.

Villa Borghese gardens, Giardino del Lago
Giardino del Lago, Rome

Giardino del Lago

In the middle of Villa Borghese is a small lake in the middle of which stands an Ionic-themed Temple dedicated to Aesculapius, the god of medicine. You can rent a rowboat to enjoy some time alone with only a few ducks and swans as companions. As you wander back into the city center, be sure to stroll through the equally romantic hanging garden of pines, cypresses, cedar and citrus trees.

John Keats is buried in the Protestant Cemetery, Rome
Tombstone of John Keats, Rome

Protestant Cemetery

In Testaccio, beneath the ancient Roman walls and an improbable Pyramid, is Rome’s cemetery for Protestants and other non-Catholics. Intuitively this would not be considered a “romantic” spot. However, some of the most famous Romantic poets, Percy Bysshe Shelley and John Keats, are buried here. If you wish to pay your respects on Valentine’s Day, the garden offers a welcome zone of tranquillity in Rome’s chaos.

View from the rooftop of Grand Hotel de la Minerve
St Ivo alla Sapienza from Hotel de la Minerve

Rooftop bar of the Hotel MInerve

Behind the Pantheon is the Hotel Minerve with its rooftop bar and spectacular views over the city, including the unique spire of St. Ivo. Come at sunset for an apperitivo and watch as the rooftops and domes turn different colors.

Sunset over the Colosseum from the Hotel Manfrdi
The Colosseum from the Hotel Palazzo Manfredi

Aroma restaurant on the roof of Hotel Palazzo Manfredi.

This Michelin star restaurant on the rooftop of Hotel Palazzo Manfredi has unparalleled views of the Colosseum. If you happen to visit on the night of a full moon …. It is magical! The perfect place for Valentine’s Day dinner!

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