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
SEVEN OF ROME’S MOST ROMANTIC SPOTS
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!