Love is all you need and if you are lucky enough to find yourself in the Northern Italian region of the Veneto on 14th February 2019, you will soon discover that love is all around you, too.
After all, the Veneto is not only home to two of the most romantic cities on earth – Venice and Verona – but every February, it also goes to great lengths to stage some of the most exciting and original festivals dedicated to love and to St. Valentine!
Expect an abundance of hearts, some centuries-old events and even a chance to glimpse the relics of St. Valentine himself.
The best bit is that you don’t really need to be in love in order to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day in the Veneto. For there are two saints called Valentine that are venerated here on 14th February. One is the priest Valentine of Rome – the patron saint of lovers, courtly love and beekeepers. The other is the bishop Valentine of Terni – the protector from epilepsy, fainting spells, plague, madness, gout and uterine diseases, he is also the patron saint of Terni, youth, and travellers. It is not quite clear if they were the same person or two different people in life. Different scholars have expressed opposing opinions on the matter.
In any case, the hand of St. Valentine of Rome is kept in the Church of San Samuele in Venice, whereas the body of St. Valentine of Terni is in the small Church of St. George in the Seven Churches Sanctuary in the medieval walled town of Monselice near Padua.
So, to give you some ideas how to spend 14th February 2019 in the Veneto, here is a lovely shortlist of the best St. Valentine’s events to take place here. There are so many options that you can easily turn it into a St. Valentine’s week instead of just a day! And, depending on your current romantic status, you can decide for yourself which of the two St. Valentines to honour this year.
Read on! Hearts and peace!
8 St. Valentine’s Events in the Veneto, Northern Italy to Celebrate in 2019
1. Verona in Love
This is the largest love fest in the Veneto taking place on the occasion of St. Valentine’s Day. Verona is, after all, the city forever linked in our hearts with the story of Romeo and Juliet and the organisers of the festival take full advantage of this fact every year putting up together a long list with events under the sign of love.
The 2019 edition of Verona in Love begins on 9th February and it will last nine days until the 17th February under the slogan of ‘If you love someone, bring them to Verona’. Expect lots of cool happenings and special offers specifically tailored for couples in love.
Some of the highlights are: reduced entry for couples to Verona’s sights, theatrical performances, interactive guided visits, and award-giving ceremonies including the one organised by Juliet Club for the best-written letters sent to Juliet.
As always, Juliet’s House will be the unofficial meeting point for all people in love or in lust. On 14th February, choose a spot in its courtyard and observe the marriage proposals taking place one after the other on the famous balcony. It’s quite heart-warming, really.
2. Lago di Garda in Love
This is another large festival in the Veneto dedicated to love. It takes place simultaneously in several of the small towns dotted on the shores of Lago di Garda – Italy’s largest lake. From Peschiera del Garda to Torri del Benaco you can attend a series of events and feel the love from the 14th to the 17th February 2019.
Some of the highlights of the festival are: a love walk of 3000 steps between the towns of Bardolino and Garda, artisan markets, culinary tastings, and major sights illuminated in red every night. In Torri del Benaco don’t miss the Terrace of Love and the red Heart of the Lake. The former will offer a romantic view over Lake Garda. If you kiss your loved one in the latter, this will bring good fortune to both of you.
3. Lido in Love
Lido is the long and narrow island in the Venetian lagoon where each September the world-renowned Venice International Film Festival takes place. For the past few years, 14th February has been celebrated there with a day-long event called Lido in Love.
The highlights for 2019 are a romantic market, Radio Venezia broadcasting live, horse rides and a flashmob. There will even be a chance to win a romantic helicopter ride over Venice.
4. Love Week 2019 Hosted by the National Archaeological Museum of Venice
With its central location at St. Mark’s Square, the National Archaeological Museum of Venice is right in the heart of the City of Water. It has a priceless collection of ancient Greek and Roman sculptures, ceramics and coins. The best thing about the museum is that it organises some of the most exciting and fresh events to enjoy as a discerning traveller in Venice.
This year, the museum is holding a Love Week 2019 to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day with its visitors. Between the 11th and the 17th February 2019, all couples visiting the National Archaeological Museum of Venice are invited to take a selfie in front of the statue of Eros and to recount the story of their first date. The best selfies shared online with the hashtags #shareart, #sharelove and #museoarcheologicovenezia will be then published in the museum’s social channels. Click here for more details.
On 14th February 2019, the museum offers two free guided tours to visitors with a ‘Musei di Piazza San Marco’ or ‘Museum Pass’ ticket. The hour-long tours will be on the topic of ‘Love Myths’ and will start at 3.00 pm and 4.00 pm. Click here to book in advance and for more details.
5. Jesolo in Love
Jesolo is a coastal town in the Veneto which is famous for its beaches and resorts. The annual Jesolo in Love festival will take place from the 14th to the 17th February 2019.
Some of the highlights are live concerts and DJ sets, a romantic rain of paper hearts, a heart labyrinth made of balloons, a creative workshop for kids, and a heart-shaped artisan market. Click here for full details.
6. Cittadella’s Romantic Panorama
Cittadella is one of my most favourite medieval walled towns in the Veneto. This beautiful town is completely encircled by a centuries-old defensive wall which can be walked on for amazing views of Cittadella, the Venetian plains and the Venetian Pre-Alps.
On the evening of the 14th February 2019, the wall’s Tower of Malta will be open between 9.00 pm and midnight so that couples and singles can experience the magical nocturnal panorama from a height of 30 m. The cost of entry is 3 euros and includes a small dessert provided by a local patisserie. You don’t need to book in advance. The Tower of Malta is on Via Stradella del Cristo in Cittadella.
7. 503rd Edition of the Fair of St. Valentine in Pozzoleone
Pozzoleone is a small town in the province of Vicenza in the Veneto, Northern Italy. For over 500 years the town has staged a large agricultural fair dedicated to St. Valentine each February.
In 2019, the fair will take place from the 8th to the 17th February. Expect lots of tasty local food, a luna park, live music, DJ sets, cultural meet-ups, a street market with over 300 stalls, an open-air exhibition of vintage cars and tractors, an animal market. The programme is different on different days. For full details have a look here.
The fair is a chance to experience Veneto’s local traditions first-hand. Over five centuries old, the fair originated around Pozzoleone’s Church of St. Valentine which was established by Benedectine monks.
8. St. Valentine’s Day in Monselice
Monselice is a ravishing medieval walled town near Padua in the Veneto, Northern Italy. The town is famous for its castle and for the Seven Churches Sanctuary (Santuario delle Sette Chiese). The latter is an important Christian centre of religious pilgrimage. The seven small churches were built at the start of the 17th century and named after the seven major basilicas of Rome.
The seventh church is dedicated to St. George and it’s the final resting place of the relics of several Proto-Christian martyrs which were moved there from Rome at the start of the 18th century. Among them is St. Valentine of Terni who is believed to protect from epilepsy and many other diseases.
A study conducted in 2017 by a group of scientists from the University of Padua established that the bones and the skull of St. Valentine of Terni had belonged to a man of about 25 years of age and 166 cm of height. It was also confirmed that the young man had lived in a period between 119 AD and 338 AD.
The study couldn’t conclusively confirm that the relics are indeed of St. Valentine though. According to the legend, St. Valentine was beheaded yet the relics kept in the Church of St. George in Monselice do not show signs of violent trauma. The study, however, allowed the scientists to recreate the face of the young man. You can see an image here (attention, it’s quite staggering, especially if you look at it late at night) or you can see a 3D model of the head in the church itself.
Every year, Monselice celebrates St. Valentine’s Day with a number of events. The most important among them all is the distribution of the blessed ‘golden keys’. These small keys are traditionally purchased by mothers for their small children to protect them from illnesses. In recent years, couples have also started to use them as a symbol of their love.
Head to Monselice on the 9th and the 10th February 2019 for a city-wide celebration of St. Valentine. There will be an artisan market, a street performance and reduced prices to visit the local sights. On 14th February 2019, return to Monselice for the traditional blessing of the keys followed by a celebration. You will find full details on the city’s official website here.
14th February is a widely celebrated day in the different cities and towns of the Veneto – a region in Northern Italy. You don’t really need to be in love though in order to take part. For there are two St. Valentines that are honoured there – one is St. Valentine of Roma who is the patron saint of lovers and the other is St. Valentine of Terni who protects from epilepsy.
The above article provides details about eight of the most important St. Valentine’s celebrations taking place in the Veneto around 14th February 2019. There are many exciting festivals and events, so take a look.
Are you a romantic soul who loves celebrating St. Valentine’s? Or do you think that 14th February is a rather commercialised holiday? Let me know on which side of the love-cum-marketing fence you stand.
Happy St. Valentine’s Day!
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