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Italy’s most romantic hotels and traditions

4 min read

Italy’s most romantic hotels and traditions
Love is in the air. Whether you’re unwinding lakeside, listening to an aria in one of Italy’s many teatros, or floating along on a gondola, everything about this country oozes romance and love. As Valentines fast approaches, we take you into the country’s most romantic traditions.
Photo of a couple walking through countryside
Italians always speak the language of love: through their tastebuds, music, art, and even words! You’ll find couples old and young holding hands as they walk, engrossed in conversation or comfortable silence. Friends greet one another with hugs and a couple of kisses on each cheek, and phrases that are spoken melt hearts with their embellished and seductive Romanticism.
As Dante Alighieri wrote in The Divine Comedy, it’s l'amor che move il sole e l'altre stelle: the love that moves the sun and the other stars.

Valentine: The Love Saint

The entire amorous tradition of Valentine’s Day began in Italy, established in 496 AD by Pope Gelasius I. There are speculations over who Saint Valentine was as the Catholic Church recognises three saints with this name, and there are many more folk tales and legends about his notoriety. He may have been the martyred Roman priest, Valentine of Rome, executed on the 14th of February. Legend has it that he ignored a rule outlawing marriage for young men destined for battle and instead performed marriage rites in secret. Another story says he restored sight to the blind daughter of his jailer. Or it might have been the martyred Christian bishop, Valentine of Terni. Since the Middle Ages the 14th of February has become a day for celebrating courtly romantic love worldwide, and many Italian villages have adopted San Valentino as their patron saint. The day is known as festa degli innamorati: the day of the lovers.
Picture of a couple sitting by the Colliseum

Locks of Love

The contemporary tradition of attaching padlocks to bridges that are inscribed with you and your lover’s initials began in Rome. The concept of lucchetti dell'amore, or love locks, came out of a bestselling Italian love story, Ho voglia di te, by author Federico Moccia, in which a young couple attached a padlock to Rome’s Ponte Milvio before throwing the key into the River Tiber. While the Italian authorities have banned this practice and tried to remove the many padlocks, you’ll still see them on many bridges, from the Ponte dell'Accademia in Florence to the Ponte di Rialto in Venice.
Image of padlocks with writing on them

The Wedding Band

Did you know it was ancient Romans who invented the wedding band? Women wore a plain iron band to symbolise a lasting contract of ownership between her father and new husband. By the third century, bridegrooms engaged skilled Roman goldsmiths to craft bands made from silver and gold, which were to demonstrate that the man trusted his new wife with this wealth. Today, the tradition of swapping rings is very present in Italy, and you’ll find couples wearing a fede motif: a ring carved with two clasped hands, sometimes holding a heart, as a token of loyalty and faith.
An image of a couple sitting having dinner

Italy’s Most Romantic Hotels

If you wish to experience these romantic traditions for yourself, have a look at some of Italy’s most romantic hotels:
Hotel Villa Belvedere | Sicily ★ ★ ★ ★
Tucked away on the hills of Taormina with sweeping views over the Ionian Sea, this boutique family-run hotel offers a friendly atmosphere, with traditionally furnished elegant rooms, and a shuttle service to nearby beaches.
Image of terrace and swimming pool
Due Torri Hotel | Verona ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Right in the medieval heart of Verona just steps away from Casa di Giulietta, this 14th century hotel has accommodated Mozart, Goethe and Garibaldi, and boasts a first-class service, with precious antiques filling the sumptuous interiors.
Dining table with a sunset background
Hotel Santa Caterina | Amalfi ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
From its decadent clifftop position, this family-run hotel flourishes with grand aristocracy with its cascading terraced gardens and panoramas across the Neapolitan Riviera. A perfect tranquil hideaway.
Image of a piano and restautant
Hotel Londra Palace | Venice ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Cast your eyes over the Venetian lagoon or the San Marco basin with a charming stay in this old-world palazzo, featuring individually designed rooms and an award-winning waterfront bar. A top-notch concierge service provides bespoke, exclusive experiences.
Drinks and food on a table
Palazzo Avino | Ravello ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Experience 12th century palatial prestige in this dreamy hotel, exquisitely furnished in fresh hues. Expect pure bliss, from a rooftop relaxation terrace with breathtaking views over the Amalfi Coast to a calming spa and Michelin-starred restaurant.
Image of swimming pool and the sea
Villa Del Sogno | Lake Garda ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
An amorous stay awaits in this 19th century hotel, which is set in secluded gardens with classical interiors and modern comforts. Enjoy candlelit dinners on the terrace as you gaze across Lake Garda.
Picture of villa with garden

Discover the real Italy with Citalia   

Are you ready to be transported into a world of romance? Citalia are the UK’s leading Italy specialist with over 90 years' experience in tailoring holidays to Italy. Experts are on hand every step of the way to ensure you make memories to last a lifetime. It’s never too late to start planning your Italian escape!  
Visit citalia.com to discover the real Italy on your next adventure.
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