There is a reason why Italy is called the Belpaese, “Beautiful Country”.
If you are thinking of doing something different with your Valentine for the most romantic day of the year, here are my best suggestions on where to go and what to do in Italy with your dolce metà, your sweet half, for a St Valentine’s Day to always remember.
Why not visit one of Italy’s borghi? A borgo is a village or a small town which retains many of its traditional and historical characteristics, in terms of both culture and architecture. Stone houses, charming winding alleys, small churches, quirky restaurants where to try great traditional Italian dishes, boutiques to buy local artisanal products and stunning landscape: all of this and more you can experience in Italian borghi. The perfect destination to spend a sweet romantic weekend. But where to go?
Borghetto, near Verona (Lombardy)
One of the most romantic spots in Italy, Borghetto has been awarded a place in the “Most beautiful borghi in Italy” list, thanks to its historical town, which is located on the valley of the Mincio River, dominated by the charming ancient remains of a castle. In Borghetto you and your partner will be able to admire the typical Italian windmills and try the tigella, traditional round breadstraditionally eaten filled withcunza, a spread made from pork and flavoured with garlic and rosemary or with cold cuts, boar, rabbit, cheese, salty dressings or, my favourite version, sweet spreads. Only a 30-minute drive from the most famous romantic Italian city, Verona, declare your love for each other at the celebrated shakespearean setting, Juliet’s House, or at the famous Pozzo dell’Amore, Well of Love.
Manarola and Riomaggiore, near La Spezia (Liguria)
Unmissable are these two of the 5 borghi of Cinque Terre, joint by the Via dell’Amore, the Love Walk. A walkable path with romantic views of the sea, celebrated for the beauty of its panorama. Moreover, Manarola and Riomaggiore have gifted us with some of the views which have made this Italian location famous all over the world: houses of vivid colours which almost appear to arise directly from the cliffs, one close to the other, cultivated terraces with grapevines and olive trees. Go there and join the couples who have already been stunned by such beauty. If you have time, you can visit all five of the borghi, which are well linked by a rail service.
- Bagno Vignoni, near Siena (Tuscany)
Imagine spending a romantic weekend in a tiny village, in the heart of Tuscany, built around a wide rectangular basin filled with thermal water and with great SPAs where you and your sweetheart can relax together. The houses and the church of Bagno Vignoni crown the so-called Piazza of the Springs, whose waters were already enjoyed by the Etruscans and the Romans. You and your loved one can share a typical meal of crostini, traditional pici -handmade pasta similar to fat spaghetti- and grilled meats, needs of course to finish with a generous serving of cantucci -the famous and delicious Italian almond biscotti- dipped in wine, or better still Vinsanto. After these wonderful Italian food dishes, you can take a romantic stroll and relax at the Parco Naturale dei Mulini, Mills Park, between streams of thermal water and adorable views of the valley, while enjoying a box of Italian Lavolio chocolates.
- Castelsardo, near Sassari (Sardinia)
Rising from a promontory which looks out on the Gulf of Asinara, Castelsardo offers a succession of small bays and rocky cliffs. It cannot be said that this borgo comes without good references: it’s part of Sardinia’s seven Citta’ Regie, Royal Cities, of the Les Plus Beaux Villages de la Terre, The Most Beautiful Villages of the World and, of course, of the list of the Most Beautiful Borghi in Italy. I also add it, without a doubt, to the most romantic places in Italy too, especially because it’s as beautiful in the winter as in summer. Say “I love you” to each other while admiring the panorama which looks out onto Corse, and you’ll see I’m telling the truth!
Of course, if you don’t have time to travel all the way to Italy, the closest thing if for you and your loved one to experience a delicious gift of handmade Italian confectionery! At Lavolio you will find sweets and chocolates to suit your Valentine’s tastes, winning their heart with a unique foodie gift that they surely will not forget.
I hope you enjoyed my list of the most romantic hidden gems in Italy, and you will visit the Belpaese with your soulmate for the perfect Valentine’s day. With beautiful scenery, delicious food and a box of Lavolio, your love is sure to last forever!