Valentine’s Day is only a month away, and we think this is the year to do something special. Beat the January blues (and the January weather) and plan a romantic city break in one of the most passionate countries in the world. Incredible food, culture and, of course, gondolas, Italy’s historic cities are the ideal backdrop for a whirlwind weekend of romance. Sound perfect? We’ve rounded up the best places to spend Valentine’s Day in Italy.
Venice could only be first on our list. This beautiful city draws lovers from all over the world to take a gondola along the Grand Canal against a mesmerising backdrop. It’s also the perfect city to explore on foot. Every stroll is a romantic one, and don’t be afraid to get lost – follow the narrow pavements and open piazzas and stop off at a local bacaro. These little Venetian wine bars are where locals go for nibbles and a glass of wine – similar to Spanish tapas bars. They’re ideal for an authentic alternative to a candlelit dinner.
Must-do: a gondola for two
If you’re in Venice on Valentine’s Day, a gondola ride is essential – it’s a classic experience for a reason. There’s nothing more romantic than gliding along Venice’s canals, under its bridges and past exquisite architecture while you cosy up. You can even have someone serenade you…
For Valentine’s Day in Italy, Rome is a strong contender. The city was made for la passeggiata – a leisurely stroll – and the sights are as romantic as they come. The famous monuments are all the more breathtaking at night when lit up and glowing. For a Valentine’s Day twist on traditional sightseeing, try our Rome by Night Panoramic Tour, guiding you through must-see sites at their most magical. You’ll also get to stop off for a walk around the Trevi Fountain, the perfect photo op to remember your trip by.
Must-do: dine in style
For a truly memorable San Valentino, the only choice is La Pergola. Lauded by critics as the best restaurant in Rome, La Pergola sits on the rooftop of the magnificent Rome Cavalieri hotel, and is known for its panoramic views of Rome and exquisite interior as much as its three Michelin star menu.
Verona’s star power comes from being the setting to Shakespeare’s most famous play. This Valentine’s Day, visit Juliet’s house and the balcony where she gazed out upon Romeo, and touch the bronze statue of her that supposedly will bring you luck in your own love life (not that you’ll need it if you take your lover to Verona for San Valentino). Since it’s the day to indulge, take a wander down Verona’s Via Mazzini. Better known as the Golden Mile, this famous shopping street is home to the likes of Gucci, Prada and Cartier.
Must-do: find one another in Giusti gardens
After some retail therapy, visit the beautiful Giardino Giusti, Verona’s famous Renaissance gardens that provide an oasis of calm in the city. The garden’s mythical maze is the stuff of local legend, too – rumour has it, if two lovers can find one another in the maze, they’re meant to be….
The heart of Renaissance Italy, Florence is an art lover’s dream, with its romantic piazzas and breathtaking architecture set against the backdrop of the winding river Arno. Spend a day wandering through the galleries and see Michelangelo’s David for yourself, or head to the Uffizi Gallery for Botticelli’s masterpieces including Venus Rising. Take a break with a delicious cone of gelato – we love Gelateria La Carraia on Piazza Nazario Sauro for the best flavours.
Must-do: become wine experts
You can’t visit Tuscany without visiting the countryside to experience the fruit of its region. Wine tours can whisk you from Florence to Tuscan vineyards and olive groves, where you can explore the local villages and taste the Chianti over a romantic lunch.