St. Valentine’s Rome
Rome is a city full of romantic possibilities - wander the narrow, cobblestoned streets; wine and cheese at a cosy wine bar; take in the city view from one of its many hilltop locations… the list goes on. If you’re struggling for especially romantic ways to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day in Rome, here are a few more ideas for you. And if you’re not coupled up this February 14, don’t worry because February 15 is the feast day of St. Faustino, patron saint of singles! This is even being celebrated at Eataly with a ‘single menu’ cooking course and at Teatro Vittoria with the performance of a play called “Singles” (from 12 to 24 Feb). Tickets from €14. Book here. Couples, read on!
Go to dinner
Being a creature of habit, I like to stay close to home (the Vatican) or at least have a lovely view of it! Hence, my top two recommendations for the ultimate romantic dinner – which obviously includes champagne and oysters – are Da Benito e Gilberto (Vaticano) and Mirabelle on the 7th floor terrace of the Hotel Splendide Royal (Via Veneto).
At Benito e Gilberto, in the tradition started by their grandfather, Gilberto's daughters take extra special care of guests both in the kitchen and in the cosy, nautically-themed dining room. Here you can be sure that the fish you select is the one you will eat!
Go to the theatre
Two films with love story themes are being released in Italy on 14 February. American film “La Vita in un Attimo” (Life Itself) and Italian film “Un’Avventura” (An Adventure) are about to hit Roman cinemas. There’s every chance the American film will also be shown in English (with Italian subtitles) at one of three central locations which play films in their original language: Multisala Barberini, Nuovo Olimpia and Cinema Intrastevere. Check Rome Review for updates.
The Danish Dance Theatre is performing “Siren” at the Auditorium, Parco della Musica on February 14 at 9.00pm. Tickets €27. Book here.
Also that evening at the Auditorium, enjoy “Mozart in Viaggio” by the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia at 7.30pm. Prior to the concert there is the option of an aperitif. Tickets from €19. Book here.
See the Northern Lights in Rome – well live-streamed from Lapland onto the dome of the Auditorium’s Sala Sinopoli. Free viewing every evening from sundown, from 10 February to 26 March. More info here.
At the Teatro Ghione in Via delle Fornaci 37, the romantic play “Le Notti Bianche” is being performed from 12 to 17 February. Tickets €23. Book here.
Go to a cooking lesson or have a picnic
Learn to cook delicious Syrian food with Hummustown! Hummustown helps refugees in Rome gain economic independence by providing them with a dignified income generating job opportunity – to cook, package, deliver and serve delicious Syrian food around Rome. And now they’re teaching this art! Lessons €30 per person. Only four places left on 14 February.
Hummustown are also providing special St. Valentine PICNIC lunches facing the Fori Imperiali, including a basket full of goodies, a blanket, bottle of rosé wine and cutlery. Price only 15€ per person. To book a cooking class or your picnic, email: email@example.com
Eataly has a selection of gift baskets, food experiences, degustations and cooking courses all for St. Valentine’s Day. And, if that fails, just dine in at one of their wonderful food outlets. Book it all here.
Most of Rome is still on sale after Christmas, but not for much longer! So don’t wait until Valentine’s Day to buy her that gift (hint, hint)! But if you do, the Castel Romano Designer Outlets are offering special Valentine’s Day discounts. There’s a regular shuttle which leaves from Rome’s Termini Station (Via Giolitti 48) for €15 return.
Go to church
February 14 is the official Feast Day of San Valentino, an Italian bishop martyred in Rome on this day in the year 273 for refusing to renounce his faith after word spread to the emperor that he had been secretly marrying couples and converting them to Christianity.
St. Valentine features in Byzantine-style mosaics in the Basilica of Santa Prassede (FB), in a small side street close to the Basilica of St. Mary Major. Walk down the left side of the church to the Chapel of St. Zeno. Be sure to put some coins in the machine at the entrance to be wowed by the 9th century mosaics which completely cover the chapel. On top of the doorway you’ll see an image of the Virgin Mary between Saints Valentine and Zeno. This chapel is also a major pilgrimage site because it contains part of the column to which Jesus was bound as he was scourged. Open daily 7.00-12.00 and 15.00-18.30.
The Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin (FB) was built in the late 700’s, with a Romanesque bell tower added in the 12th century, and actually contains the relics of St. Valentine. His skull and bones are permanently on display in a glass reliquary. This church is most famously known for the Bocca della Verità (Mouth of Truth) on its portico but brush past the line today to pay your respects to St. Valentine. Open daily 9.30-17.00.