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January 08th, 2018

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Italy is one of the most romantic places on Earth. Discover why…

If Paris is the city of love, then Italy is surely its country. Lovely seaside villages perfect for an al fresco lunch and bottle of wine for two, acres of vineyards inviting an impromptu picnic, and the most marvelous historic cities bursting with glorious artwork, sculptures, and romantic settings for a stolen kiss—this is Italy for lovers.

Looking for the perfect place to celebrate love on Valentine’s Day this year? Look no further than Italy—surprise your lover with these one-of-a-kind romantic adventures for a Valentine’s Day you’ll remember forever.

1. Conjure your inner Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck and have your own “Roman Holiday.”

Audrey Hepburn as the fugitive Princess Ann, and Gregory Peck in his role as Joe Bradley the journalist, bring the most romantic settings in Rome to life.

Dance under the stars in front of the Castel Sant’Angelo, lean against the wall of the Temple of Saturn in the Roman Forum, and sip champagne for lunch at one of the charming cafes in the Piazza della Rotonda in the shadow on the Pantheon.

Snap a selfie while you share a gelato on the Spanish Steps and end your “Roman Holiday” admiring the paintings in the Palazzo Colonna. You’re the star of your very own Italian romance.

2. Sample the heavenly scents and elixirs at the Santa Maria Novella in Florence, where Catherine de Medici bought her own signature fragrance.

The Dominican monks at the Santa Maria Novella have been making elixirs, oils, and perfumes since the 14th century. Decked with fabulous Renaissance frescoes, the church is tucked away from the tourist sections of Florence, a hidden gem to be discovered by lovers.

Shop for delicate hand-wrought soaps, sweet-smelling sachets, and of course, Acqua della Regina, literally “water of the queen,” the fragrance created just for Catherine de Medici. The monks make their scents and elixirs in the ancient way, unchanged from Medieval times. Take home something lovely to remind you of your romantic getaway in Florence.

3. Buy a lucchetti d’amore to lock in your love and throw away the key on the Ponte Vecchio.

The Ponte Vecchio is garlanded with thousands of Padlocks of Love, a custom that began during the Great War, when soldiers would leave the locks as a promise to return to their loves at home.

Things got a little crazy in Italy after the release of the wildly popular movie “Ho Voglia di Te,” or “I Want You.” A scene in the movie shows the couple writing their names on a padlock and locking it to a lamppost before throwing the key in the River Arno.

4. Go horseback riding through Tuscany’s breathtaking Chianti region.

Just speaking the name “Tuscany” conjures up the most romantic images of picnics, wine, sunshine, and newly awakened love. Remember the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun?” Of course you do.

Now imagine upping the romance quotient by about a thousand and picture yourself on a romantic horseback ride with your love through the rolling vineyards and enjoying a bottle of Chianti, that most iconic Tuscan wine. Does it get any better than this? We don’t think so.

5. A little more romance and wine? Taste your way through the Tuscan wine trail.

Tuscany is home to some of the most startlingly beautiful landscapes in all of Italy—and there’s no more romantic way to view them than on a wine-tasting tour along the Tuscan wine trail.

Sample classic Chianti as well as the region’s other classic appellations, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano—accompanied by incredible food showcasing delectable Tuscan cuisine. It’s an oenophile’s paradise, made even better in the company of someone you love.

6. Have a Bellini or two at Harry’s Bar at Cipriani in Venice.

The magnificent Bellini, Venice’s iconic cocktail, was born at Harry’s Bar in 1948. Giuseppe Cipriani, owner of Harry’s Bar, was inspired to create the cocktail from his love for paintings by Giovanni Bellini. White peaches were abundant in Italy in the spring, and Cipriani wanted to find a way to capture their fragrance and beautiful pink flesh in a drink for his guests.

A little peach puree, a splash of Prosecco—the perfect drink for warm Venice afternoons. Sip a Bellini and watch the parade of passers by on the Piazza San Marco.

7. Stroll the Grand Canal and sample cicchetti at the charming waterside bàcari.

What could be more romantic than sharing small plates with your love as you watch the gondoliers glide by on the Grand Canal? Cicchetti is Venice’s answer to Spanish tapas, and it’s every bit as fresh, fabulous, and seafood rich as you’d imagine. A little branzino, a succulent baked cuttlefish, and the ubiquitous sarde in saor, all washed down with an ombra, or glass of local wine.

It’s a lovely way to cap off an afternoon exploring Venice’s maze of canals by boat.

8. While away the day at Santa Croce Beach on the Amalfi Coast.

Picture this: An exhilarating boat ride over the azure waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea, a secluded beach dotted with bright yellow umbrellas, and hours alone with your love under the brilliant Mediterranean sun. That’s your day at Santa Croce Beach.

And when you tire of sun and sea, make your way to the impossibly charming towns on the Amalfi Coast—Ravello, Positano, Amalfi, Sorrento—for a sip of limoncello and a light snack of bruschetta or caprese salad.

9. Who needs wine and cheese when you can visit the “Chocolate Valley” in Tuscany.

If you’re really after la dolce vita, you simply must share some Italian chocolate with someone you love. And no one does it better than the artisans in Tuscany’s “Chocolate Valley.” Try Amadei for deliciously rich Toscano Black Chocolate, or Roberto Catinari, Pistoia’s original chocolatier, for delicately beautiful handmade creations.

10. Steal a kiss on the Terrace of Infinity in the fabulous gardens of Villa Cimbrone in Ravello.

Villa Cimbrone is perhaps the crown jewel of Ravello. Its Terrace of Infinity is aptly named—the magnificent views of the Amalfi Coast go on forever. Wander the lush gardens of the villa and end your afternoon contemplating your future together as you gaze at the sea below. Gore Vidal once called it the “most beautiful view in the world.”

The villa itself is the site of countless romantic getaways—D.H. Lawrence, Greta Garbo, and E.M. Forster all sang of its charms. If you’re craving an experience of timeless romance, the Terrace of Infinity fits the bill.

11. Take a romantic adventure to the crater of Mt. Vesuvius for panoramic views of the Bay of Naples.

There’s something incredibly romantic about connecting with nature and the history of man, sitting atop the crater of Mt. Vesuvius, above the ruins of ancient Pompeii, and seeing modern Italy spread out before you around the Bay of Naples. You’re walking in the footsteps of the gods—Hercules cleared the bandits from around Pompeii as one of his 12 Labors.

It wasn’t only Hercules who was worshipped around Vesuvius. Venus, the goddess of love, was patroness of Pompeii.

12. Wander the Via dell’Amore on the Cinque Terre Riviera in Riomaggiore and sample exquisite Ligurian wines.

The Ligurian Riviera, just east of Genoa, is home to the Cinque Terre, where some of Italy’s most in demand wines are produced. In fact, Italian poet Giosue Carducci once called it “the inebriation of the Dionysians.” Even Petrarch and Pliny the Elder sang the praises of Liguria’s “lunar wines.

Step off the train at Riomaggiore and you’re on the famous Via dell’Amore headed straight for A Pie de Ma, the most romantic wine bar on the “Way of Love.” Sample Rossese di Dolceacqua, Vermentino, and Ormeasco, a piquant red similar to a Dolcetto. Is there a sweeter way to celebrate your love?

13. Leave a love note in the courtyard of the Capulet house, where Juliet’s statue stands in Verona.

What could possibly be more romantic than the Capulet House, where Juliet pined away for her lost love Romeo? In the tiny courtyard of her Verona home stands a bronze statue of Shakespeare’s most favorite heroine, into which star-crossed lovers have left love notes for their paramours for decades.

Ready to go?

It’s not too late to start planning the ultimate romantic getaway in Italy for Valentine’s Day. If something captured your heart, get in touch today and we’ll help you bring your dreams to life—and if you’re not quite ready to talk, sign up for our free email course to learn everything you need to know about planning a vacation in Italy.

Cocktails for Adventurous Palates

While you wait for your Limoncello to be ready to enjoy in tiny glasses after your favorite Italian meal, Saveur magazine gives simple how-to instructions for other popular Italian cocktails.

There’s the classic Negroni, created in Florence nearly a century ago, which is a glorious pink, slightly sweet cocktail made with equal parts gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth. Close your eyes as you sip this and imagine you’re relaxing after an afternoon shopping on the historic Ponte Vecchio in Florence. (The below shot shows Santo Spirito Square in fabulous Florence.)

Along with the delectable flavors of icy gelato that made our top 10 reasons to enjoy summer in Italy you’ll find a delicious Venetian summer cocktail called the Bellini. All you need to cool down with a Bellini is peach puree and sparkling wine (ideally from the spectacular Prosecco wine region of course!), though some bartenders get creative and add peach brandy or mulled cider syrup for variety.

We found it interesting that the UK’s House and Garden magazine calls an Italian cocktail the drink for summer. Their quick and easy-to-follow guide for creating an Aperol Spritz will have you sipping a light, sweet drink made from just a few ingredients (Prosecco, Aperol and soda water garnished with a slice of orange). This drink’s low alcohol content is ideal for warm summer days and nights, perfect to enjoy before or after you indulge in your favorite dish from Italy’s diverse culinary traditions.

Below, a group of happy Tours Italy travelers enjoy a glass of Prosecco during their Avventure Bellissime Wine Region Tour!

You might also want to check out celebrated Italian-American chef Mario Batali’s Italian-inspired version of a Sea Breeze cocktail on his website. To make his highball a little more Italiano he mixes grappa with the Amaro Averna, lime, grapefruit and cranberry juice. Enjoy grappa Mario’s way until you can make Venice your next Italy vacation to try sipping some in the foothills of the spectacular Dolomite Mountains.

Do all these mouth watering Italian summer drinks make you want to book an Italian summer holiday? A little strategic planning can help you stay cool during a hot Italian summer.

Our Italy tour specialists can’t wait to help you discover the best of summer in Italy. Browse our Italy vacation packages or create a custom itinerary now by visiting Avventure Bellissime online to build your very own Italy vacation.

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