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St Valentine and Umbria, the heart of Italy

He may have been sabotaged by Hallmark but St Valentine is not American.

Rather he is as Italian as pasta and narcissitic Neapolitans (it alliterates!)

So for the weekend that’s in it a celebration of how they do Valentine’s Day in the saint’s home region of Umbria in the centre of Italy.

Legends abound about Val.

The holy man was a 2nd century bishop of Terni in Umbria, which borders to the east the Roman region of Lazio.

Val was said to have married lovers in secret.

And that sounds as good a reason as any to celebrate him every 14th February, the date of his death, with tortured rhymes… of which I’m all too guilty.

Blindingly obvious

Another popular tale attached to Val surrounds a blind girl.

She is said to have smuggled messages and flowers from children and lovers to him and that he replied with ‘your valentine.’

Whether you believe this or not is immaterial.

The good people of Terni do and whether by self-promotion or it has been bestowed on them they are known as La Citta degli Innamorati, or the City of Lovers.

So it will come as little surprise then that the good folk of Terni, in a good year, spend the whole month of February wooeing each other with ‘eventi valentiniani’.

City of Lovers

Terni in all its grandeur

All of which, visiting museums, concerts and theatres and having romantic dinners, sounds pretty familiar.]

Is this not what you would expect of the Italians at any time.

And especially in the City of Lovers.

Whether it’s to burn off the calories from those creamy dinners and chocolates or not, Terni goes running crazy in the days following Valentine’s.

So when we’re all back up and running (soz) then check out the Marathon and Half Marathon of Terni.

Me? My running days might very well be over so I’ll stick to the walking.

All roads don’t lead to Rome

Young lovers: At the Trevi Fountain

Viterbo in Lazio is just over the border from Terni. And it is from where I set out on my 100km Via Francigena walk into Rome.

For all that I love Rome and will be back soo, it feels like I should maybe think about turning left for Umbria next time.

And of course My Scary One is holding out for a trip away.

And more than just the hackneyed Hallmark card she has got from me this year.

 

 

 

 

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