Giorno della St. Valentine Felice!

February 14, 2008

Happy St. Valentine’s Day, or as we say in Italy, Giorno della St. Valentine Felice!

As this loving day comes to a close, I just wanted to give you a little Italian history lesson on this, the day of love:

* As you can imagine, Valentine’s Day is quite celebrated in Italia, but considered a holiday imported from the U.S. But it’s only been in recent years that Italian lovers have come to celebrate in more outward American ways like dining at ristorantes, and exchanging roses, fragrance and chocolates.

A favorite chocolate gift in Italy is even one that we all here in the United States can give: Baci Perugina — a type of chocolate ball made in Perugia that’s sold in most stores.

* Did you know that Cupid, that winged chubby little arrow-slinging child deity, was Greek in mythology the son of Venus (you know: the goddess of love)? One shot from his bow into an unsuspecting heart, causing the recipient to feel its pangs of love.

(I know that’s a little Greek history, but I digress….)

* Valentine’s Day was initially celebrated in Italy as a spring festival, where young lovers would celebrate the coming season in gardens enjoying music and poetry in the fresh Italian air.

* In Torino, couples once announced their engagement on Feb. 14. Before the big day, stores would get gussied up in festive decorations, and some would sell baskets or cups filled with sweet treats to be presented as V-Day gifts.

* Before popping a delicious Baci Perugina in your mouth, always remember to read the wrapper: The paper has a poetic quote written in four languages!

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