Buon San Valentino from Terni: the Home of St. Valentine
By Kyra Bowar USAC student
What a better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than in San Valentino’s hometown! On February 14th, I took the train to Terni, the Terre di San Valentino, which is only about an hour ride from Viterbo.
The town itself was very easy to navigate, and I walked all the way through the bustling shopping district, over the Nera River, and up to the Basilica of San Valentino, where the saint’s remains are kept. When I arrived at the Basilica, it was packed with locals paying homage to San Valentino on his holy day. (But this humble church is a must-see on any day of the year.)
Then, I followed the crowds toward an enormous outdoor market. On this long street, packed with tents and shoppers, you could find panini, meats, cheeses, dried fruit, candy, flowers, vacuum cleaners, bunnies (yes, live rabbits), succulents, books, jewelry, clothes, and so much more. I had so much fun perusing the tents and smelling so many delicious foods.
The main event of the celebration was to be found back in the main shopping area. While waiting for the festivities to start, I meandered past Terni’s ancient Roman Amphitheatre, built in 32 B.C., the Duomo, Palazzo Spada, and the gorgeous colorful houses, reminiscent of Southern Italian architecture. Terni was established by the ancient Romans, so it’s bursting with beautiful architecture and rich history.
As dusk began to fall, the locals began to appear and the twinkling lights started to glisten. In the main shopping promenade, there were tents bursting with local vendors selling honey, beer, meat, pastries, cheeses, and of course chocolate. I enjoyed a fresh donut while tapping my toe to Lola Swing Italiano, a peppy swing band that played everything from slow romantic tunes to upbeat dance songs.
Valentine’s Day in Terni was a perfect, relaxing way to enjoy the festivities of a local town while taking in the gorgeous view of the surrounding mountains and snacking on some excellent Italian chocolate!