Romantic Festival of Valentine's Day is celebrated with enthusiasm in the beautiful country of Italy. Lovers take opportunity of the day to express love and affection for their beloved. Loads of Valentine's Day gifts are exchanged and everyone enjoys the day to the hilt.
Valentine's Day was initially celebrated as a Spring Festival in Italy. Celebration for the day was held in the open air. Young people would gather in tree arbors or ornamental gardens and enjoy listening to music and reading of poetry. Later they would stroll off with their Valentine into the gardens. The custom steadily ceased over the course of years and has not been celebrated for centuries.
In the Italian City of Turin, betrothed couple used to announce their engagement on the Valentine's Day. Several days ahead of February 14, stores were decorated and loaded with a huge variety of bon-bon. Some even sold china baskets and cups filled with delectable Valentine's Day candies and tied with a ribbon. These were to be presented as gifts to Valentine.
Another interesting Valentine's Day tradition followed in Italy and Britain made unmarried girls to wake up before sunrise. People strongly believed that the first man an unmarried girl sees on Valentine's Day, or someone who looks like him would marry her within a year. Girls therefore used to wake up early on Valentine's Day and stand by their window to watch a man pass.
People of Italy see Valentine's Day as a holiday imported from US, just like Halloween and Mother's Day. For the love and lovers country of Italy, the major day for celebration of love is il giorno della festa degli innamorati. As lovers' exclusively celebrate this day family members and friends do not exchange gifts.
In recent times however, lovers in Italy celebrate Valentine's Day by expressing their love to sweethearts. Couples usually go out for dinners at pizzeria or ristorante. Just as in several other countries, the festival has been commercialized to a great extent. There is a strong tradition to exchange gifts like rose, perfume, chocolates and diamonds depending on the age and taste of person. Another popular Valentine's Day gift in Italy is Baci Perugina - a small, chocolate-covered hazelnuts containing a small slip of paper with a romantic poetic quote in four languages.