Monday, February 13, 2012

Romance, Loving Endearments and Saint Valentine - Italian style!

This poster hangs on my wall at home.  Roman Holiday is such a hugely romantic film that still gets me reaching for my hankies even though I've probably seen it about 20 times. Living so close to this wonderfully romantic city also has its attractions and advantages of course. AND I confess that I have spent more than one lovely evening riding around the city on the back of a Vespa, thinking that I was Audrey Hepburn. It's something that everybody should do at least once in their lives.

Yes, I know, romance, love, and all that stuff. Yes, once a year, on and around February 14th, it is all we read about! Nothing wrong with that of course. Saint Valentine is a worldwide household name, and keeps the postmen, florists and jewelers (hint hint!!) in business at this time of year. And no matter how commercialised the celebration has become, there is nothing like a bit of true romance to warm the old cockles.

Heart on sale at

However, it is strange to think that Saint Valentine, who was renowned for his chastity, became the patron saint of lovers. The historical antecedent comes from two sources. During classical Roman times, Emperor Claudius II decreed marriage forbidden for soldiers. A priest named Valentine ignored this decree and encouraged young people to be united in holy matrimony. For this, he was sentenced to prison and executed on February 14th.
In 1465, Pope Paul II authorized the distribution of marriage gifts to poor women. The first ceremony was set for February 14th, and Saint Valentine, whose sainthood was celebrated on this day, became known as the protector of lovers.

In this land of romance and good food and wine, it only makes sense that the patron saint of all lovers was born here too, although I confess it took me years of living here before finding that little fact out!  The church where Saint Valentine is buried is, in fact, in Umbria, less than an hour north of where we at Country Weddings Italy are based.  

Boxes on sale at

I thought it would be fun today to provide you a list of Italian endearments to practice, so that you will be able to whisper them in your that special someone's ear,  while getting ready for your trip to Italy, of course! ;- And yes, corny as though some of them may sound, Italians really do talk like that!
 One thing to note though: in English, the expression "I love you" is ubiquitous, while in Italian "Ti amo" is used only between lovers, never with friends, family, or inanimate objects. Instead, in those cases, the expression   "Ti voglio bene" ("I love you" in the sense of "I care about you") is preferred. 
Have fun!

  1. Ti amo - I love you
  2. Ti penso sempre—I think of you constantly
  3. Mi manchi—I miss you.
  4. Sei bellissima —How beautiful you are.
  5. Voglio vederti stasera—I want to see you tonight.
  6. Tu sei la mia stella—You are my little star.
  7. Cara mia, sei stupenda—My darling, you are wonderful (one for the boys to learn, this one!)
  8. Mio tesoro - my treasure/darling/sweetheart
  9. La mia dolce metà - my other half
  10. Mi vuoi sposare? - Will you marry me?

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