14 February 2019

14 February

The Feast of the Lovers

A day for flowers, chocolates and padlocks

Today is called La festa degli innamorati (The Feast of the Lovers) in Italy when couples celebrate their love for each other. Florence and Venice are traditionally considered to be the most romantic places in Italy, but Verona, the city of Romeo and Juliet, puts on an annual Verona in Love festival. One more recent tradition is locking padlocks - lucchetti dell’amore - to bridges, railings and lamp posts to demonstrate never-ending love, based on a story in a novel, Ho voglio di te (I want you), that was turned into a film. Read more...


Valentina Vezzali – fencer

Police officer is Italy’s most successful female athlete

The fencer Valentina Vezzali, whose three Olympic and six World Championship individual gold medals make her Italy’s most decorated female athlete of all time, was born on this day in 1974 in the town of Iesi in Marche. A police officer and politician, she retired from competition after the 2016 World Championships with a haul of six Olympics golds in total – three individual and three from the team event – which has not been bettered by any Italian athlete, male or female. Read more...


Otto e mezzo - Fellini's masterpiece

Creative crisis spawned director's tour de force

The film Otto e mezzo (8½), regarded by some critics as the director Federico Fellini's greatest work, was released in Italy on this day in 1963. It was categorised as an avant-garde comedy drama but the description hardly does it justice given its extraordinary individuality, evolving from conception to completion as an interweaving of fantasy and reality in which life not so much imitates art as becomes one and the same thing.  Fellini won Oscars for La Strada, Nights in Cabiria, La Dolce Vita in the early ‘60s and later with AmarcordRead more…


San Valentino and Sant’Antonino

Celebrations for two different Italian saints

As well as San Valentino, February 14 is also the feast day of Sant’Antonino, an occasion celebrated by the resort of Sorrento in particular, Antonino being the city’s patron saint. Sant’Antonino Abate, who died on February 14, 626, is credited with saving the life of a child swallowed by a whale and also protecting Sorrento against plague and invasion. Each year on the anniversary of his death, a silver statue of Sant’Antonino is carried in a procession through the streets of Sorrento. Read more...


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