Few people know that Saint Valentine, the patron saint of love and celebrated worldwide on February 14, also the patron saint of Terni in Umbria is.
Saint Valentine was born in the late 2nd century. He had the ability to heal people. Therefore he became a popular bishop of Terni. After healing the people, they converted to Christianity. The name “Valentino” – Valentine comes from “valere”, stare bene in salute: being healthy.
Also, the son of the Prefect of Rome became a Christian after being healed by the bishop of Terni, which caused a lot of sensation in a time that Christianity wasn’t yet an established religion.
Saint Valentine was arrested and he got forced to sacrifice to the pagan Gods, which he refused. He has been sentenced to death by beheading, probably on the 14th of February.
Before the capital punishment was carried out Saint Valentine gave a hand-written love note to the daughter of the jailer… from your Valentine! And from here writing anonymous love wishes on February 14 became a worldwide tradition.
Basilica San Valentino
The remains of St. Valentine’s body were brought back and buried in a cemetery on a hill outside the city walls of Terni. Many years later the “Basilica San Valentino” of Terni was built on top of this cemetery, the place where St. Valentine is buried.
This is just one of those stories about Saint Valentine and Valentine’s Day, many other versions circulate. In Terni February 14, Valentine’s Day is a bank holiday. Special holy masses will be held for those who will marry that same year and for couples who celebrate their silver or golden anniversary.
Around February 14the there are festivities in and around Terni. We suggest visiting Terni during Cioccolentino.
And sports lovers…eat your heart out! Each year in February is the Marathon and half Marathon of Terni. You run for love! So why not take the airplane to Rome, then take the train to Terni, first visit the Basilica of San Valentino, and the day after you run the marathon of San Valentino.
I enjoyed learning about St. Valentine and the origins of the holiday. thanks!