What the Heart Wants: The Romance of Italy

What the Heart Wants: The Romance of Italy

Julie Jurden

Florence Italy BridgeThe Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi wrote, “You may have the universe if I may have Italy.”

With Valentine’s Day just weeks away and the inevitable inundation of red roses, chocolate boxes, and big romantic gestures, here at Modigliani, our hearts return to Italy.

What is it about Italy? What makes it such a romantic destination? Why does it move us in a way no other place can? How it transposes us to another time or how it somehow manages to turn us into gushing teenagers, smitten with our very first love. It’s as if there’s something in the air, or maybe in the wine. Whatever it is, it leaves an indelible mark that consistently makes this country one of the top destinations for romance.

To begin with, Italy is simply one of the most beautiful places to experience. From the architecture to the art, and in the food and wine, it inspires the heart and feeds the soul.  With its evocative landscapes and impassioned people it stays true to the many stories unfolding in literature and on film. Whether you’re lost in a Shakespearean play or entranced by a Fellini film, Italy becomes the main character in any narrative.

With so many picturesque locations, refining the choices seems almost cruel. But the reality is, you simply can’t go wrong no matter where you go.


Venice Italy BoatVenice is considered one of the more romantic locations in all of Italy. With its narrow streets, winding canals, and scenic bridges, it’s the perfect spot for love’s embrace. Take an evening gondola ride or get lost in the modest lanes, only to wind up in the Piazza San Marco every time. Surrounded by water, escape seems inconceivable. And then the romance of the moment captivates and you never want to leave.

And then there is Verona, best known for Romeo and Juliet, earning its nickname “City of Love”.  It’s no surprise that the most visited attraction here is the Casa di Giulietta, or Juliet’s House, where you can see the famous balcony and imagine the star-crossed lovers exchanging verse and poetry. Nearby, there’s a small wall in a narrow alley where legend says if couples write their names and add them to the wall, Juliet will give them eternal love.

When in Rome, there are couples at every turn. Town squares are important for social exchange and you’ll always find lovers gathered at nearby fountains, like Trevi Fountain. Spend a few hours with your special someone gazing upon Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel in Vatican City. The enforced silence as you’re awe inspired demands quiet contemplation, but best shared with another. Get lost together as you walk the sprawling ruins of the Roman Forum and then on to the Pantheon where in the evening the subtle glow of the lights sets the mood.

In the city of Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, you can get lost in art museums soaking up as much Botticelli, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, and da Vinci as your heart desires. Take in the city view from the top of the Duomo or gaze down the Arno River from the Ponte Vecchio Bridge. End your evening at a quiet café enjoying an espresso or sharing a carafe of wine over candlelight. The romance of Florence is undeniable.

If a more intimate experience is what you crave, try the Gulf of Poets, Golfo dei Poeti, made popular by the romantic poets such as Byron and Shelley. Tourists tend to stick to nearby Cinque Terre, which is less busy and more romantic at night, making this the perfect spot for privacy and amour.

The Amalfi Coast and Lake Como are always lovely options. Both have their share of sparkling waters and breathtaking views. And both are top destinations for honeymooners of all ages.

No matter which location you select, bustling city or countryside village, every nook and cranny seems to evoke the ambience of romance. It never feels out of place or unwanted, and it always feels as essential as breath. Ask any Italian and they’ll probably agree and tell you that life without love has no reason for breath – it is that necessary. Or maybe they’ll say that romance is breathing.

Italians are serious about having a good life, but do not take life too seriously. They believe in living the best they possibly can, which for them means embracing those things that make them most happy. Meals are, by design, long and social. Food is not simply for fuel but instead a sensual experience, where every bite is to be tasted and enjoyed. Wine is not for intoxication but for the palette and pairing with food, heightening the experience. Art is to be shared, with as many as possible as often as possible. Architecture is to be preserved so that generations to come can live amongst the beauty and history, embracing their past, while still creating and innovating for the future.

If at home or lost abroad, we hope you find a little romance this Valentine’s Day. There’s no need to dine out – cook a great meal together at home. Italians even shop together first, extending their romantic experience. Light some candles, put on some music, embrace the moment, and enjoy the company of the one you love.