Beheaded in the third century for helping Christian couples marry, St. Valentine was buried near Ponte Milvio but later dug up and his relics enshrined in various churches across Europe. His skull (apparently) stayed in Rome and is now on display in a gold-framed glass reliquary at the Basilica di Santa Maria in Cosmedin. What could be more romantic?
For lovers and lovers of chocolate. The specialty of this 1920s chocolate factory turned café-restaurant is a rich, thick, Italian-style hot chocolate – no sugary marshmallow embellishments needed here. Before leaving, select a handful of beautifully packaged artisanal chocolates to gift to that special someone.
SAID deal 1923, Via Tiburtina, 135, Rome, Italy, +39 06 446 9204
Organised by artist and New York native Lauren Lombardo, Paint & Wine evenings offer hands-on creativity in a relaxed, social setting. There’s no experience necessary and teacher Lauren is on hand to provide tips and advice to ensure even the most unaccomplished novice creates their very own artwork at the end of the session. A sure-fire way to impress any creative-minded love interest.
Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s feel-good chemical, so an evening of one-liners and off-the-wall skits makes perfect sense for a first date. Share some laughs at Rome’s Comedy Club, the only English stand up show in Rome. Check the Facebook page for event details.
The adrenaline rush of watching 22 men run around a pitch can be intense – and a thrilling experience to share. Get two tickets to Stadio Olympico to see De Rossi and his boys in action and just pray to the football gods your date isn’t a Lazio fan.
Stadio Olimpico, Viale dei Gladiatori, Rome, Italy, +39 06 36851
Get practicing those vocal exercises because open mic night is calling. Expect performances from undiscovered local talent and equally entertaining – if less aurally pleasing – late-night revellers. A number of venues across the city set up the microphone, and sometimes guitar or piano too, including Abby Theatre near Piazza Navona, Le Mura in San Lorenzo and The Fiddler’s Elbow, a few steps from Termini.
Abby Theatre, Via del Governo Vecchio, 51, Rome, Italy, +39 06 686 1341
The Fiddler’s Elbow, Via dell’Olmata, 43, 00184 Rome, Italy, +39 06 487 2110
During the balmy summer months the enchanting Tiber Island transforms into an open-air cinema. The annual Isola del Cinema film festival screens the best international and Italian-language movies of the season, from both emerging and critically acclaimed directors. Perfect to watch under the stars with your beau.
Villa Borghese might be the obvious example for romantic picnic but it’s well worth going further afield. Head south to the Parco degli Acquedotti and you’ll be rewarded with less crowds, expansive open countryside and the ruins of not one but two ancient aqueducts.
Comprised of the remains of four Roman temples and the Theatre of Pompey – where Julius Caesar was murdered in 44BC – Largo di Torre Argentina is a fascinating historical site. Add in around 150 kitties who frolic, lounge and stalk among the ruins and it becomes a perfectly charming spot to take any cat lover for the afternoon. If it’s open, pay a visit to the cat sanctuary on the south side of the square and meet the gattare (cat ladies) who care for the local feline population.