By Elyssa Lockling
There is a reason Italy is known for being one of the most romantic countries in the world. The love stories that come out of Italy are seen everywhere, from literature to landscapes to everyday human connection. The most common tale of love (and tragedy) is set in Verona- you guessed it-Romeo and Juliet. While Shakespeare’s famous story was set in a beautiful Italian city and showed off an Italian young love, the love that truly blossoms within Italy is much more complicated. The romance and love of Italy can be much more grandiose, inspiring and jaw-dropping but it can also be seen in the small, subtle and even delicate details of life.
The most obvious way that we see the romance of Italy can be recognized at any time of the day and in almost every thinkable location. In the morning, while sipping espresso at your favorite caffè, you might notice a couple swooning over a shared cup of fruit. On the tram ride in the afternoon, you may see just simple eye contact between two people turn into a flirtatious smile. Perhaps you are interested in experiencing the magical nightlife that Italy has to offer- be prepared to see couples sitting on every set of steps with lips locked. Italy is so rich with romance and part of the reason for this is how much Italian culture accepts physical signs of affection, especially compared to more conservative cultures such as the US. Within Italian culture, families are very close-knit and children commonly live with their parents well into their late twenties- because of this, many young couples find sanctuary for affection in the public yet intimate streets of Italy. While this affection may come as a culture shock at first, it quickly becomes part of life and is almost endearing to see such romance between people. Seeing two people embrace each other for the whole world to see becomes typical and you simply shrug your shoulders and as Dean Martin would say, “that’s amore.”
The romance of Italy is evident in the Northern region, where vineyards span across the foothills. The romance that comes from the wine produced in Italy is just as powerful as the romance that it takes to make wine something special. After getting to know how much thought and passion goes into preparing wine by visiting the Donatella Cinelli Colombini winery, the romance of wine comes alive. Once you understand how each wine can complement and pair so differently with food, the pair of wine and food soon become this beautiful relationship which requires special attention and passion in order to best serve their romance. While the process of making wine and food pairings are a delicate romance, there is also the personal romance that can blossom over a glass of wine. Because wine and cuisine are so important in Italian culture, when executed properly, a romance can come from a simple dinner with a glass of wine. From start to finish, wine can be a beautiful balance of taste and romance.
“When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie/ That’s amore/ When the world seems to shine like you’ve had too much wine/ That’s amore”Dean Martin
You might find the song “That’s Amore” linger through your mind while walking through a Tuscany winery or taking in the scenery in Campania. When visiting the south of Italy, especially the Island of Capri, romance comes alive. From the outside looking in, we may see a simple island which can be enjoyed for its beautiful turquoise waters and locally inspired cuisine. After ten minutes on a boat, you will find more and more images of love within Italy. Maybe you will see a couple sunbathing or taking in the beautiful scenery on a yacht and think of romance and love but if you look to nature, you will see images that you couldn’t imagine possible. There are natural hearts that are carved into the side of the island by the turquoise water kissing the earth over time- and if you are lucky, the captain of the boat will call out to you and your friends “that’s amore” as if to remind you how much love goes into Italy. Romance and love is all around if you look.
Within Rome, we also see that love, just like every magical monument, is around every corner. The Trevi fountain is beautiful enough to make anyone fall in love but the legend that surrounds it makes the romance even more charming. As the legend says, you are supposed to throw (always from your right hand over your left shoulder) one coin to come back to Rome, a second one to fall in love and a third coin to ensure marriage. People from around the world hold this legend of love close to their hearts and are excited to take part in this. While this legend can be carried out in order to benefit the visitor throwing the coins in the fountain in hopes of finding eternal love, it also benefits the less fortunate population in Italy. The coins that are tossed in are collected and donated to Italy’s Red Cross in order to help feed the hungry. This is a great example that small acts in search of romance can have a snowball effect in spreading an abundance of love throughout the culture.
One of my favorite stories of amore that blossomed in Italy is the story of the famous Baci chocolate. Baci is a classic chocolate made in Italy which when the foil is unwrapped, reveals a message or “Love Note.” While gifting this chocolate is a special way to express your love for them, the history behind it is just as sweet. The story is that the young creator of this chocolate, Luisa Spagnoli wanted to give a sweet message of love to her star-crossed lover. She knew that she and this gentleman could not realistically be together but even these delicately wrapped chocolates were enough to steal Italy’s heart.
In Italy, there are many reasons to appreciate amore. The love that goes into every cup of espresso or glass of wine can have a ripple effect on both the locals and the visitors of Italy. If you are able to visit Italy, try to recognize how much romance and love, just like cuisine, go into creating a rich culture. Italy really is powerful in proving that love can be found in the smallest or most grand places and when you see one of these signs of love in everyday life I hope that an echo of Dean Martin’s That’s Amore sings through your mind.
About the Author
Elyssa is a Colorado native and a first-generation college student. She graduated from CSU with a double major in Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts and Communication Studies.
Having been the first member of her family to ever go to college, she decided to challenge herself more and become the first in her family to travel and study abroad and she is so glad she did! Her favorite moment in Italy was cliff jumping and swimming in Capri- going back to visit is a must for me! The friendships that you create while abroad are irreplaceable and really remind me that amore is everywhere (and the right group of friends will fill the local karaoke bar singing That’s Amore with you). While she has enjoyed her time in Italy and is so thankful for those who have supported her along the way, she is ready to go back to her fur baby and embrace her post-grad life.