Spend Valentine’s Day in the world’s best destinations for lovers — Italy. Hotel rooms with views, candlelight dining, moonlight massages, violins and cozy inns fill Italy with romance year-round. And with the summer crowds long gone, Italy is the perfect place for a Valentine’s Day getaway for two. In the winter you can take advantage of uncrowded attractions and all-inclusive vacations that offer budget-friendly bargains. And don’t think it’s only American hotels that offer romance packages around Valentine’s Day.
Cafés and chocolate shops make this beautiful city — a short train ride from Milan — a sure bet for romance. You can stroll for miles under the cover of its elegant, arched arcades, shopping in boutiques and chocolate shops and relaxing in cafés over cups of Turin’s favorite coffee, bicerin. Savor this cup of equal parts espresso, hot chocolate and cream at Al Bicerin, the café that invented it, and have lunch in the elegantly ornate Caffe San Carlo.
It doesn’t matter that Romeo and Juliet are fictional, Shakespeare’s myth still makes this beautiful old city more romantic. Overlooking a stone-paved piazzetta in the center of its old town, Hotel Due Torri Baglioni is the most romantic hotel, with palatial marble bathrooms and rooms resplendent in Renaissance décor. Cozy restaurants, little wine bars and osterie are easy to find in the nearby streets.
Granted, you probably won’t race across the tile rooftops as James Bond does in Quantum of Solace, but Siena offers quieter pleasures. Just wandering the narrow, cobbled streets of the Medieval hilltop town in search of cafés and cozy trattorias is romantic. For rooms with a view, ask for Nos. 29 or 30 in Il Chiostro del Carmine. February packages make this a most affordable luxury.
Midway on the breathtaking Amalfi Coast, the town itself cascades down the steep mountainside to the sea. Perched on a crag above the startlingly blue water, Hotel Santa Caterina overlooks terrace after terrace of its own lush gardens and citrus groves perfect for hand-in-hand strolls. Although not as well known as Capri’s Blue Grotto, the nearby sea caves are called the Emerald Grotto for the mystical shimmering green light.
The name alone conjures up romantic visions, and stylish Capri lives up to them with secluded coves, dramatic sea cliffs and boat rides into the Blue Grotto. Reach this island by boat from Sorrento, another town whose name was made famous in a song.
On a nice winter day, you’ll have the trails and charming little villages of the nearby Cinque Terre to yourselves, and have no trouble reserving a window table at Olympia to watch the sunset over the Bay of Silence. The setting of Hotel Vis a Vis is spectacular — you ascend to the clifftop by an elevator to check in, and rooms offer views as sweeping as the restaurant’s. The service will make you sure you’ve just been crowned king and queen.
What could be more romantic than a moonlight massage for two in the gazebo of the spa at Kempinski Hotel Giardino di Costanza? It’s pure Sicilian, with natural local products including Trapani salt, extracts of citrus fruits, almond and olive essences. Spring arrives in February when the almond trees bloom in the valleys.