Terni is the city of Saint Valentine, the patron of lovers, one of the most famous saints, celebrated all over the world. Here, of course, he is celebrated during the whole month of February!
Saint Valentine lived in the 3rd century. He is considered the founder of the Christian community of Terni and was its first bishop. Because of his faith he was persecuted under the emperor Aureliano and beheaded in Rome on the 14th of February (around 273). His body was taken to Terni and buried there. His relics are kept in the basilica, in a silver statue in a crystal cabinet with a sign: "Saint Valentine patron of love".
There are several legends about this. Apparently, saint Valentine loved roses and used to give them to young couples of fiancées to wish them a happy union. As the story goes, Valentine one day heard a couple fighting, he gave them a rose and spoke to them helping them to reconcile. After that, there was a procession and people wanted his blessing for new families. Since Valentine was busy also with other things, he established the 14th day of every month for this blessing. It has remained the 14th of February, the day of his death.
Every year, in the church dedicated to saint Valentine in Terni, hundreds of couples of fiancées gather for the Celebration of the Promise (Festa della Promessa) before getting married, to promise each other love.
Terni is in the Umbria region, the green heart of Italy. Its altitude is 130 metres (426ft) above the sea level and has about 105,000 inhabitants. It's a very ancient place, founded by Romans in the year 7 before Christ and there are many archaeological, natural, artistic and religious beauties. You can still recognise the roman-mediaeval urban plan, see the Walls with two ancient gates still visible today, as well as many of the noble palaces.
If you like antiquities, there is the archaeological site of the Roman town Carsulae, just outside Terni, with well preserved remains of the forum, theatre and amphitheatre and more buildings and a museum.
Besides Saint Valentine, Terni is famous for being the city of the Marmore Fall, which is part of the River Nera Park. The fall is a work of astonishing engineering, created by the Romans in 271 before Christ to prevent flooding from the River Velino. The fall is 165 metres (541 ft) high and offers an awesome view, with many impressive caves, a very rich vegetation all around and many species of birds living in the woods.
The English writer George Byron in his journey in Italy was inspired by it.
Many artistic works are linked to religion, here you can admire the churches of Saint Salvatore, Saint Francis, The Duomo (cathedral) with a magnificent organ designed by the architect Bernini (who designed also St Peter's cathedral in Rome). Also St. Valentine Cathedral, St Alò, St. Peter and Our Lady of Graces. All of them date from the 8th to the 16th century and have a variety of painting, frescoes and architecture styles.
All this water available here was also helpful for industrial purposes, infact Terni has always been very important for its many industrial sites. Most of them are now dismissed and they are like an open-air museum although some of these industrial witnesses of Terni past have been turned into very modern features, The Papigno factories are now film studios. Here the actor Roberto Benigni shot the movies “Life is Beautiful” (“La Vita è Bella”) and “Pinocchio”. And with the settings of Pinocchio, they created a theme park for children called: Paese dei Balocchi (The Toyland).
So you can find a lot to enjoy in Terni, come for a visit!
Enjoy your visit!
Don't miss the opportunity to visit Terni at any time of the year!