Saint Valentine, love potions, and eternal loyalty are the protagonists of four days of celebration
Vico del Gargano, in the province of Foggia, is one of the most beautiful villages in Italy and it is nicknamed ‘The Village of Love’.
Unsurprisingly, its patron saint is Saint Valentine. And every years, since 1600, not only couples of lovers, but the whole population celebrated him for four days. Indeed, many are the wonderful and romantic stories and traditions that connect this citrus rich village with the patron saint of lovers.
From February 13th to 16th, Vico del Gargano brings out its best self. The alleys of the medieval historic center decorated with lemons and oranges seem even more magical and charming. Local citrus branches and fruits enliven churches, streets, squares, portals, and balconies. They also adorn the statue of the saint that is carried in solemn procession on February 14th. And it is said that the juice of the oranges adorning it, when given to a loved one, turns into a potent love potion.
In the historical center, there is a narrow alley, just half a meter wide, known as ‘Vicolo del bacio’ (Alley of the kiss). In the past, when certain things required more caution, lovers would walk along the alley in the opposite direction to have the chance of a brief touch.
Legend has it that kissing loved ones here on Valentine’s Day ensures their loyalty for life.
This year, there is something new for all couples who will go to Vico del Gargano to sublimate their promise of love and leave a love message in the “well of promises”. They will be able to participate in a competition to win a week’s holiday in Calenella, the bay between San Menaio and Vico del Gargano.
Ilona Catani Scarlett