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Terni, Umbria: The heart of Italy and home of Saint Valentine

There are many places in the world that are self-proclaimed romantic destinations, but Italy has the unique claim to being the home of Saint Valentine. The central province of Terni is at the heart of the story; its links to Saint Valentine are even enshrined in a basilica that houses the figure’s tomb and relics. Read on to learn more about La Festa di San Valentino and the rolling green hills where it all began.

Why is Saint Valentine the patron saint of love?

It’s thought that Saint Valentine arranged and performed marriages for couples at a time when Emperor Claudius II had banned them, believing that single men should become soldiers instead. Saint Valentine was imprisoned for this work, and during that time he befriended his jailer’s daughter. The Saint is said to have written her a letter which he signed ‘from your Valentine’, laying the foundations for our tradition of exchanging cards today.

Where was Saint Valentine buried?

Although there are different versions of the story, many people believe that Saint Valentine lived and was buried in Terni, Italy. A visit to Terni’s Basilica di San Valentino will allow you to see the Saint’s tomb enshrined behind glass at the main altar of the church. The baroque structure stands on the footprint of two previous churches, the first of which is widely believed to have been built on the Saint Valentine’s remains. However, there are reports that parts of the Saint’s remains have travelled as far as Glasgow and Dublin having been brought home by roaming clergymen as gifts.

Is Terni the most romantic place in Italy?

The origins of Saint Valentine’s Day don't feature the red roses and extravagance that we associate with the celebration today, but the vitality of Terni’s lush Italian valleys makes it an undeniably romantic location. The city of Terni holds a month-long festival every year around Valentine’s Day, with the local Head of Tourism commenting that ‘Every year, cities across Italy claim they are the most romantic, or that they are the city of love. But actually, Terni is the real deal’. After all, it’s the home of Saint Valentine himself.

Get more property for your money in the Umbria region

The wider Umbria region may not get as much attention as destinations like Bologna or Milan, but with expansive farmhouses and rustic villas, it could be the perfect location for expats looking for a country home under the Italian sun. The rural area lends itself to larger homes with plenty of space; according to Statista, Umbria is the third-cheapest area for buying property in Italy per square metre. It’s worth noting that living rurally doesn’t mean you’ll be missing out on Italy’s better-known locations either. Many towns in Umbria have trains to take you south to Rome or north to Florence in just a few short hours.

Paying for your Italian property

If you’re thinking about buying a property in Italy’s ‘green heart’, you can better understand how much your currency will cost by locking in an exchange rate for up to two years with a Forward Contract*. Although markets can move in either direction, a Forward Contract can help you protect your money from adverse market fluctuations. Just a few digits difference can make an impact on overseas transfers of large amounts for things like property purchases, or regular payments abroad.

For example, if you’d have transferred £300,000 in December 2021 and the GBP/EUR exchange rate was at interbank levels of 1.16, you could have received somewhere in the region of Є348,000 to buy your property.**

However, if you’d have locked in the GBP/EUR rate when it was at 1.19 a few weeks earlier in November, a transfer of £300,000 might have seen you receive around Є357,000. That’s a difference of £9,000 in just a few weeks.***

To learn more about personalised international money transfers for your Italian property purchase or move overseas, start a conversation with our team by calling 020 7989 0000, or email [email protected].


* When locking in a rate for up to two years, an initial margin payment will be required. Please speak to our team to find out more.
**Rate taken: 21/11/21
***Rate taken: 09/12/21