St Valentine’s birthplace in Italy seeks ‘romantic’ twin city in US | The Daily Star
06:37 PM, February 14, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 06:43 PM, February 14, 2020

St Valentine’s birthplace in Italy seeks ‘romantic’ twin city in US

Terni, the birthplace of Saint Valentine in Italy, is looking for a "romantic" new sister city in the US, BBC News reports.

The city in the Umbrian hills already has twin cities elsewhere in Europe, officials said.

"But we have never had a sister city in the US, so we thought, why not see if we can build a relationship," Omero Mariani, Terni's head of tourism, told the BBC.

US cities will be able to apply from today (February 14), and the winner will be announced on Valentine's Day next year.

Terni is working with Babbel, a language learning app company, on the project and has invited its US-based CEO to be on the judging panel.

The panel also includes the Mayor of Terni, Leonardo Latini.

Mariani told the BBC that their future partner does not necessarily have to be romantic - they just need to show they have something in common with Terni.

A nearby waterfall, for example, would be similar to Terni's Marmore Falls, he said.

He hopes more people will link Valentine's Day to Terni.

"Every year the whole world celebrates Valentine's Day, but nobody is linking St Valentine to his hometown Terni," he told the BBC.

According to beliefs, Saint Valentine was a third century priest who became the Bishop of Terni at the age of 21.

He was known for secretly conducting marriages that after those were banned by the Roman Emperor Claudius II, who is said to have claimed that married men made poor soldiers.

Valentine is believed to have been martyred in Rome in 273AD on February 14, and his relics are now kept in Terni's Basilica San Valentino, BBC News reports.

The city holds a month-long festival every year around Valentine's Day, Mariani said.

About 100,000 people are expected to attend the festival this year, he also said.

"Every year, cities across Italy claim they are the most romantic, or that they are the city of love," Mariani said

"But actually, Terni is the real deal - it is the birthplace of Saint Valentine," he added.

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