Celebrate the Romance of Travel this Valentine’s Day
Posted February 8, 2022
Strolling arm in arm along the boulevards of Paris. Exploring Verona, the setting of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”. Standing on the ruined ramparts of Troy, where thousands died to defend Helen’s honor.
Is there anything quite as romantic as traveling to the cities and settings of great love? We like to think not, which is why we’re highlighting a few of our favorites this Valentine’s Day.
The origins of this holiday – and its patron St. Valentine – are shrouded in mystery. But we do know it contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. And many believe the Christian Church placed St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Luperacalia, a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture.
No matter its origins, Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate love and romance wherever you are. So, we hope the stories and traditions of love explored below make your hearts beat a little faster and bring a sigh to your lips. And, of course, inspire your next great travel adventure.
The Lost Letters of Shakespeare’s Juliet
Dear Juliet… Two words read thousands of times by volunteers at the Club di Giulietta in Verona, Italy, the city that is the setting for Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” There, dedicated “Love Secretaries” respond to love letters sent in from all around the world with words of encouragement, wisdom, and advice. In this video, we pay them a visit as they encourage that most universal of sentiments.
The beauty that launched a thousand ships and inspired the war that consumed the ancient world begs the question: would you die for the most beautiful woman in the world? In this BBC podcast, historian and classicist Barry Straus tells the story off Helen (Queen of Sparta) — and that of the Greeks and Trojans who laid down their lives for her.
Of all the cities in the world, Paris may be the one most associated with romance. And deservedly so. Throughout history, couples from all over the globe have traveled there to celebrate or renew their love, as the City of Lights positively radiates romance. In the BBC podcast below, we immerse ourselves in the story of Abelard and Heloise, the famous priest and teacher at Notre-Dame de Paris and his brilliant student, who later became an Abbess at the head of her own convent. This is a tale of literature and philosophy, theology and scandal, and above all, love in the high Middle Ages.
The concept of love cannot be claimed by humans alone. Our feathered friends turn out to be just as passionate as we are. In East Africa’s Rift Valley, more than a million flamingos gather to show off precise and synchronized dance moves to attract a mate.