This Valentine’s Day, Find the Romance

Story and photos by Monica Mendoza

***image2***Sometimes there is more to visiting a historic city in Europe than rushing from one monument to the next, checking off that museum from your “must-see” list.

Sometimes, it’s about the stroll – the leisurely lunch and the long walks in the park. This Valentine’s Day, find that town – find the romance.

In the city of Verona, Italy, you can’t help but savor the beauty of Verona −  Roman structures, including the amphitheater, bridges and sculptures. This is where you want to take your time wandering down Via Mazzini, which leads to the town center, to shop in quaint boutiques or chic stores.

***image1***Verona’s town center is lively and the town’s center boosts sculptures and fountains that will make you swoon.

Verona  is so romantic, so beautiful, that Shakespeare made it the setting for his story of star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet. Legend has it that a girl named Giulietta really lived in Verona. And, on Via Cappello, there is a small stone balcony said to be where she professed her love to Romeo. You can go there, and profess your love too.

Bruges, Belgium, is a wonderful place for chocolate lovers, where you can stop in one of dozens of chocolate shops and buy small bits of the good stuff. This is that town where carriage rides through the narrow cobblestone streets screams romance, or “I love you!” Or, “Will you marry me?” This historic town is best to walk. Here, you can do some serious sightseeing – Michelangelo’s “Madonna and Child” in the Church of Our Lady, medieval architecture and many museums.

***image3***But, this gorgeous city, sometimes called “Venice of the North,” is surrounded by canals and is more a place where you might discover, or rediscover, love.

Strasbourg, France, was founded by the Romans in 12 BC – sometimes called the “city of streets” − it is surrounded entirely by water. Le Petite France − with its Hansel and Gretel half-timbered houses − is where streets were named for the craftsmen who worked there. From here there are outstanding views of the canals and flowers.

***image4***Find the Gutenberg statue and there begins the shopping district, with everything from Prada to French scarves.

Strasbourg, in the Alsace Region of France, is known for its rare wines. Wine growers are limited on the amount of grapes they can grow per acre. So, grab that special someone by the hand and endulge in a little romance this season.