The not-so-romantic aspects of Valentines

Have a go: Don’t tell fibs to the love of your life. Legend has it that liars who put a hand into Rome’s Mouth of Truth have it bitten off. Many tourists refuse to give it a go.
Nanjing Night Net

Getting ready for a romantic celebration with the love of your life on Valentine’sDay?

Flowers and French bubbly, a candlelit dinner for two, or maybe abarefoot stroll along a secluded beach would all earn you Brownie points.

But we’re willing to bet you there’s a couple of places associatedwith St Valentine that won’t.

Valentine’s Day started wayback in the 14th century, invented by the so-called “father of English literature”, Geoffrey Chaucer.

In 1382, he wrote a poem called Parliament of Fools in which he noted: “This wasSt Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate”.The poem was written for the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard IIto Anne of Bohemia.

Chaucer’s last resting place is hardly a romantic venue. He was the first person to beburied at Poet’s Corner inside Westminster Abbey.

The real St Valentinewas a priest who used to marry soldiers – against the explicit orders of theEmperor Claudius the Cruelof Ancient Rome. He marriedlovelorn couples in secret untilClaudius eventually caught up with him and had him clubbed to death, then beheaded. This was back in about the year 270 or 280.

His skull, wearing a crown of flowers, and some of his bonesare on display in theBasilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin (the ornate church of St Mary) in Ripa, a suburbof Rome.The container looks like a gold 1960s television set, with a contraption similar inshape to an indoor aerial on top and lions’ feet holding up the glass case.

Quite bizarre, but hardly romantic.The church also has the coffin of a saint standing upright, and the tallest bell-tower inall of Rome, built in the12th century.

Then there is the Bocca della Verità (the Mouth of Truth), an ancient artefact hangingnext to a wall in the vestibule.Everyone is supposed to put one of their hands in the mouth of this marble mask as legend has itif you are a liar your hand will be bitten off.It is all grist for the mill.

But you will be surprised how many tourists refuse to contemplate extending either oftheir hands towards the mask.

Hollywood capitalised on this in the1953 romantic comedy, Roman Holiday.The movie starred Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn, the latter winning the Oscarand the Golden Globe awards for best actress.

In the film, Peck surprised Hepburn by pretending to lose a hand in the mouth of theBocca della Verità.Corny?Of course, but Hepburn’s reaction might have helped herscoop the awards.

Hardly romantic: This gruesome relic in a Rome church is the skull of St Valentine, butchered by order of Emperor Claudius the Cruel.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Posted in 南京夜网