Valentine Poems, Italian Style

You’ve bought the gift, made the reservations and unsuccessfully spent hours searching for the perfect Valentine’s sentiment via the drugstore greeting card aisle. But why not try something a smidge different this year?  When “roses are red, violets are blue” just won’t do, you need to look to the experts for something undeniably swoon worthy. Tell your Valentine how much they truly mean to you with some of the most romantic words ever to be put to page. And while we encourage you to include some of your own heartfelt prose, there’s no shame in having a little extra help from the pros, namely three of Italy’s greatest poets.

So show some Valentine valor, pick up that blank card, and put pen to cardstock with three of the most romantic Italian poems to ever be written. Since these verses have been making hearts beat faster for centuries, we doubt 2013 would be any different. Valentine’s card, done and done!
Photo Credit: Torquato Tasso from Lombardia Beni Culturali

“Non sono in queste rive”

by Torquato Tasso (1544 – 1595, Sorrento, Italy)

Non sono in queste rive

fiori così vermigli

come le labbra de la donna mia,

nè’l suon de l’aure estive

tra fonti rose e gigli

fa del suo canto più dolce armonia.

Canto che m’ardi e piaci,

t’interrompano solo i nostri baci.


“Are not in these shores”

by Torquato Tasso (1544 – 1595, Sorrento, Italy)

Are not in these shores crimson flowers

like the lips of my lady,

in the sound of the summer breeze

between roses and lilies

does its song make the sweetest harmony.

The song that you give back to me to like

Interrupted only by our kisses.


Photo Credit: Dante Alighieri from The Poetry Foundation
Photo Credit: Dante Alighieri from The Poetry Foundation

“Amore e ‘l cor gentil”

by Dante Alighieri (1265 – 1362, Florence, Italy)

Amore e ‘l cor gentil sono una cosa,

sì come il saggio in suo dittare pone,

e così esser l’un sanza l’altro osa

com’alma razional sanza ragione.

Fàlli natura quand’è amorosa,

Amor per sire e ‘l cor per sua magione,

dentro la qual dormendo si riposa

tal volta poca e tal lunga stagione.

Bieltate appare in saggia donna pui,

che piace a gli occhi sì, che dentro al core

nasce un disio de la cosa piacente;

e tanto dura talora in costui,

che fa svegliar lo spirito d’Amore.

E simil fàce in donna omo Valente.


“Love and the gentle heart”

by Dante Alighieri (1265 – 1362, Florence, Italy)

Love and the gentle heart are one thing,

just as the poet says in his verse,

each from the other one as well divorced

as reason from the mind’s reasoning.

Nature craves love, and then creates love king,

and makes the heart a palace where he’ll stay,

perhaps a shorter or a longer day,

breathing quietly, gently slumbering.

Then beauty in a virtuous woman’s face

makes the eyes yearn, and strikes the heart,

so that the eyes’ desire is reborn again,

and often, rooting there with a longing, stays,

Until love, at last, out of its dreaming starts.

A woman is moved likewise by a virtuous man


“Ma il cuore non ascolti le ragioni”

by Gaius Valerius Catullus (84 – 54 BC, Verona, Italy)

Questo nostro amore, vita mia

lo prospetti felice

destinato a durare per sempre.

Dei del cielo, fate voi che lei dica il vero,

che lo prometta sincera e dal cuore,

che si possa per tutta la vita

mantener questo patto inviolabile


“But the heart does not listen to reason”

by Gaius Valerius Catullus (84 – 54 BC, Verona, Italy)

This love of ours my life

I predict will be happy

destined to last forever.

Gods of the sky, do what you deem to be true

that promises to be sincere and from the heart,

which can be for a lifetime,

keep this inviolable covenant.


[ Photo Credits ] : Torquato Tasso from Lombardia Beni Culturali Dante Alighieri from The Poetry Foundation

About the Author

Dejou Marano is Co-Founder of CountryBred and Founding Editor of The Bred Blog. Splitting her time between Los Angeles and Europe, Dejou seeks to bring the imagination and wonder of Europe to all travelers through her never-ending pursuit of undiscovered cultural gems and experiences, which she shares through her travel writing.

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