The old continent was named in honor of the beautiful daughter of the Phoenician king Agénor, who was seduced by Zeus and became the first queen of Crete after this god fell madly in love with her. From its origins, Europe has been linked to romance through this myth and by being the setting for some of the most passionate and popular love stories in literature.
With these credentials, Now that Valentine's Day is approaching, it may be a good idea to take a getaway to some of the most romantic destinations on the continent, such as Verona (Italy) or Teruel (Spain). Both scenarios of two tragic love stories such as that of Romeo and Juliet on the one hand and that of Isabel de Segura and Diego de Marcilla on the other. Can you come with us?
A Valentine's Day in Verona
Shakespeare chose this city as the setting for the most famous romantic tragedy of all time: Romeo and Juliet, the young lovers from two enemy families.
During Valentine's Day, the streets and squares of the city are decked out with flowers, red lamps and heart-shaped balloons to make hundreds of couples from all over the world spend an unforgettable day. In addition, you can visit the houses of the lovers, the entrance to Juliet being free during Valentine's Day. It is a XNUMXth century Gothic palace that has a very famous balcony known as Juliet's Balcony, which has become a great tourist phenomenon. There the contest "Amada Julieta" is organized in which the most romantic love letter is awarded.
Also in the Plaza dei Signori, a handicraft market is organized whose stalls are arranged in a special way to draw a heart. There you can get the perfect gift for your partner and make this stay an indelible memory. As if that weren't enough, there will also be pyrotechnic shows, concerts, poetry recitals, theatrical performances and exhibitions that add a cultural character to a call that offers lovers a unique experience.
Currently, Verona is trying to launch a project similar to the Weddings of Isabel de Segura in Teruel, to involve Veronese in the re-creation of the history of Romeo and Juliet and thus encourage tourism even more.
A Valentine's Day in Teruel
Since 1997 the city recreates in February the tragic love story of Diego de Marcilla and Isabel de Segura on the occasion of Valentine's Day. For a few days, Teruel goes back to the XNUMXth century and its inhabitants dress in medieval clothes and adorn the historic center of the city to represent the legend. This festival, known as the Weddings of Isabel de Segura, attracts more visitors every year.
Numerous activities have been planned in the Aragonese city on the occasion of this festival. The most outstanding this year is the opera by Los Amantes de Teruel, which will be performed in the beautiful church of San Pedro, one of the original settings in the history of these lovers.
The music will be in charge of Javier Navarrete (winner of an Emmy Award and nominated for a Grammy and an Oscar) and the libretto will be based on medieval texts and the Christian liturgy. The staging will be minimalist but intense.
There will also be a market for typical products and crafts, concerts or theatrical performances to add a cultural touch to the event.
The legend of the Lovers, which dates back to the 1555th century, has historical roots. In XNUMX, in the course of some works that were carried out in the church of San Pedro, the mummies of a man and a woman who had been buried several centuries earlier were found. According to a document found later, those bodies belonged to Diego de Marcilla and Isabel de Segura, those of the Lovers of Teruel.
Isabel was the daughter of one of the richest families in the city, while Diego was the second of three siblings, which at that time was equivalent to having no inheritance rights. For this reason, the girl's father refused to grant her his hand but gave her a period of five years to make a fortune and achieve her purpose.
Bad luck caused Diego to return from the war with riches on the day the term expired and Isabel to marry another man by design of her father, believing that he had died.
Resigned, the young man asked her for one last kiss but she refused as she was married. Faced with such a blow, the young man fell dead at his feet. The next day, at Diego's funeral, the girl broke protocol and gave him the kiss that she had denied him in life, and immediately fell dead next to him.
Both Teruel and Verona are part of the Europa Enamorada route, a European network promoted by the Spanish city that requires member cities (Montecchio Maggiore, Paris, Sulmona, Verona or Teruel) that the love legend set in the city is alive today through some social or academic movement.