Saturday, February 14, 2009

Italians to snub ST Valentine's day

More than half of Italians expecting a gift from their lovers on Valentine's Day this weekend are in for a disappointment, the Coldiretti farmers' group said Thursday.
Some 52% of people in a poll by the union said they had no intention of digging into their pockets for a romantic present this year - an increase of 7% on Valentine rubbishers in 2008.
The economic crisis will also take its toll on lovers planning to shell out this year, with more people opting for cheaper gifts like flowers (25%) and clothes (11%), Coldiretti said.
Around 9% of Italians said they would buy chocolates or sweets - a 5% drop on 2008 figures, while just 3% were planning to buy jewellery - down 6% on last year.

But the group said florists expected to sell 20 million flowers this year, including 14 million roses, at a cost of 75 million euros.
Another farmers' group, CIA, said around 50% of under-18s would not buy presents this year, but 35% of these would say 'I love you' by SMS or email.

The president of consumer rights group Codacons, Carlo Rienzi, meanwhile started an official campaign to ''cancel St Valentine's from the calendar as a form of protest, not against those in love, but against a pointless recurrence of unrestrained consumerism''.
''Let's be honest, St Valentine's Day gets on everyone's nerves - both for singles, who feel alone and a bit sad, and for those in couples, who feel obliged to give something because of social convention,'' Rienzi said on his website, www.carlorienzi.it.

''People who are really in love should not feel pressured by this symbol of consumerism but should celebrate their love every day,'' he added.
Consumer rights association Adoc confirmed that lovers will also be saving their pennies on Valentine's meals, with 65% deciding to stay home and cook rather than go to a restaurant.
Among the most popular dishes people planned to prepare on Saturday were polenta with creamed cheese, 'trofie' pasta with flowers and pesto and buffalo mozzarella with tomato mousse, followed up by chili-pepper-flavoured chocolate, strawberries or spumante.

Not everyone was shying away from grand romantic gestures, however.
A Genoa bus driver has forked out 400 euros for advertising space on three city buses, one of which he drives, and which now bear the message ''Federica, I live for you only'' as a Valentine's present to his wife.
''It was simply a way of showing my love and affection for my wife. We've been married for 12 years and I love her to distraction,'' the doting driver said.

Consumer moans are also unlikely to stop lovers from turning out in droves at St Valentine's birthplace at Terni in Umbria.
Each year couples swear undying passion in the cathedral that houses the saint's head.
Couples also flock each year to the small Sardinian town of Sadali near Nuoro to ask the saint to look kindly on them and bless engagements.

The ritual has been going on for centuries in the town's 15th-century church, only the second in Italy to be devoted to St Valentine.
In local dialect the saint is affectionately known as Su Coiadori (''he who betrothes'') and many of the couples expect their pilgrimage to bless their marriage (''coias'' in dialect).
As well as saintly enterprises, Italy boasts other romantic rites for St Valentine's Day.
The small southern town of Vico del Gargano, for instance, has a 300-year-old tradition of garlanding a lovers' lane.
Published on Fri, 02/13/2009 - 08:56