Italian hamlets celebrate Romantic Night

Music, drama, food, midnight kiss for summer solstice

(ANSA) - Rome, June 13 - La Notte Romantica (Romantic Night) returns to ancient villages and hamlets across Italy on June 24 in a celebration of the summer solstice three days previously. 200 of the 'Most beautiful hamlets in Italy' are taking part in the initiative that begins with dinner and then moves into the local streets and squares with music and drama performances, film screenings and other cultural events on the theme of beauty and love. The party culminates with the traditional midnight kiss and release of heart-shaped balloons. "Last year a million people celebrated with us," association president Fiorello Primi said. "6,000 photos were tagged on the Instagram page, including over 1,000 during the party itself," he added. The page attracted "six million visualisations, particularly in Italy and the United States. And then, unlike on white nights (all-night cultural events giving free access to museums, galleries and monuments), from the outset we structured the party starting from dinner, with special menus. This year will see the debut of the dessert Pensiero d'amore (love thought) created by the chef Porzia Vitali'', Primi continued. This year the Notte Romantica will also be celebrated simultaneously in Spain and Belgium as a result of the adherence of the equivalent Spanish and Belgian associations Los Pueblos Mas bonito de Espana and Les plus beaux villages de Wallonie.
    The Italian association is also looking abroad for the future.
    "Spreading the concept of the Italian 'hamlet', turning it into an international word like 'pizza', is fundamental," explained Primi.
    In this respect investment is needed "especially in extra-European countries such as the US, Japan and China" in order to explain to potential tourists what hamlets are and what life is like there. "This is officially the year of the hamlet ... and we are promoting everything that makes us unique and the best in the world," said Italian tourist board executive director Giovanni Bastianelli, citing campaigns from London to Argentina.