Sorrento’s Valentine’s Day

A holiday very local and tremendously important to the town of Sorrento is Sant’Antonino. Sant’Antonino is celebrated every year on the 14th of February just as the widely popular Valentines Day in the US and other countries across the world. Scattered across the town are large monuments of Saint Antonino and churches. Sant’Atonino is Sorrento’s patron saint. On the morning of the 14th, a silver statue of the saint is paraded followed by a service and a feast in his honor. He is known as the saint that saved Sorrento. Across town on the 14th there are various stands and shows for children. 

Statue of Sant’Antonino

The story behind how this specific saint saved the town of Sorrento goes like this: In the sixth century a boy was found to be playing on the beaches of Sorrento. Then, a sudden creature appeared through the waves and swallowed him whole. His mother, with extreme panic, then ran to the local monastery where she begged the abbot to save her son’s life. Furthemore, he was able to save her son’s life and bring her child back from the shadow of death, meanwhile, remaining unharmed. This was just one of many miracles attributed to San Antonino. 

As mentioned before, there are statues across the town that commemorate this Saint. Specifically, both statues pay a tribute to this miracle by attaching an interpretation of him defeating such a creature at the bottom of his foot. Furthermore, Sorrento also has La Basilica di Sant’antonino where two ribs from the sea creature hang to the right of the entrance. Amongst the church, there are different colors of marble that stand to represent the miracles attributed to this particular saint. Additionally, it is said that he was buried within the walls of the church. Throughout the church there are paintings illustrating his miracles.

When speaking to locals across Sorrento I found that most of their answers were similar, if not, the same. Each one went on to describe how this legend is the foundation of the town and how Sant’Antonino is celebrated yearly. Interestingly enough, everytime I asked about the holiday, they never failed to mention how it was the same day as our Valentine’s Day. However, they did make it known that Valentine’s Day is still very much a thing that exists but I noticed that most spoke with more enthusiasm about their patron saint. A fact that I found to be so interesting was that many people across Sorrento are named after this particular saint which is why you will find so many males named Antonino and so many females named Antonina.