Some of the most romantic sights and locations are those steeped in history. If you’re looking for romantic trip ideas this Valentine’s Day, look towards your bookshelf for inspiration.
I have a soft spot when it comes to historic travel, mostly due to my love for books and reading. The magic of a good written work can’t be replicated by a movie and really great storytelling sticks with you for a long time, if not forever — at least that’s how it’s been for me. Romantic movies are nice and they can definitely make you cry, but they can’t replicate the written word the way your mind interprets it.
Since Valentine’s Day is only a few days away, I wanted to kick off the week with a little bit of romantic inspiration. The following trip ideas are inspired by seven of the world’s most famous love stories. Each one of these stories has left me both breathless and brokenhearted. Each tale tells a completely different story and they are all set in different areas of the world.
Romeo and Juliet – Verona, Italy 1 of 7
There is no story quite as romantic and heart-wrenching as that of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Casa di Giulietta, a.k.a. Juliet's house, is a huge tourist attraction in Verona and has one of the most famous balconies in the world. Even though the story is fiction, the city of Verona purchased this house from the Dal Capello family due to the similarity in the names (Capuleti/Cappello) and it's been a popular tourist destination ever since. Lovers can profess their undying love to each other in the courtyard where you'll notice thousands of pieces of paper covering the floor and ceiling. It's was said that those who write down their love vows and stick them on the wall or ceiling will live happily together forever, but the practice has since been banned, so it's best to profess them in person.
Photo credit: ell brown/Flickr
Sense and Sensibility – Hertfordshire, London 2 of 7
Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility is one of the most romantic books I've ever read and it's almost impossible to not fall into love with Mr. Darcy. Swoon!
This fictional story is set in Hertfordshire, a county in London. If you visit, you'll find it quite easy to see why Jane Austen used this town as the location for this romance. Visitors can enjoy the Hatfield House, a historic estate that dates back over 400 years. Garden lovers can enjoy the herb, knot and scented gardens after touring this home and its extensive collection of pictures, furnishings and historic artifacts.
Visitors can also enjoy the famous Knebworth House, a gothic mansion complete with gardens and parks.
Photo credit: Old Fogey 1942/Flickr
Gone with the Wind – Atlanta, Georgia 3 of 7
In Gone with the Wind, what starts off as a light romance turns into a tumultuous story that hits close to home, thanks to historical references. I feel that the story was made famous by the movie starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh. Talk about chemistry; those two had it in spades!
Clayton County was designated as the "Offical Home of Gone with the Wind" in 1969 and it is here that you'll find the Road to Tara Museum. The museum houses reproductions of the actual costumes worn by the actresses in the film, Gone with the Wind memorabilia, artwork and many more artifacts from the movie.
Margaret Mitchell, the author, wrote Gone with the Wind in a three-story Tudor Revival building. You can visit her home and take a tour of it, check out objects that documented her work, and film-related material and memorabilia related to Mitchell.
Photo credit: hoyasmeg/Flickr
Robin Hood – Nottinghamshire, London 4 of 7
Why do so many girls fall for the bad boys? In Maid Marion's defense, Robin Hood was a rebel — but a good one! Nottinghamshire is the home of Robin Hood.
Nottingham is a great town with some of the best shopping in the United Kingdom. In fact, it's known as the capital of shopping for Brits! In addition to the castles, museums and City of Caves, you really must visit the famed Sherwood Forest (yes, it really exists!). You'll find some of the oldest trees in Europe here in the 450 acre country park which receives over 500,000 tourists each and every year thanks to its association with Robin Hood. The best time to visit is in August as they hold a five-day Robin Hood Festival in celebration of the world's most famous outlaw.
Photo credit: Lincolnian (Brian)/Flickr
Antony and Cleopatra – Egypt 5 of 7
Is there any love story (other than Romeo and Juliet) that is as famous as Cleopatra and Mark Antony's tale? History's greatest love affair is filled with truths and much speculation, which makes it even more sensational. Even William Shakespeare created a tragedy based on the story of the Roman general and Queen of Egypt.
The story unfolds in three locations — Rome, Egypt and the city of Tarsus (Turkey). They say that Cleopatra's Palace is underwater, but there are still many ways to experience Egypt, including tours such as this one that take you through the story place by place traveling through Egypt and Italy!
Photo credit: archer10 (Dennis)/Flickr
The Notebook – Seabrook Island, South Carolina 6 of 7
The Notebook is a tale of unconditional love. It's one of the most moving stories I've ever read/seen. The film with Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams is riveting and takes my breath away each and ever time I watch it (seven times and counting). The novel, written by Nicholas Sparks, tells the story of a young couple who falls in love in the early 1940s. I'm not going to get further in detail because I don't want to give any spoilers for those of you who haven't watched/read it.
Boone Hall Plantation is Allie's summer home in the film. It's also America's most photographed plantation, and has been named by NBC as "a must-see stop on any trip to Charleston, South Carolina." It is one of America's oldest working, living plantations and the grounds are simply spectacular.
Photo credit: igb/Flickr
The Bridges of Madison County – Madison County, Iowa 7 of 7
The Bridges of Madison County is another book that was made famous by the movie starring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep. Francesca Johnson, an Italian housewife, meets Robert Kincaid, a photographer for National Geographic during his visit to Madison County, Iowa. The two end up having a four-day love affair that affects their lives and futures.
You can visit the many bridges of Madison County yourself or take guided tours. Only six out of 19 covered bridges remain and all are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Photo credit: amanderson2/Flickr
Find more of Nadia’s writing on her site Child Mode. You can also find her on Disney Baby and Hip Baby. Love social media? So does she! Follow her daily on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.