Verona, the City of Romance

In Fair Verona where we lay our scene.…

Almost 500 years ago, Shakespeare chose Verona as the backdrop for one of the most famous love stories in the world. This picturesque Italian city remains a popular destination for modern-day lovers wanting to immerse in the romance and beauty of this fair city of Verona. And, as this is the month of love, it is the perfect time to share our picks to visit when in this city of love.

Stay in Love

Our pick of the most romantic place to stay in the city is the Grand Relais – The Gentleman of Verona. Located in the heart of the city only a short walk from the main piazza and Juliet’s infamous balcony, this sixteenth-century residence offers luxury boutique accommodation, fine cuisine and international 5-star services. The hotel has maintained an old world charm but with modern updates, immaculate décor and beautifully designed spacious rooms. With a matchless location and exquisitely tasteful Italian style, this place is perfect as a romantic base from which to explore the city. For extra romance ask to stay in the Star room, the La Stanza delle Stelle. Featuring original stucco work and a 16th-century fresco along with fine antique furnishings this room could be the scene of a Shakespearean romance.

Romantic Dining

When you are ready to dine, The Casa Perbellini on the Piazza San Zeno is the place to take that someone special for an evening of romance, wine and Michelin star dining. The chef Giancarlo Perbellini cooks in an open kitchen thus removing any barrier between him and his guests, making his kitchen the stage in a spectacular dining experience. Reservations are essential as this is an intimate dining experience with only a few tables.

The Romance of Perfume

In the centre of Verona you will find the Merchant of Venice. A famous shop dedicated to the art perfumery with a luxury line of Italian perfumes made in Venice and named after the famous play. Enter the shop through a beautiful doorway and into a showroom of Italian hickory wood, that embodies the romance of the Italian merchants bringing spices and goods from exotic places. The shop is infused with culture, luxury and the traditions of Venice; maps of the “mude” trade routes, rich wallpaper and soft carpeting combined with ornate tables displaying Murano glass decanters filled with exotic smelling perfumes. You will fall in love with this little shop and the Merchant’s divine scents of romance.

Wine, liquid romance

No visit to this region would be complete without a wine tasting. The Villa Mosconi Bertani located 30 minutes out of the city is our pick of the place to savour the experience of wine tasting in the heart of this romantic region. The Villa and gardens have stood here since the 1700s and the cellars even longer. Famous as the birthplace of the Amarone Wine, visitors are welcome to join guided tours of the estate including the Romanticism inspired gardens, the Amarone and Valpolicella vineyards as well as the historical cellars. Then relax while meeting with the wine-makers and tasting some of the estate grown wines.

Follow the Romance To Juliet’s Balcony

Of course, no visit to Verona would be complete without visiting one of the iconic sites inspired by the story of Romeo and Juliet. The most famous of these is the Casa di Giulietta, the home of the tragic Juliet Capulet and featuring the balcony where the imagined scene of Romeo declaring is love could have happened. A busy touristic place, but worth a quick visit to say you have been.

Soak in the Romance of the past

The historical Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza dei Signori, with their colourfully frescoed and lace-like facades are a short stroll from the famous balcony and are the perfect place to relax, unwind and enjoy the ever-present romance of this city. Sitting outside one of the many cafes and restaurants on the piazza in the warm Italian sun with a glass of the local wine is the perfect way to relax at sunset with that special someone in the dreamy glow that makes Verona the Italian city of Romance.


A Crazy Little Thing Called Love and a Triangular Theory

Love has to be one of the most confusing and confounding emotions we feel. It can drive you crazy trying to understand if what we feel for someone is love and if they love you in return. And how will I know if he really loves me? Hmm sounds like the lyrics of a million love songs.

Well, it turns out a professor at Yale has come up with an interesting way of deciphering our love feelings and categorizing them so we can know if what we are feeling is true love or not. His theory, the triangular theory of love, not to be confused with a love triangle, was written to help shed some light on our relationships and what makes love.

Love that is real, strong and lasting according to Dr. Sternberg, is like a triangle made up of three essential sides. When all three sides are equal you have the perfect love. Hmm, sounds easy right? So what are the three elusive sides of real love?

Side one: The intimacy component – feeling closeness and attachment to each other. The amount we can open up to someone and feel like they understand and know us.

Side two: The passion component – strong physical and/or emotional arousal that comes from being around this person.

Side three: The decision/commitment component – feeling a strong desire to be committed to someone, to promise to do or give something to another and to be loyal to one person.

The Perfect Combination

A perfect combination of these three components creates the strong, lasting love of legends. A complete love is the ideal loving formula everyone strives for with an equal balance of intimacy, passion and commitment. If you have this, you have found what millions of others are still looking for. People in love like this cannot imagine themselves happier over the long-term with anyone else. These couples are able to overcome their difficulties gracefully and they enjoy being in a relationship with each other over a long period of time.

So, what about the other types of love we experience? Not every love experience is a complete success. The triangular theory of love can help us understand these experiences also. According to the theory a relationship with one or two components missing creates one of 6 different types of love and here they are:

The Friend-zone: When you have a closeness and understanding with someone, but without passion or commitment you are firmly in the friend zone. A type of love reserved for friends and family with no romantic involvement.

Puppy Love: This is the form of infatuated love. It has lots of passion, but misses out on the intimacy or commitment. We may think we are in love, but really we don’t even know each other yet and have no idea if we will see each other beyond next week.

Empty Love: Comes when there is a strong commitment to each other, but without any passion or intimacy remaining. The type of love between partners who stay together because they promised they would.

Romantic Love: The heady stuff of love songs and romances. Those relationships that go on for months and are full of passion and intimacy, but never make it to the commitment stage. This is the love affair or the one-night stand that goes no further.

Best Friends Forever Love: Best friends love each other in a two-sided love of closeness and commitment without the passionate love component. These are the friends we will be close to for years and sometimes for a lifetime.

Love At First Sight: The whirlwind love affair that grows between two hearts full of passion and desire for commitment. It is the adrenaline rush of love that begs us to head directly to a Vegas chapel to profess our undying love and commitment to each other. Yet, this love lacks the essential intimacy component. Basically, you still don’t know each other well enough yet, but given time it can grow into a more complete love.

Dr. Sternberg really should be thanked for helping bring clarity to the different types of love we feel. And, the good Doctor has one more piece of advice for us. It is essential that our love is shown in actions. He states, “Without expression, even the greatest of loves can die”. So, this Valentine’s Day think about how you can express your love to those around you in all the types of relationships we have. After all, everyone deserves to feel more of this crazy little thing called love.

Do’s and Don’ts on Valentine’s Day – Our Guide to Modern Valentine’s Day Etiquette

Valentine’s Day is one of those days you either love or hate. A potent mixture of commercialism and romance that can make some people feel great and leave others feeling awkward or left out. Yet, if we all can embrace some good old-fashioned fun and kindness, this day can be a special day for spreading a little thoughtfulness and appreciation. Here are our do’s and don’ts for a modern Valentine’s Day.



Be Generous

Use the day to spread kindness especially with those you spend most of your days with, your co-workers. All co-workers love sweets and chocolates so bring in enough for everyone and be a Valentine’s Day superstar. Make it a day of good clean fun that makes everyone feel good and does not embarrass or make anyone feel awkward.

Get some international inspiration

In Japan Valentine’s Day is the day women buy chocolate for every man in their life, their fathers, brothers, co-workers, friends, boyfriends and bosses. They even have different types of chocolate for the different relationships. And don’t worry if this seems one-sided, one month later on White Day, all the men buy white chocolate for all the women in their lives! What a great way to spread appreciation and chocolate!

Be A Secret Admirer

Denmark and Norway have a charming custom on Valentines Day. Women receive funny anonymous rhyming poems from secret admirers. The poem contains a small clue to the writer’s identity for the women to guess who it is from.

Make it about friends

Finland and Estonia have embraced Valentine’s Day as Friend’s Day and celebrate all friendships on this day. This is a great idea for ensuring everyone is included in the day. So why not plan a group night out with all your friends.


Think of those who have lost someone

Valentine’s day can be a sad and lonely day for those who have lost a loved one. A small note or phone call can make someone’s day and is especially nice on Valentine’s Day.




Don’t make anyone feel awkward. If you do receive a bunch of flowers or gift at work, keep it discrete. Yes, display on your desk, but don’t parade it around the office.

PDA at work

And if you are involved with someone at work, Valentine’s Day is not a free day for over the top PDA. Keep it professional and everyone will thank you.

Declare Undying Love

Despite what we may have seen in movies, Valentine’s Day is not the day to declare your undying love for some unsuspecting soul. Play it cool with an anonymous card, a single flower on a desk, or a small box of chocolates. Please leave the balloons, large bouquets of flowers and other grand gestures for when you are a couple.

Have a First Date

Valentine’s Day is not the day for a first date. Not even a coffee date. It is too hyped and places too much pressure on a first meeting.

And finally, don’t forget Valentine’s Day is only one day of the year. Sharing kindness and appreciation should be something we practice every day of the year. Valentine’s day is just an excuse to indulge in a little romantic fun and extra chocolate, so enjoy it!




A Conversation with Mirte van Wijngaarden

Freelance Fashion Designer with an innovative vision of fashion

Mirte’s work is instantly recognizable through her use of existing fashion elements which she changes into new ground-breaking designs. She loves to combine different textures and materials in ways that create unique volumes and shapes. The result: an innovative vision of fashion.


How long have you been a fashion designer and what brands have you worked with?

I have been a freelance fashion designer for 5 years now working with such brands as ILNI, Cedric Jacquemyn, 2UNMLITED, Dotan music, Armin van Buuren, Naturalis, Femmes Des Sud.


What is the biggest challenge in your line of work?

The biggest challenge is to continuously find ways to spark inspiration. This is essential if you want to stay innovative in design. In addition, you must allow yourself to continue to reflect on yourself and your designs.


In this type of work deadlines are important. How do you cope with deadline pressure?

Fortunately, I work best with deadlines. I like them because they force you to move quickly and make choices. Perhaps it is part of the adrenaline that kicks in, but for me working with a deadline is best.


What qualities do you think one needs to have in order to work in the fashion design world?

To work in fashion you obviously have to be creative. On top of that you must be open to everything around you. Fashion design can be very diverse, one week you are designing a bag, then a range of clothing the next week and a collection book for a brand the following week. Therefore to work in design you must be able to keep being inspired and pushing yourself each time.



What is the strangest or most fun thing that you have ever encountered in your work?

Hmm, I need to think on this for a minute… I was asked recently if I wanted to make a hand puppet for the COMICCON. I had no idea if I could do this kind of design or not, but I was interested to challenge myself with something new and I succeeded. This was quite a challenge!


How important is social media to you and why?

Social media is very important. In this industry you need to have great accessibility. It also creates a platform to share your work in new directions. For example through the use of hashtags on Instagram, your work can be found by a wide range of new people. I think that the creative world can no longer do without social media. It has become an important part of the entire process of inspiring and being inspired.


Where do you see yourself in five years from now? 

I hope that, as a freelance designer, I have managed to put myself on the map.


Where is your favourite vacation destination?



What are your plans for the weekend?

On Friday evening I usually go out to dinner with friends and on Sunday I like to be with my family.


You can visit Mirte on her

Website: or on Instagram