A City In Italy Searches For Its American Valentine

Terni is the birthplace of St. Valentine. And this Valentine’s Day, it’s launching an effort to find its American sister city.
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A City In Italy Searches For Its American Valentine

Image credit: Sailko [CC BY]

Nestled in the Umbrian hills of Italy, Terni is a picturesque city of 111,000 people located just an hour north of Rome. It isn’t particularly on the radar for American tourists, but perhaps it will be once it joins hands with its American Terni Twin.

Terni is known as the City of Lovers because it was the birthplace of Saint Valentine (well, one of them — the history is complicated, but Valentine of Terni is the legendary martyr who inspired Valentine’s Day). The 3rd century clergyman became the patron saint of lovers by marrying Romans when Christian marriage was illegal. Saint Valentine had such a profound effect on the Roman city of Interamna (now Terni) that his remains can be found in the city’s Basilica San Valentino.

In honor of the city that gave America its most romantic holiday, we’re shooting cupid’s arrows across the Atlantic. With the help of Terni’s mayor, Babbel is firing up a search for an American “Sister City” — an urban soulmate from across the pond.

With the help of Terni’s mayor, Babbel is firing up a search for an American “Sister City.”

The modern concept of town twinning (or “Sister Cities”) started in 1947 as part of an effort to build friendships after World War II. Though Terni has been twinned with Cartagena (Spain), Dunaújváros (Hungary), and Saint-Ouen-sur-Seine (France), the Italian city has never had a U.S. twin. But not for much longer.

Think your American city might fall head over heels for Terni? Below, you can find information on how to enter and the kind of criteria the judges are looking for. The submission process will begin this Valentine’s Day, and the winner will be announced on Valentine’s Day 2021.

Terni Italy waterfalls
Image credit: Valerio Clementi [CC BY-SA]
A judging panel including Leonardo Latini, Mayor of Terni, and Julie Hansen, Babbel’s U.S. CEO, will decide which American city or town will be crowned Terni Twin. Babbel will donate 1,000 Babbel subscriptions to the winning city so that its inhabitants can learn the language of their new sister city.

To enter, members of the public should submit a short video showcasing their city’s compatibility with Terni. American cities or towns keen on twinning with Terni should ideally share a historical, cultural, professional, or touristic point of compatibility with the Italian city.

Eligible matches might include, but not be limited to, cities or towns with:

  • A romantic appeal.
  • Impressive geographical and/or aquatic features. Point of inspiration: the Marmore Falls, a man-made waterfall just outside of Terni created by the ancient Romans.
  • A history of significant industrial redevelopment since World War II. Given its industrial significance, much of Terni was destroyed during the war and has since been rebuilt.
  • Successful steel industries. Terni’s second nickname is “The City of Steel” due to its extensive steel mills and their role in the second industrial revolution in Italy.
  • An association with a political leader famed for their support of the arts. Terni was the birthplace of Roman Emperor Marcus Claudius Tacitus.
  • A reputation for their care of animals. Saint Francis of Assisi, founder of the Franciscan Order and patron saint of animals and the natural environment, frequently visited Terni during his lifetime.
  • A history of helping people suffering from epilepsy. St. Valentine is also a patron saint of epilepsy, and there are multiple accounts of him healing people with the affliction.
  • Connections to beekeeping. Alongside his romantic duties, St. Valentine is also the patron saint of beekeeping.

To enter, send an email to ternitwin@babbel.com with your name, contact details, and your video submission. If you need help figuring out how to share your video, just send us an email — we’re here to help!

We'd love your submission.
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