There was once a vast necropolis on the hill of San Valentino, at that time a mile away from Terni. The first Bishop of Terni was buried in that necropolis after his martyrdom, and for this reason, as tradition holds, when the Christian religion was firmly established, a large five aisled basilica was built on that spot. It was destroyed several times by hords of barbarians passing through and by neglect, so that by around 1600 nothing but ruins remained. The testimony resisted that in a crypt under the main altar of that large basilica lay the body of San Valentino, protector of the city. Excavations promoted by the Diocese enabled the crypt to be found (it is still open to visitors) and to recover the relic of the saint. It was decided to rebuild the basilica, charging the barefooted Carmelite monks to watch over the relic of the saint. A convent was therefore built joined on to the church.
The work began in 1606 and ended some years later. It was Archduke Leopold of Austria, who after visiting the basilica, had the main altar built in marble, which he wanted to be worthy of a saint as important as he considered Valentino to be and that contained his relic inside a reliquary.The basilica was restored in 1854 (as is evident from the inscription on the facade). Among the artworks on the inside are some paintings by Lucas de la Haye, a Flemish painter, and a Madonna with Child and Saints by Andrea Polinori.
The remains of San Valentino, the patron saint of lovers, were placed in a gilded crystal and bronze urn under the main altar in 1699, when, following a wave of donations from the Archduke of Austria, the whole chutch was"revisited" and embellished. Of the same period are the funeral monuments of the Marchesi Sciamanna family and the large silver cross donated by the Municipal of Terni.
The convent next to the church was built in the same 17th century and financed by the Municipal as it was to host the guardian friars of the remains of the city's patron, the barefoot Carmelitans lived there continuously up to 1861, when the advent of the new Kingdom of Italy enforced the fact that the owner of the walls was the Municipal albeit together with the bishop.
In more recent times the convent has been Used for lodgings for low-income families, then after rennovation, it became the location of the University Faculty of Political Science and subsequently, Economics.
A tablet placed over the entrance to the ex-convent remembers Garibaldi's stopover, with a feverish Anita suffering from the illness that would cause her death a few days later, and the garibaldini fleeing from Rome after the end of the Roman Republic of 1849.