Rome, the bustling beating heart of Italy, should be your starting point for planning that romantic getaway: a walk in the footsteps of phenomenal artists (think Michelangelo's astonishing painting in the Sistine Chapel) and movie greats (think Anita Ekberg emerging from the Trevi Fountain in La Dolce Vita). It is the country's capital for everything from culture to cafes to dancing the night away in a club, but Rome's animated pace may not be for you.
You might prefer a sojourn in the floating city of Venice, with a gondola ride along the Grand Canal, and a stroll around one of Europe's most stunning squares, Piazza San Marco. You might want to take a trip straight to the heart of the world's greatest love story, Verona, where Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet was set. You might want to head north to the luxurious shores of lovely Lake Como, nestled in the Alps.
Florence could well be the place that piques your passion, boasting one of Italy's most mesmerising art collections in the Uffizi Museum, including works like Boticelli's Birth of Venus. The city is capital of one of the most naturally beautiful regions in Italy, Tuscany, full of dreamy hill towns and rolling vineyard-clad hills.
And finally, do not forget the south and, in particular, Sicily: the island has the most inviting beaches in Italy, as well as unique Arabic-influenced architecture and cuisine, juxtaposed against the backdrop of smoking hot volcano Mount Etna.
|Destination||Reasons to go|
|Rome||Culture, Cuisine, Nightlife, Tiber river cruise|
|Venice||Gondola rides, Venetian Lagoon boat trips|
|Verona||Setting for Romeo and Juliet, Historic squares, Wine|
|Lake Como||Lakeside setting, Mountains, Luxury|
|Florence||Renaissance art and architecture, Cathedral|
|Tuscany||Wineries, Hill towns, Coast|
|Sicily||Palermo's architecture, Mount Etna, Aeolian Islands coastline|
The main thing to remember with Italy is that it is one of the world's most popular destinations for a reason: every destination of note is jam-packed with fantastic places to eat and drink and laden with lavish historic buildings. You could fill several weeks with sight-seeing in Rome alone, and Venice, Lake Como, Florence, Tuscany and Sicily could all occupy you for many days. So try not to cram in too many places into your romantic itinerary: strolling the streets or sipping the fantastic wines is much lovelier than spending time travelling between places.
Florence and Tuscany can be easily combined in a few days' trip, as can Venice and Verona; otherwise, consider focusing on exploring just one of the below destinations for a perfect honeymoon break of around five days, or coming for ten days to fit in more destinations to your trip. Honeymoon trip options include:
- A 5-day exploration of Rome and its must-se sights
- A 10-day tour of Venice, Florence, the Amalfi Coast and Rome
- A 6-day exploration of the villages of Lake Como
- A 14-day itinerary to Florence and Tuscany, including Siena, Pisa and Lucca
- A 14-day road trip around the Sicilian coast
Whet your appetite with cuisine and culture in Rome
Begin your time in the 'Eternal City' by enjoying the thing that keeps all of Italy together: food. Depending on the time of day, this could be at a food market like see-and-be-seen weekend-only Campagna Amica Market, where you can have fun browsing all of Italy's finest gastronomic outputs at one address. It could be enjoying a leisurely coffee in an elegant cafe like Sciascia Caffè 1919, sharing some gelato (ice cream) at fifth-generation gelateria (ice cream store) Fassi Gelateria or dining at the city's only three Michelin-starred restaurant, La Pergola, set off by its panoramic roof garden.
Toss a coin together into ornate 18th-century Trevi Fountain, where Anita Ekberg splashes in director Federico Fellini's famous love story, La Dolce Vita, a tradition which supposedly helps the coin-tossers find love. Or take a newlyweds' wander around one of the largest and loveliest urban public gardens in Europe, Villa Borghese.
And what could be more rome-antic than taking in the capital's phenomenal art scene? Start at the Vatican Museum with the internationally-famous Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica to gawk at the sensational painting of Michelangelo and Bernini. The National Gallery of Modern Art houses works by Van Gough, Monet and Cezanne and is one of Italy's finest art collections, whilst within Villa Borghese, Galleria Borghese displays a spectacular body of artwork from the 15th to 18th centuries.
A sunset cruise with dinner on the Tiber River, Rome's main waterway, is a wonderful way to round off the day, spying all the city's main bridges such as Regina Margherita Bridge, Saint’Angel Bridge, Mazzini Bridge, Sisto Bridge and the Garibaldi Bridge.
Take to the waters or take after Cassanova in Venice
In the 'floating city', getting out on the water is integral to the experience. Slide off down one of the myriad canals bisecting the city for a private gondola ride with your partner (you can find boats ready and waiting at any of the main bridges), or whisk your loved one off on a boat ride out across the Venetian Lagoon to an island such as beautiful Burano, bedecked with fetching pastille-hued houses and famous for its exquisite lace work.
And aptly for such an amorous locale, Venice has its own legendary lover's legacy engrained on the cityscape - that of Cassanova himself. Relax over a glass of wine together at Cantina Do Spade, the 600 year-old bar where the famous ladies' man dined with his lovers, or linger at the nearby Rialto Bridge, where he would arrange his ardent meetings.
Of course, sitting at a cafe table on one of the most impressive public squares in Europe, Piazza San Marco, will be on any newlyweds' wish list too. But the most passionate conclusion to any day honeymooning in Venice is with a show at Teatro La Fenice, one of the planet's most famous opera houses, having premiered performances by the likes of Verdi and Rossini in its time.
Live a famous love story in Verona
You should not be surprised by the inclusion of Verona, alongside bigger and more famous destinations, on any list of honeymoon hotspots. After all, it was here that Shakespeare set Romeo and Juliet! The main sight in this attractive historic city is 14th-century mansion Casa di Giulietta, supposedly where a pining Juliet had her famous balcony in the totally fictional love story. You too can stand in yearning for your other half on the balcony and afterwards admire Juliet's Wall, where previous visiting lovers have left their amorous letters.
The city has a couple of captivating squares (piazzas) where the romance is more likely to flow than at slightly gimmicky Casa di Giulietta. First up is magical medieval Piazza delle Erbe with its fountain topped by a statue of the Madonna Verona and then there is Piazza del Signori, where the most famous Italian poet of all time, Dante, once resided. Verona is at the forefront of Italy's wine industry, with the world's biggest wine exhibition happening here, so this is the perfect place to savour a bottle of something special together at a venue like San Nicoló Wine Bar.
Indulge in lakeside luxury at Lake Como
The vivid blue waters of Alpine Lake Como, hemmed in by mountains and flanked by devastatingly beautiful towns, villages and luxury villas makes it mighty attractive to couples in the mood for love. The main town, Como, is centered around the spectacular duet of the 12th-century Basilica di San Fedele and the 14th-century Cathedral of Como. Meanwhile, a 20-minute walk from the main square delivers you to Villa Olmo, a neoclassical villa ensconced in delightful leafy landscaped grounds, and ideal for a walk or, should the weather allow, a swim in the lake or the pool within the grounds. Make the evening excursion up the Brunate funicular to catch a birds-eye view of Como at sunset, framed by the peaks high above: the perfect way to end a day with your loved one.
You can seek romance further on around the lake shores, too: in the grand villas adorning Bellagio, with a flower-festooned lakeside promenade in Menaggio or perhaps with a gentle boat ride along the lake in the region's iconic traditional vessel, the Lucia, a chestnut wood fishing boat topped by a trio of arches originally used to hang nets upon.
Be uplifted by Renaissance culture in Florence
Welcome to the cradle of the Renaissance, a place with buildings and museums that will take the breath of you and your partner away.
A city with a museum (the Uffizi) hosting the astonishing artwork of The Birth of Venus by Botticelli, depicting the arrival of the goddess of love and beauty, Venus, from her birthplace out at sea, is of course inclined to be charged with romance. And the Uffizi, despite its popularity, has to be on a honeymooners' sojourn in Florence: masterpieces from Michelangelo's David to Leonardo Da Vinci's Annunciation await here. But for a more intimate and exclusive art experience, book a visit to Galleria Luigi Bellini, a reservation-only art gallery operated by a long line of antique dealers that is more akin to strolling around your own private museum. Among the treasures inside are frescos by the Giotto school, a bust attributed to Donatello, a Madonna by Florentine Renaissance sculptor Luca della Robbia and a portrait of Venetian master Tintoretto.
Just spending time in Florence's main square, Piazza del Duomo, should ensure your honeymoon has beautiful memories. The impressive space is flanked by the city's finest building, the marble-clad Duomo (cathedral), its celebrated dome designed by Filippo Brunelleschi in the 15th century. The steep climb to the top of the Campanile, the cathedral’s bell tower, is another honeymoon highlight: looking out at the splendid view across the city to the distant mountains together is a moment you will remember forever.
And to cool off after all that culture, nothing beats a romantic swim together in Parco delle Cascine along the northern bank of the River Arno: here you will find a fabulous open-air swimming pool (dubbed "Le Pavoniere") as well as a poolside bar, restaurant and pizzeria.
Enjoy fine wine and seafood in scenic Tuscany
A Tuscany honeymoon, what with the region's expansive, green undulating landscapes, are a breath of fresh air after city-based trips, and Tuscany's size means escaping the crowds to find space, time and tranquility just for the two of you is especially easy.
This area is extremely well regarded for its wine, with both the Chianti wine region and the Unesco-listed Val D'Orcia wine region offering some of Italy's best and most attractive vineyard tours and wine tastings. One of the best ways to enjoy Tuscany's vineyards at leisure is on the Wine and Olive Oil Route, a 93-mile ramble along the Etruscan coast, from Livorno to Piombino, taking in vineyards, pine-backed beaches, olive groves and delightful terracotta-roofed towns. Along the way you will stumble upon many family-run cantine (wine cellars), many open to the public for tastings of full-bodied red and zesty white wines. A similarly wine and olive -themed route runs between Florence and Siena through the Chianti wine region. You could cycle parts of either of these, much along little-trafficked country lanes with ample opportunity for romantic stops along the way.
Another way to make your Tuscan honeymoon memorable is to make your way to one of the centuries-old hill towns, such as the striking Città del Tufo, a trio of villages (Pitigliano, Sovana, and Sorano) rising abruptly and alluringly out of crags of volcanic tufa rock, and full of cobbled alleyways and arched lanes tailor-made for lovers to lose themselves within.
Tuscany has divine coast, too. Consider a stay in Monte Argentario region, a stretch of seaboard topped and tailed by sophisticated harbor towns Porto San Stefano in the north and Porto Ercole in the south. Either would be the perfect place to take time out together to savour some sensational local seafood or delicious cocktails in refined surroundings.
Let passions erupt visiting volcanos and movie love scenes in Sicily
Where to begin with your travels around Sicily, where the pace of life is slower and the temperature hotter than anywhere else in the country? Big city Palermo, of course, with a stroll down the narrow cobbled streets to architectural highlights such as Unesco-listed Monreale Cathedral, standing out for its arresting Arabic influences and dazzling cloisters. Fill out the day by experiencing one of Italy's best streetfood scenes, again with a vibrant Arabic bent, or catching a performance at Italy's biggest opera house, Teatro Massimo.
Venturing out around the island, the hottest stop for newlyweds is imposing Mount Etna, Europe's biggest active volcano: hike to its summit or go wine-tasting in its foothills. On the west coast, do not miss medieval town Erice, with its castle where Venus, Roman goddess of love, purportedly once lived. Sicily is renowned for its Mafia connections, so stop by the quirky eastern hilltop village of Savoca, the movie location in The Godfather Part I where Michael Corleone gets smitten with, immediately proposes to and marries the beautiful Apollonia. And ensure that you escape for a few days to the Aeolian Islands off Sicily's north coast. See Panarea, a playground for the very rich and their luxury yachts, or Vulcano, where you can indulge in a 82.4°F/28°C mud bath together, then wash it all off in the ocean afterwards: steamy indeed!