The 101: my dream Italian honeymoon
I just got engaged (yea!) during a recent Living Big Travel research trip and vacation in Vietnam. While there is a lot of planning underway for our wedding, the part I’m most excited about is the honeymoon planning. I know, you’re all shocked to hear this. We’re still considering all the options, but it does have me thinking of a few honeymoon ideas that don’t follow the traditional path.
One of the top European honeymoon destinations is Italy. And for good reason! But if you follow the typical Italy shuffle of 3 nights Rome, 2 nights Florence and 3 nights Venice, IMO, it won’t feel like a honeymoon. You’ll be moving between cities so fast, constantly figuring out logistics of how to get to your hotel, what restaurant to visit, dealing with the organized chaos of the Italian railway, the thick crowds and more.
Here are just a few of the places I’d suggest you consider for your Italian honeymoon. And if we can help bring this to life for you, hop on over to this page to learn about our custom Travel Design service.
Florence: if you do it right, this town is down-right magical. I always stay in the Oltrarno neighborhood, where you’re steps from the big sights (if you want to join the crowds to see them) but at the doorsteps of local artisans, small restaurants, wine bars, amazing viewpoints and more. See the local opera, watch the sunset from the hilltop, learn to make a few Italian dishes together, and more.
Emilia-Romagna: this region is made up of many small towns, who all have a shared focus (and love!) of food. Visit Parma to have some of the best parmesan cheese and prosciutto, or Modena for the world-renowned balsamic vinegar, and Bologna for their blow-your-mind filled pastas.
Tuscany: it’s all so charming, but my fav hill town is probably Cortona. Rent an apartment, stroll their markets, watch the sunset from a different spot each day, visit the locally-owned shops and art galleries and let yourself just be still. And when you’re ready for more wine, take a day trip to Montepulciano.
Italian Riviera: I love to end a trip at the beach. Many head to popular Cinque Terre, but these days it’s too crowded and expensive for overnight stays. Instead stay at nearby towns just north or south to enjoy the quiet beaches and delicious restaurants, and consider day-tripping into Cinque Terre for the famous hill town hikes.
Lake Como: this is the name of just one lake, but know that there are many. The town with the most visitors is probably Como (the town, which sits along the NW side of the lake) and Bellagio, near the center of the lake. But there are many many communities along the lake that are much slower, and quiet, then these two hubs. And with a robust ferry network on the lake, it’s pretty easy to make your way around. Or consider renting your own boat for romantic cruising along the lake
Amalfi Coast: if you want to head south, consider a stay in Sorrento or Positano. Positano is right on the water, but more expensive. But it’s hard to top the water sunsets and delicious food!
You probably noticed that I haven’t included Rome or Venice on this list. Now there most certainly are romantic and honeymoon-worthy experiences to be found here, but these two cities wouldn’t be at the top of my list for a honeymoon itinerary simply because of the big crowds of tourists (and all the stuff that comes with being in a big tourist town) which to me is not the vibe most would want on their honeymoon.
But if you go (and I do suggest going at least once in your life!) pay careful attention to the neighborhoods you stay in, do your restaurant research in advance so you aren’t stuck with a bad meal, and if possible, plan your stay around days that major cruise lines drop guests off for their day-trip in these cities.
Happy honeymoon planning!
Living Big Founder + Chief Adventurer and Travel Designer