Perhaps unsurprisingly, Italy is the most popular European destination for honeymooners. Home to some of the world’s greatest gastronomy, art, fashion and history, you’ll find it hard to decide which part of this dizzingly cultural country to spend your honeymoon.
Should you eat your way around Naples, tour the world’s greatest painters in Florence and Rome, laze away a day on the canals of Venice, or ski and hike in the Northern Dolomites? Wherever you go, you’re guaranteed the best pizza and pasta of your life.
Where to Go in Italy
To condense down Italy’s best bits is an impossible challenge. For romance, the Amalfi coast is calling: the seductive sight of vertiginous Positano, the lemon groves of Sorrento and luxurious hotels of artists’ haven Ravello.
Speak of luxury and the A-list boltholes of Lake Como and Portofino, and the islands of Capri, Ischia and Sicily come to mind. If you want to feel like royalty for a week, honeymoon here.
Should eating be top of your list – and it should – Tuscany’s gourmet farm-to-table ethos, rolling landscape and myriad vineyards are waiting to be explored. You’ll even be able to hunt for truffles to take home.
When to Go to Italy
Spring, summer and autumn are all perfect seasons to visit Italy. If you’re planning to go from the end of June to September, be aware that everyone has the same idea. Many Italians have holiday homes by the sea so you’re likely to be competing with the locals for a spot on the beach or seat in the restaurant.
Don’t let that put you off – it does mean there’s often less people in the big cities and there’s plenty of charming smaller seaside towns outside the tourist hotspots just waiting for you to discover.
What to See in Italy
History buffs should start in Rome, where the streets sing of the legacy of the Roman Empire. Stare in awe at the Colosseum and Pantheon and throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain. Take a whole day for Vatican City – St Peter’s Basilica and the Museums. Drive on to Florence to see the Duomo Cathedral and Uffizi Gallery, before continuing south to Naples for Pompeii.
For food lovers, Emilia-Romagna is the birthplace of some of the country’s most famous dishes: Parma’s ham and Parmesan cheese, Modena’s balsamic vinegar and Bologna’s beloved ragu. Handily it’s right next to Tuscany so you can eat your way across the country.
The benefit of Italy being so close is that instead of one big honeymoon, you can take several minimoon weekends away to see each of these individually and keep the honeymoon spirit alive all year.
Where to Stay in Italy
The Gritti Palace, Venice
Could there be a more enthralling setting than overlooking the Grand Canal in the heart of Venice? The 15th century-built Gritti Palace hotel is the height of luxury with sumptuous interiors, a stunning restaurant and views that’ll make you never want to leave.
A romantic retreat that blends tranquility, cosiness and charm – this is a true Tuscan experience. Each room at Monteverdi is decorated in the traditional rustic style, local, seasonal food is paired with the region’s legendary wine, and the backdrop is the quintessentially lush Tuscan hillscape.
Villa Arcadio, Lake Garda
Perched atop a hill amid olive groves and orchards above Lake Garda, the infinity pool and terrace at Villa Arcadio offer one of the best hotel views in the world. This intimate hideaway is perfect for some sophisticated R’n’R, with the ingredients used in their restaurant sourced as much as possible from the lake and their gardens.
Monastero Santa Rosa, Amalfi
This renovated 17th-century monastery is perched on a cliff-top above the Bay of Salerno. There’s an unobstructed view from Ravello to Positano from the Monastero’s heated infinity pool, but if you don’t plan on leaving your bedroom much, the view from there is pretty spectacular too.
JK Place, Rome
Right by the Spanish Steps, this stylish townhouse hotel is a design-lover’s dream. JK Place’s interior is elegant, opulent; the cocktail bar one of the best in the city; the service smart. You’ll want to buy a whole new wardrobe.
How to Get to Italy
Italy is just a hop away across the continent and perfect for a weekend away or minimoon, as well as a longer honeymoon. The flight time from the UK is under 2.5 hours to Rome.
You can also drive to Italy, crossing the channel and going straight through France, or through Switzerland too. It’s at least 19 hours from London so take a couple of days to do the trip and see some more of Europe while you drive.
No visa required if you hold a British passport.