Friday 5: Italian Honeymoon Destinations* (Round 1)

When we first started looking at honeymoon destinations, Italy was at the top of my list. It’s been awhile since I’ve been there and S has never been. When I landed in Rome for the first time while on a trip with some friends during my senior year in high school, it was the first time that I felt immediately comfortable in a place. I have a special place in my heart for Italy and I wanted to show him how incredible it is. 

Italy, in my opinion, has it all when it comes to honeymoons. Romance. Great food. Great wine. Lots to see and do. Beautiful beaches. History everywhere. Cosmopolitan luxury, if you want it. Rustic countryside, if you want it. I’m not sure about you, but I couldn’t ask for much more. 

Today’s Friday 5 is a look at some of our top contenders for Italian trips. 

1. Le Marche

If you’re looking for a quiet destination that gives you some of the rolling landscapes of Tuscany but also seaside options along the Adriatic, check out Le Marche. Urbino, a Renaissance hilltown, is a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage site. Monti Sibilli, which serves as a border between Le Marche and Umbria, offers the Parco Nazionale dei Monti Sibillini for hiking, walking trails, wildlife and pretty views. We looked into doing a few days in Florence and then heading to Le Marche to get away from the crowds.

Where we did consider staying: La Corte del Gusto near Arcevia (about 1:20 drive from Urbino), a collection of beautifully renovated farmhouse apartments with panoramic views of the Marche countryside.

2. Puglia

Located in the heel of Italy, Puglia (or Apulia) is a coastal region is known for dramatic seaside cliffs overlooking the turquoise waters of the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. Hot sun and white buildings set against blue sky and sea. Cliffs and caves. Unique architecture (check out the round truly), ancient ruins, and deeply rooted history. Old olive groves and rich rolling farmland make it famous for its food. (video link for email subscribers)

Where I would consider staying: Trullo Isabella near Martina Franca (That bbq! That private pool! That patio!) and I would make it my business to eat at Grotta Palazzese , a cave restaurant overlooking the sea that I've been dreaming about for years. 

3. Venice

There are few places with the allure of Venice. It’s somewhere we often hear so much about that we feel we know it before we ever visit. Uniquely romantic and sometimes mysterious with its rich architecture and meandering canals and passages. Venice is best when you get away from the crowds and allow yourself to get lost. Although it’s extremly touristy in areas, exploring the city beyond St. Marks and the Rialto would be a beautiful honeymoon (or part of a honeymoon). My one tip is to take the water taxi to and from the airport for an exhilerating ride into and out of the city.

Where I would consider staying: For an all-out Venetian luxury experience, I would probably go for the Ca'Sagredo, a 15th-century palace turned hotel on the Grand Canal for a few days. 

By Internt Consulting (originally posted to Flickr as - St. Kassian) [ CC BY 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

By Internt Consulting (originally posted to Flickr as - St. Kassian) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

4. Dolomites

A stunning mountain region for a couple who loves alpine villages, rich and hearty food (Speck! Italian apple strudel! Polenta!) and craggy mountain landscapes mixed with lush valleys. Perfect for a week of hiking and exploring in the summer or skiing in the winter. 

Where I would consider staying: Hotel Rosa Alpina, located in San Cassiano in Badia. It has a Michelin-starred restaurant, Restaurant St. Hubertus, and a beautiful spa to treat any achy muscles after a day of hiking. Or the Villa Berghofer in Radein, between Bolzano and Trento. It has incredible mountain views from each of the rooms' balconies (really, go look!) and a cozy Tyrollean style.

5. Lake Como

Take your pick: Bellagio, Varenna, Menaggio, or go further afield to one of the other small towns. Stunning lakeside views of the green mountains plunging toward the water. Easy access to the surrounding towns for daytrips to sightsee, shop, and eat at myriad restaurants. Besides, if Bellagio and Lake Como is good enough for George Clooney, it’s probably good enough for most of us. 

Where I would consider staying: This pretty attic apartment in Menaggio with a beautiful terrace that looks over the lake.  

That's it for this week! While it started as a list of honeymoon spots, I fully believe that they are also "anytime" spots. I plan to keep updating these lists as I discover new places to go or stay in. I'm also going to branch out to different regions and countries over time.

Do you have any favourite places in Italy or have been to any of the ones I listed so far? Anything you think I missed? Let me know!   

Happy weekend! 

* not just for honeymoons, though!