Not the best time to head to Europe, but it is a honeymoon. Since DBR has wonderful travel advice I thought I would hit up the experts. We were thinking of going early may for 10-14 days. I live on a residents salary so keep that in mind if you are recommending a nice palace or something
Venice, Rome, and Florence probably lead the list. I would like to spend some time in the Tuscan countryside as well. The Lakes region, the dolomites, cinca terra, and the amalfi coast all sound nice. Not everything will fit into 2 weeks and we don't want to be constantly traveling.
Any thoughts are appreciated.
In Florence, make a reservation for the Uffizi and to see Michaelangelo's David. This can be done online prior to travel. We stayed in a pensione my nephew found a few years ago - PM me if you would like the name.
In Venice, we ended up staying in Lido for the cheaper hotels. The vaporetto (sp?) ride wasn't long. When we came back through for our final night before heading home, we stayed in Venice proper. I was just as happy in Lido. (Actually, happier due to the savings.)
Sienna was a favorite stop in Tuscany.
Congratulations on your upcoming wedding. You will love Italy.
I am also hoping to get to Italy with my wife next year (mid-October), so I will be watching this thread as well.
We just got back from a trip to Italy. We rented an apartment in Florence, and spent most of the time in Florence, but took day trips to Rome, Pisa, and Lucca. It was all good, a great trip. In November, the crowds are thin and you can get into all the museums without reservations. In May expect bigger crowds so reservations are a good idea.
Definitely see the David, and if you get to Rome see the Coliseum.
We used windowsonitaly to find and book our accomodations, and they were great. If you want an apartment in the old section of Florence, I can give you the details on the one we rented. But it's probably bigger than you need for a honeymoon, 4 bedrooms (family plus mother-in-law).
my wife and i went back in september of 05, as sort of a last trip before the birth of our son.
we stayed at two separate places simply because we couldn't get one place for 4 nights. Both places were cheap, clean and centrally loacted.
Antica Dimora Firenze - 2 nights
130,00 per night.
Johanna I - 2 nights
Palazzo del Capitano - 4 nights - cannot recommend this small Tuscan town or this hotel enough. Wonderful.
130 euros per night
again, we were thrilled with the room and location.
Hotel Marincanto - 3 nights
euro 200,00 per night.
perfectly fine room and location, we wflew out the following day, so we weren't concerned with our rome accomodations all that much.
Albergo Cesari - 1 night
220 euros per night
I've been to Italy a few times and my wife and I went there on our honeymoon 10 years ago. We started in Venice, then Florence, Rome and Positano on the Amalfi Coast. In fact, I bought my leather gloves there (see my other post)!
I love Florence and Rome for the charm and history, respectively. But there is no city in the world quite like Venice. Since you won't be traveling in the summer (when it can be a bit stinky), you really should try to get to Venice. It's wonderfully romantic and really beautiful. Some great restaurants too, but that can be said for all over Italy.
Cameron Crazies Do Not Storm The Court
Mrs. OldPhiKap and I took our honeymoon there as well. We stayed in Rome, Florence, and Capri. Florence has, as you would expect, the most incredible Renaissance art you can find. I agree with the poster above about getting reservations to the Uffizi and the Academia (where the David is) before leaving the States. We also enjoyed the Bargello, which has incredible sculptures. We also took a bike trip with a group ("I Bike Italy") which started in Florence and rode up to a hillside town (Fiesole). If you like biking, it was a great trip but make sure you are in shape (my wife called it "I Push a Bike Through Italy" because she was not quite up to the task).
Rome is fantastic. I recommend seeing the Vatican, even if that's not your cup of religious tea. The artwork is absolutely phenominal, and you get a great view of the city from the top of Michelangelo's cupola. The catacombs out the Appian Way are very cool as well.
Capri is in the Bay of Naples and is way expensive. We mainly stayed there so we could take a nice trip to Pompeii which was very cool. Capri is beautiful, but takes some time to get there by boat. Sorrento is a cool town on the northern end of the Amalfi Coast IIRC.
No matter where you go in Italy though, you will find great folks and great food. The most memorable parts of Italy for us -- whether in the big city or out in the countryside -- are sitting at a table, eating a leisurely meal and drinking great local wines. Frankly, I don't think you could go wrong no matter what you decide to do.
Best of luck, and let us know how the trip was!
Rome is one of the 2 cities in the world I can't imagine ever tiring of visiting(London being the other). The is just so much to see there(it doesn't hurt that I'm a Catholic and so can get into the religious stuff). The Sistine Chapel and St Peter's are great, but the Vatican Museum is wondrous too. I can spend hours just looking at their maps of the world, dating from 1500 onward as the New World and Africa take shape. Florence is filled with some wonderful art. There's the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii, up north the area around Lake Como is beautiful. Sicily is filled with ruins from ancient days. I'm actually not a big fan of Venice, I find it the least desirable tourist location in Italy honestly. Its not that its that bad though, its just that I find pretty much everywhere else in Italy fabulous.
I love Italy, and if I had to spend 2 weeks on my honeymoon, it would have to be 2 weeks in Venice.
I spent six weeks studying in Venice in 2001. I personally think Venice is fun for a few days, and you can find plenty to do with the many churches and museums, but there is so much else in Italy that a few days may be all you need to appreciate the novelty of Venice (and we never found any good food in Venice). Rome and Florence are terrific, but my favorites were actually the smaller towns in Emilia-Romagna and the Veneto, like Bologna, Padua, and especially Parma. We were touring without plans, so we didn't get to tour any of the cheese (Parma) or vinegar (Modena) factories, but those could be great activities.
If it's your first time in Italy, I understand wanting to hit the big tourist sites, but experiencing the charm, culture, and food of the smaller towns is certainly worthwhile.
My wife and I honeymooned on the Amalfi coast when we got married almost 17 years ago. I highly recommend it.
We flew into Rome and took a couple days there but then headed down to Positano for about a week and did day trips from there.
We stayed at the San Pietro de Positano, which had just been featured in architectural digest and is one of the finest hotels I have ever stayed in. The hotel is carved into the rock in the cliffs overlooking the bay of Positano. As a result, every single room is unique in shape and you can look at several rooms before deciding which one you want. Each room has its own private balcony and you feel like you are completely alone. Additionally, you must dine in the hotel restaurant where EVERYTHING IS FRESH. The fish is whatever they caught that day, the salads are made from vegetables in the hotel garden, and the pizza (ohmygod, most delicious pizza ever!!) is to die.
OK, I did not mean to write so much about the hotel because it is crazy expensive (like $700+/night) but if you get to the Amalfi coast (and you simply must!!) then at least check out the restaurant there.
Also along the Amalfi coast, I recommend the following:
- Go to Vietri to the Solimene pottery factory. Solimene is among the most famous pottery in the world and sells for outrageous sums here in the US but is dirt cheap at their factory. Plus, it is just a really cool place to visit:
- I loved our visit to Ravello, which is the city ABOVE the Amalfi Coast. If it is a sorta cloudy day then you will be able to look down on the clouds from Ravello, which is really cool:
- It was an easy day trip from Positano to Pompei. I don't need to tell you how fascinating it is to visit the city that was burried by Vesuvius:
- And finally there is the isle of Capri, also an easy day trip from most towns on the Amalfi coast. I am not sure if they still let folks go into the Blue Grotto, but when we visited you could do that and I have never seen water that blue . Really cool!
I could go on and on, but this is more than enough. Suffice it to say that I think you are making an excellent choice for honeymoon location.
--Jason "someday, I will go back to Positano to eat at the San Pietro restaurant again" Evans
I'm writing from an internet cafe right around the corner from the Duomo in Florence right now, so what an appropriate thread! Here is all the advice I can muster about where to go. I've been studying here since mid-August, which I suppose is a little better than staying at a Holiday Inn Express last night!
First off Venice: I see no reason to spend more that 3 days and 2 nights in Venice. Yes, the city is beautiful and unlike anything you will see anywhere else in Italy, but that's exactly the problem. The food is generally not as good (though you can try some wacky seafoods), the people are not as nice, and the city will be packed with tourists - even in November you can notice it.
I would highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend Cinque Terre. In terms of scenery, it tops anything I have seen in Europe to date. The disclaimer that goes with that statement though is that I never made it to Capri and the Amalfi Coast, though I was in Naples to go to Pompeii. I have heard great things about Capri, Sorrento, Amalfi, Positano and all of those towns and I don't think you can go wrong. Doing the hike between the five towns (and we did every step, no trains for us thank you very much) is a really amazing experience. A couple times I stopped and thought to myself that the view I was seeing could actually be Heaven. Really stunning and totally worth it. I'm not much of an outdoorsman at all, and the hike was very hard, but incredibly worth it and a lot of fun if you start early in the day and take frequent trips to the beach!
Rome is a city that you need time in. There is just so much to do, it is really overwhelming. I would recommend at least 3 nights and 4 days, 4 nights and 5 days would really be better. Go to the Vatican even if you aren't Catholic and make sure to take a guided tour of the Colosseum - pay 3.50e instead of the 15e or whatever the freelancers try to rip you off for. Do the Pantheon, eat the most expensive lunch you will every eat in Piazza Navona because it is worth every penny, and walk across the Tiber to Trastevere every night for dinner. Browse menu, have a drink, and enjoy my favorite big city in Italy.
As for Florence, well I could go on and on, but here is the simple truth. Florence is amazing for art - by far the best in Italy. Sculpture, paintings, frescos, you name it and we've got it. But for me, this city leaves something to be desired. It's too big and dirty to make you feel warm inside and not big enough to let you get lost in the speed of the city. I would say 3 days and 2 nights here would be fine. I can PM you the best restaurants in the city if you'd like.
I completely, 100% echo what DevilBen02 said about smaller cities in Emilia and the Veneto. I absolutely loved Ferrara, Padova, and Parma. We also stopped in Bologna on that trip which has a great student nightlife and tagliatelle alla Bolognese but left something to be desired. Padova is especially great because you can see the tomb of Saint Anthony in the Basilica di Sant'Antonio and then go see Giotto's magnificent frescos in the Scrovegni Chapel.
As far as Tuscany goes, it is a great place to visit, but if you intend on spending as much time there as it sounds like you absolutely have to rent a car. It's great to drive around to different wineries especially because the roads are well marked (for the tourists) and very wide and easy to drive on. Me and my friends spent 2 days in Siena, the first sightseeing and for the second we rented scooters and drove around Greve in Chianti and the Tuscan countryside for the whole day. Now that was a fantastic day.
Pisa is absolutely a tourist trap but if you are in Florence, it might be worth extending your stay one extra day to take a day trip. Really, Pisa is more of a couple hour trip than a whole day. There are four magnificent, beautiful buildings and that's pretty much it (other than the vendors selling fake bags, sunglasses, watches, and belts).
If you can find a deal that lets you fly into one airport and out of another, that is really the best you can do. Then you could fly into Rome/Venice and then out of the other and not have to backtrack across the entire country. The Eurostar train from Venice to Rome is 4.5 hours and I think somewhere around 60e a seat (one way), so it's just sort of a pain.
Here is the train system's website in English: http://www.trenitalia.com/en/index.html
Regional trains are the cheapest, InterCity trains are in the middle, and Eurostar trains are the fastest, newest, and most expensive. For routes between major cities (Venice, Bologna, Florence, Rome, Napoli) you will probably have to take a Eurostar because there are very few regional trains, but for going from big cities (Venice to Padova is only like 30 minutes) you will use regional trains or sometimes InterCity. ALWAYS VALIDATE YOUR TICKET!!
Alright, well this post has gotten insanely long. I'll think about it more and if I come up with anything else then I'll post it.
Last edited by pacificrounder; 12-07-2007 at 10:45 AM. Reason: Wrote "Parthenon" instead of "Pantheon" - you're not going to Greece!
My wife and I stayed at Le Sirenuse in Positano. Also very expensive. Also unforgettable, but well worth the money!
Cameron Crazies Do Not Storm The Court
I had to add one more comment to get to 100. So there it is.
Cameron Crazies Do Not Storm The Court
I can always count on a search through DBR to find what I am looking for. I am getting married labor day weekend, and the current plan (for now) is to do pretty much the same thing Jason said up thread (just 21 years later ).
I've been to the big cities (Rome, Florence, Venice) and Cinque Terra before. Rome was by far my favorite, so the plan is to start there for a few days. My fiancee wants some "life experiences" as part of the honeymoon, and I thought Rome might be that for her. I know I've been dying to go back.
The rest of the trip (5-6 days), relaxation is key. Isle of Capri and Sardinia are a little out of our budget, so we are thinking Amalfi Coast since the beaches are supposed to be great and neither of us has been there. Can you sit on the beaches of the Amalfi coast, go to the spas and have dinner, and not get bored? Or is it pretty necessary to make day trips each day to make the trip fulfilling.
Generally what she wants is 2-3 days at a bucket list city, then 5-6 days relaxing with little to no travel. If I could combine Rome with 2 days at a higher end all-inclusive Caribbean resort, I would. Unfortunately, Greece and Hawaii are out for various reasons. So as alternatives to the Amalfi coast, if we are looking for more of a sun & snorkel "inclusive" type locale for the second 2/3rds of the trip, are there any recommendations within a 2 hour flight from Rome? Can Amalfi fit that description?
Italy will be wonderful. So much to see, you cannot go wrong. You might want to reconsider the wedding....
Let us know what you find, because I'm always itching to go back.
Eat Mor Jonny.