I am so pleased to see that Italy is becoming more and more popular as a holiday destination, having lived there for nearly 20 years I travelled extensively and fell in love with the whole country. I am asked quite frequently ideas of where to go and what to do in Italy which is really nice for me as it allows me to indulge in my guilty pleasure – Italy.

If there’s something I really love looking forward to in a new year it’s a wedding invitation and this year 2015, we have one! So I wanted to create a post on the top ten honeymoon destinations in Italy, I consulted my ex colleague and Press Officer for the Italian Tourist Board in the UK who you can find on Twitter should you need any advice or ideas.

Top Ten Honeymoon Destinations in Italy

Venice

venice lagoon, venezia

Image credit: archivio fotografico regione Veneto prom. turistica

 

Venice is known as the most romantic city in the world and for good reason too as anyone who’s ever been there will tell you it is enchanting. It is a one of a kind place that you really must visit once in your lifetime.

What to do there:

  • Visit Harry’s Bar, one of Hemingway’s favourite spots and order a Bellini.
  • Take a gondola trip through the canals of Venice
  • Roam the pretty streets, get lost but take a map!
  • Watch the sun set on the beach, walk along the Zattere on the southern coast of Venice.
  • Take the river taxi and visit the beautiful islands in Venice lagoon, Giudecca, Murano, Burano and Torcello, see the amazing views of Venice from them.
  • Have an aperitivo in one of Venice’s bars, ask for a drop of Aperol or Campari to be added to your prosecco or white wine.
  • Try a wine tasting or cicchetti tour
  • Lots of the hotels have rooftop bars, like the Hilton, one I stayed in even had a rooftop swimming pool, perfect location for sunset drinks.
  • Visit a handmade glass factory

Trish from Mum’s Gone to went to Venice read about it here.

Sorrento/ Amalfi Coast / Capri

procida italy campania

Image credit COM.TUR

 

The Amalfi Coast is connected by one of the most scenic roads in Italy. A very dramatic and breathtaking coastline home of the glamorous seaside resorts Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi and Ravello. This part of the world has been described as the closest place on earth to heaven and the olive trees, lemon groves and white buildings set against the deep blue of the sea seem to suggest so.

The town of Amalfi is head resort, Sorrento offers spectacular ocean views and Ravello is famous for it’s gardens. If it’s glamour you are after then head into Positano and see the many world class restaurants and chic boutiques lining the streets. In the image – Procida a small island off the coast of Naples.

The island of Capri is another celebrity holiday destination which has an air of mystery around it. Take long walks around the island, visit the Piazzetta for a coffee. Go to Anacapri and visit Monte Solaro for some of the best views in the world and don’t forget to see the villa of Tiberius the Emperor.

Read about Gretta’s Vespa Tour of Naples or Sorrento and Ravello

Rome

Rome

Image credit: Fototeca ENIT

 

Maybe not everyone’s first choice of honeymoon as Rome is a busy city but the Eternal City is one of the most important destinations in the world, home to works of art, stunning architecture, engineering and ancient history.

Rome is also close enough to Sorrento and the Amalfi coast so you can consider visiting both areas for your honeymoon.

Visit the beautiful rose garden, the Ponte Sisto Bridge that leads to Trastevere and the small island of Tiber. Visit the many museums of the city and its beautiful churches and basilicas and find small trattorias and traditional pizzerias in the medieval lanes of the city where you can find amazing local food along with the best wines.

Read more at Mum’s Gone To Rome

Verona

Verona Juliette's balcony

Image credit: PROVINCIA DI VERONA PHOTO ARCHIVE

 

Home of Romeo and Juliette, the City of Love immortalised by Shakespeare.

Verona also has a breath taking Arena which can be visited, they also show operas in the summer, Aida and La Boheme are two that will stay with me forever. What strikes me every time I walk the streets of Verona is the glass walkways in the roads and pavements displaying the ancient ruins below. It’s a known fact that no pipe work can ever be done in Verona as every time they dig down they come across more ruins and have to stop!

Florence

florence italy tuscany

Florence is the capital region of Tuscany on the banks of the river Arno It is famous the world over as one of the art cities of Italy packed with history, art and culture. Visit the museums and monuments, Walk along Ponte Vecchio, see Brunelleschi’s Dome at the cathedral and the statue of Michelangelo and check out the jewellery boutiques, you will not be disappointed.

Read Trish’s account from Mum’s Gone To

Tuscany

tuscany square

Image credit: fototeca ENIT

 

Florence is the capital of Tuscany and has been called the “jewel in the crown of the Renaissance”. Other important Tuscan towns include Pisa, Siena, Lucca, San Gimignano, Monatlcino, Montepulciano, Chianti oh and yes of course WINE. Tuscany is the heart of excellent Italian wines.

Tuscany is one rolling hill topped with cypress trees and magical medieval towns  the world renowned wines and cheese will tempt you to return ‘under the Tuscan sun’ time and time again.

Visit Saturnia for a thermal spa like you’ve never had before, take a walk through the streets of San Gimignano, cross by ferry to the Island of Elba and walk along the streets of these beautiful towns

Lake Garda – Trentino

lake garda

Lake Garda is surrounded by three regions but as I lived in Trentino at the top we’ll focus on that part. Home to Riva and Torbole, two stunning locations also known internationally for the windsurfing competitions held there. Lake Garda offers a honeymooning couple everything, mountains to climb with spectacular views over the lake and beyond, cycle trips around the lake, boats and ferries across the lake and once again, history, art and culture in abundance.

Find out more by reading our holiday on Lake Garda or Trish’s from Mum’s Gone To

Sardinia or Sardegna

sardegna costa verde

Sardinia or Sardegna as it’s known in Italy is a beautiful island situated to the right of the boot in the Tyrrhenian Sea.

It is home of many quaint medieval fishing villages and also Costa Smeralda the stunning celebrity attraction.

The cities of Cagliari, Alghero and Sassari offer the modern facilities and many museums while the smaller locations like Budoni, San Teodoro, Gabbiani Island and Stintino offer the best of the beaches and many water sport activities.

Find out more from our past holiday to Sardegna

Sicily

tonnara di scopello

Image credit: ASSESSORATO TURISMO REGIONE SICILIANA

 

I visited Sicily back in 1987 and fell in love with it, I have been waiting ever since for the opportunity to return and one day I will. Sicily is home to Etna the volcano that can be visited, Taormina the beautiful coastal resort and Agrigento home of the Greek ruins. There is so much more

Read about Gretta’s Palermo Street Food tour

Puglia

puglia trulli Alberobello

My holiday to Puglia was one of my favourites of all the time I spent in Italy. I fell in love with the Trulli in Alberobello seen in the image above. I swam off the Tremiti Islands and scoured the Gargano for fabulous restaurants. I travelled all the way around the ‘heel’ and enjoyed every part of it. Highlight of the trip was a delicious meal in Otranto in a restaurant called Osteria del Tempo Perso or The restaurant of lost time. Exquisite.

Read more about my Puglia experience or that of A Bavarian Sojourn

What to expect from an Italian honeymoon

Italy is one of the most romantic places in the world and the Italians are passionate, soulful people.

Everywhere you look there is something to take your breath away, beautiful landscapes, picturesque towns and villages, an incredibly rich history and an overwhelming art collection.

If you are passionate about food, you are in the right place, Eating and drinking is an enormous part of Italian life, shops and banks still shut for a 2 hour lunch break.

Souvenirs to remember your holiday are plenty, my guess is you’ll come home with more than one item when faced with the displays of ceramics, art, leather and Made in Italy items. Take time to look at the fashion in the many boutiques, there’s always something a bit special in their clothes that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.

Don’t forget your camera!

 

mulled wine recipe

It’s Mulled Wine time of year and I cannot fail to remember the times we used to prepare cauldrons of it to hang on a tripod in the hotel courtyard and wait for our cold guests to return after a day skiing on the pistes. A recipe for mulled wine that goes back a century and is still as satisfying today.

Mulled wine dolomites

The sight alone of the tripod with it’s log fire under the cauldron is enough to make you smile and as the guests arrived they’d gather around and accept a small cup of mulled wine allowing it to warm them up from head to toes.

mulled wine

Chatter would commence, stories of the day’s skiing, funny things that happened, achievements that were made, who had mastered the snowplough and who had attempted a black run for the first time.

Laughter could be heard as people relayed how their partner had ended up skiing backwards or completely misunderstood the ski instructor with embarrassing consequences

These were the moments of the holiday that sealed our guest’s love for our hotel, Club Hotel Alpino and our resort Folgaria, after a few glasses of mulled wine they’d head up to their rooms to get changed and later the conversation would flow easily as a bond had been made.

So when I see bottles of Mulled Wine for sale in the supermarkets, these are the memories I am filled with, good times.

mulled wine tripod

Lindeman’s Shiraz

However, we used to make our own and it is so simple. Lindeman’s have a delicious Shiraz that suits this recipe perfectly and seeing as the grapes are grown in the hot Australian sun you are adding good health and sunshine to your mulled wine too. Throw a couple of steaks on the barbie!

It’s good for you!

In case you needed an excuse to treat yourself to a delicious glass of mulled wine then please take note of the medicinal qualities of some of the ingredients…

Lindeman’s Shiraz – adds sunshine to your drink

Cinnamon stick – Antiflu properties

Cloves – antibacterial

lemon – antiseptical and good for the respiratory system

Orange – vitamin C

Apple – 1 a day keeps the doctor away

As if you needed that excuse! Cin Cin! as they say in the Dolomites.

 

Recipe for Mulled Wine from the Dolomites
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A recipe for Mulled Wine direct from the Dolomites to warm you from head to toe.
Author:
Recipe type: Drinks
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 1 bottle of red wine, Lindeman's Shiraz
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 100g sugar
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 1 apple, sliced
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Place all of the ingredients in a pan and heat slowly until it is warm but not too hot.
  2. Serve in small cups or mugs.
All photos of vin brulé in Folgaria at Club Hotel Alpino with the kind permission of my daughter in law Oana Dascalul

Find more information on Club Hotel Alpino, the perfect family friendly hotel in the Dolomites.

Find more information on Folgaria


Florence at Sunset” by Jon Rawlinson licensed under CC BY 2.0

Florence is recognised as one of the most beautfiul cities in the world, for a reason. Teeming with art around every corner, the city is an art lover’s playground. It’s easy to understand, as the city’s streets seem to have a certain artistic charm.

Here’s why there’s no better place than Florence for art lovers.

The view of the city

Most large, European cities have a pretty skyline, but Florence puts them all to shame. The most outstanding views of the city can be seen from above, from the outskirts of the city center. Take the short climb up the steps leading to the Piazza Michelangelo and you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of Florence.

You can gaze upon the Ponte Vecchio, the glowing Duomo of the Florence Cathedral, or the Arno River from this piazza. After enjoying the view, go and visit the replicas of some of Michelangelo’s most famous sculptures, including the statue of David, which are situated throughout the plaza. If you’re looking for a vacation steeped in history, it’s worth considering a city break to Florence.

The museums

Florence was the birthplace of the Renaissance, so of course it’s going to be home to some of the most impressive displays of art in the world. Obviously there is Michelangelo, but there are also many other, both Rennaisance, and modern artists to discover!

To experience more famous (and infamous) works of art, head to the Uffizi Gallery. One of the most famous museums in the world, it features works by Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Gotto, and many others.

The Florence Duomo 

Florence Duomo by xiquinhosilva licensed under CC BY 2.0

Also known as the Cathedral di Santa Maria del Fiore, or Saint Mary of the Flower, the Duomo is one of the most striking pieces of modern architecture. The largest in the world, it shines with ornate carvings and striking colours that decorate it’s exterior.

For those lucky enough to visit Florence, a trip that will last a lifetime awaits. Ask anyone who has been and they’ll tell you, Florence is for art lovers.

villa pia exterior

I visited Tuscany for the first time when I was young and madly in love, I was more interested in looking into my lover’s eyes for reassurance of his undying love for me than taking in properly the magnificent site of the Leaning Tower of Pisa and as we crossed the bridge over the river Arno in central Florence where there are shops and shops of the most exquisite jewellery you will ever lay eyes on, I preferred to giggle at the site of Pierangelo’s naked statue of David rather than take in the breathtaking art surrounding me. Don’t worry I’m raising my own eyebrows at myself now.

But then I grew up.

Fortunately for me I was able to return to Tuscany many a time, we spent memorable family holidays at Castiglione della Pescaia, we visited Siena for a spectacular wedding. We walked the streets of Grosseto, me secretly hoping to bump into David Bowie – no we didn’t. And the towers of San Gimignano are still one of the prettiest memories I have of Tuscany.

villa pia eating al fresco

Everyone, and I mean everyone, on the planet should visit Tuscany at least once in their lifetime. As you drive through the open spaces you are greeted with fields and fields of sunflowers all tracing the path of the sun with their huge heads. 

You will get to taste some of the Best Food in Italy – fact. You will be beside yourself with joy as you read the wine list full of delicious reds and whites to have with your meal. Eating in a restaurant will be one of the highlights of your holiday, a bombardment to the senses.

italian digestivi

One of my favourite memories is staying in a family run villa, pretty much like Villa Pia. An old farmhouse in the middle of the beautiful countryside where a lot of care and attention has been taken to make sure all of your comforts have been met but without compromising the life and traditions of Tuscany.

villa pia swimming pool

Villa Pia has the most spectacular swimming pool (there’s a second pool for the kids and both are heated!) and a huge courtyard where children can run freely, don’t forget Italy is one of the most child friendly countries on Earth, you will be amazed at how patient the Italians are with children.

Rooms are personalised but in keeping with the period and style of the house, I think if you take a look you’ll want to go and if you ask me I would certainly say yes go, you will love it.

Tuscan Rooftops

 

 

I want to show you this post of a past holiday from a couple of years ago to Sardegna where my mum has a villa. She has recently opened it up for rental (see the link below) and it’s such a beautiful, unspoilt part of the world I thought you might like to see it.

map sardegna

Is it peace and quiet you’re looking for? Is it long deserted beaches? A little local culture, delicious food and wine and some fascinating historical facts to throw in too?

Well the Costa Verde ticks all of those boxes and more and I can talk about it as I’ve just returned from a 3 week stay in my mum’s villa in Torre dei Corsari and I’m suffering the holiday blues Big Time not helped by the dreadful British weather we’ve had here since returning!

The Costa Verde, or green coast as it translates, is to the south west of the island and can be reached quite easily from both international airports; Alghero in the north and Cagliari in the South. This coast is reached by a long mountainous road that weaves in and out of the suggestive countryside and past some of the most breathtaking, deserted beaches in the world.
sardegna costa verde
Torre dei Corsari is a small village perched just after the Golfo di Oristano, it has golden sands that stretch back from the sea up to massive dunes that make you want to slide down them on a board. The beach has a couple of bars and stretches far into the distance, we never made the walk to the end and back but I’d like to do it one day.
There is a collection of shops and bars in the centre where you can get everything you need and there are a couple of restaurants and pizzerias too offering fabulous freshly cooked food.
This is the view from our terrace *sigh*, with a brick BBQ to the left you can cook and eat your food looking over the sea as the sun sets – bliss.
torre dei corsari sardegna
We managed to visit all of the beaches along the Costa Verde and one, Funtanazza, really had me searching for my lottery ticket to see if I had won some millions.
funtanazza sardegna
Funtanazza was a private beach for the hotel shown in the photo above, used for children who wouldn’t normally have the chance to go on holiday but it closed down many years ago and was left to ruin. It is reached by a long winding road with more pot holes in it than a tea strainer BUT boy is it worth it when you arrive at the coast. Stunning views and an empty beach used mainly by the locals and lucky explorers. The hotel has been closed off from prying eyes and is enclosed by barbed wire but it has lots of land around and could be turned into the most divine hotel *sigh* … I spent a fabulous time soaking in the Sardinian sun dreaming myself as the new Aga Khan, creating a top beauty spot visited by celebrities from all over the world.
sardegna costa verde
Our meandering took us from Is Arutas beach, famous for it’s rice like sand, all the way down to Cala Domestica
twins on beach
where I took this photo. You will fall in love with the crystal clear waters, the white sandy beaches and the beauty of a land still untouched by major tourism and enjoyed by a lucky few.
piscinas sardegna

A holiday dedicated to good healthy food, relax and above all appreciating the stunning beauty that Mother Nature displays in all her glory in Sardegna. If you ever get the chance to go, do and I promise you won’t be let down.