As far as destinations go, Italy and France are pretty neck-and-neck when it comes to being the most romantic in Europe. And when it comes to holidays, probably the most romantic you’re ever going to have is your honeymoon.
Which leaves a lot of people with a big decision – if you’ve spurned the beaches of Bali and Barbados and chosen Europe for your most loved-up holiday ever, then which is better – Italy or France? Of course, they both have loads of stuff that makes them both utterly unique and appealing, but soppy old romantics that we are we thought we’d take the time here to count the ways that Italy can make your honeymoon molto romantico.
City or Country?
It’s true that romance comes in many forms, so it’s lucky Italy offers a boatload of romantic options to choose from. It can roughly be broken down to two options – heading into the city for art, culture and plenty of hustle and bustle or hiring a car and driving out to the country for rural relaxation and a spot of peace and quiet. Of course, it’s entirely possible to do both with a tour, spending three or four days somewhere and then grabbing a train or driving on to your next destination. If you’re the kind of couple who prefers a more permanent base to snuggle up in at the end of the day, if you pick your accommodation smartly you can stay somewhere that’s still within easy reach of city culture, vineyard tours and charming hilltop villages for evening pizza and gelato.
For a city break, it’s tempting to head to Rome. While the Eternal City certainly has more than its fair share of attractions (and all those fountains certainly make for some super romantic spots!) the scale and commotion of the place can sometimes take the edge off whispering sweet nothings to your beloved. A good alternative is to head north and visit Florence. As the heart of the Renaissance, Florence is smaller but still packs in treasures and cultures thanks to the world-famous Uffizi Gallery, the Bargello and the Palazzo Vecchio to visit. Then there are cobbled piazzas and winding side streets that house some delightfully out-of-the-way restaurants – candlelight and red-checked tablecloths are pretty much a given.
The Italian Countryside – Tuscany and Umbria
Another great thing about Florence is its proximity to the countryside of Tuscany. Drive out in pretty much any direction and you’ll soon be greeted by the quintessential sun-kissed hills and rolling vineyards that have made the region so famous. A little isolation away from the hectic and expensive city is a great way to spend some quality time with your new bride or groom, and with villas like San Bueno coming complete with endless and incomparable views and a swimming pool, sparks are sure to fly. Who mentioned skinny dipping? Definitely wasn’t us.
Umbria’s also a good choice for a bit of rural relaxing – perhaps even more so than Tuscany, as it’s smaller and is less prone to overcrowding. This does mean that escaping into the city for a day might not be as worthwhile as heading into Florence, though Assisi and Spoleto are utterly charming and unique in their own right, and offer plenty to see and a great choice of places to eat. They’re also easy to get to from Villa Buona, a gorgeous little villa right next to the village of Spello that’s just bursting with romance.
And you can’t talk about romance in Italy without mentioning that most famous of cities – Venice. Its canals and waterways are undeniably romantic (though be warned – on the hottest days of summer they can get a little, um, “ripe”) and the ambience of the place seems to encourage strolling around hand-in-hand with your loved one. Venice doesn’t offer much in the way of rustic scenery but it really is a city like no other, and a gondola ride under the Bridge of Sighs is bound to be remembered by the happy couple for years to come. Casa Erbe is a little maisonette just far enough away from the town centre to be peaceful without being inconvenient, though you’ll have to get a water taxi there. Breakfasting and looking out onto the canals before a wander around the ornate bridges and cute squares of Venice is definitely a great way to spend your honeymoon.
Last but not least, there’s the Mediterranean side to Italy to explore, perfectly encapsulated on the island of Sicily. Far more rugged than the northern mainland, Sicily’s miles of coastline means it’s great if your idea of honeymoon heaven is lying back on the beach. A stroll up Mount Etna will definitely turn up the heat, and if a romantic meal is your kinda thing then prepare to be wowed – Sicily’s cuisine is similar but separate from Italian, and its Greek, French and Arabic roots fuse together to create dishes that really sparkle. Couple all that with UNESCO World Heritage Sites and cities such as Palermo and Syracuse to explore and you’re really onto a winner when it comes to a honeymoon destination – and you could do a lot worse than staying at our very own Casa Valera.
Hopefully, this will have given you a bit of romantic inspiration – we actually included Italy in our blog on the top honeymoon destinations! Don’t forget, if you’re planning your wedding our very own wedding consultant can help you find the perfect venue, and our concierge team is on hand to answer any accommodation questions you might have!