After the exciting build-up to our wedding and the celebration-packed event itself, we craved a honeymoon of ease, sun, culture and romance. Italy ticked all the boxes. As we jetted off shortly after our wedding, we needed a few days to completely chill out and let everything sink in, before taking in the sights.
So our tour started in rural Tuscany, before heading to Florence and then down to the Amalfi coast. This is one of the few itineraries we didn’t organise ourselves but enlisted the help of Italian Journeys, who booked transport and hotels for us. Everything was tailored to our needs and the whole experience wonderfully hassle-free. Admittedly, we splashed out a little on this one!
San Gimignano, Tuscany
As we landed in Rome, we picked up a hired car at the airport and started the drive to San Gimignano. The journey along the not un-scenic E35 takes a good three hours.
Also known as the Town of Fine Towers, San Gimignano is about as picturesque as it gets. Situated in the Tuscan hills north-west of Siena, the old town of San Gimignano is surrounded by 13th century walls and remains car free. The views from its towers are to die for and there are plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from. Florence, Pisa and Siena are all c. 1-1.5h drive away.
Agritourismo, wine and a pool with a view
We stayed at Santo Pietro in Pancole, an ‘agritourismo’ (a holiday farm house) a short drive away from Sam Gimignano. Our spacious but cosy room was in a building a few minutes’ walk from the main building, through the vineyard, right by the infinity pool with incredible views over the Tuscan hills. Apart from a handful of other guests, the place was quiet and just wonderfully relaxed. We loved spending our days just soaking up the scenery while relaxing by the pool. A perfect starting point for our stay in Italy.
While we enjoyed some lovely meals in the restaurants of San Gimignano and nearby, we spent our most romantic evenings sitting by the poolside, gazing at the stars with an Italian picnic of cold meat, cheese, breads and wine.
After a few days in the Tuscan countryside, we headed to Florence. About an hour’s drive from Siena, the capital of Tuscany is bursting with sights. Whether you’re into art, architecture, history, science or culture, Florence is a highlight for everyone, and while it’s not a cheap place to stay, there’s plenty of free stuff to do as well!
We enjoyed the Duomo, the Palazzo Pitti and the Galileo Museum, but the Basilica de Santa Groce, which houses the tombs of many influential personalities, among them Galileo Galilei and Michelangelo, was one of our unexpected highlights. Unfortunately we didn’t manage a visit of the Uffizi Gallery, an absolute must for next time.
We stayed at Hotel Malaspina, a nice but simple hotel very close to the centre of Florence. From there we were able to walk pretty much everywhere.
After a couple of full-on days taking in the sights of Florence, we caught the train to Naples and from there had arranged private transport to Sorrento.
Admittedly, Sorrento is a bit touristy, but it doesn’t do its charms any harm, it’s such a lovely little town. Overlooking the bay of Naples, the sunset views of Vesuvio are just wonderful.
There are lots of lively bars and restaurants dotted around the town centre, and the atmosphere in the evening is exactly how you envisage Italian life to be. There isn’t a beach as such, but it’s possible to jump in the water either from the small promenade (which in low tide opens up a spec of sand) or from the jetty, where you can also rent sunbeds.
We spent several days in Sorrento, staying at the beautiful Grand Hotel La Favorita. Easily the poshest hotel we’ve ever stayed in, we relished the rare treat of such luxury, it was just amazing. The rooms are large, bright and beautiful, the breakfast plentiful, and the rooftop pool and bar the perfect place to relax. On top of that, perfectly situated on the edge of the pedestrianised town centre.
Vesuvio, Pompeii and Amalfi Coast
There is an easy public transport connection to the volcano Vesuvio, which you can climb to the crater at the top, and the ruins of Pompeii, an absolute must-see when in the area.
The Amalfi Coast is also only a short bus ride away. We spent a day in Positano, a very picturesque little town, nestled on the steep hillside, with a wonderful beach.
We had a wonderful time in Italy, it really is the perfect honeymoon destination.
And after two weeks indulging in pizza, pasta, wine and Limoncello we felt ready to face the world as a married couple!
Thinking of adding a stop in Rome to your itinerary? Read my suggestions for what to do during a shot-break in Rome.