Mr S and I have made a habit of going to Italy every year for our wedding anniversary. It’s not only our favourite country but for me it’s the most romantic place on earth for the beautiful scenery, fabulous fashionable people, luxury hotels and above all … the food!! There are so many places in Italy that I’d still love to visit but for now here the places I’d recommend for romance.
1. The Amalfi Coast
Did you hear I went to the Amalfi Coast? Well I haven’t stopped going on about it since I got back and I’m still posting pictures of the most Insta-worthy place I’ve ever visited. Ok, forget about Instagram (if that’s possible in this day and age) but the Amalfi Coast is truly the most beautiful place that I’ve ever visited.
Those vertigious views, multi-colours houses stacked higgledy-piggledy, rugged coast lines and the bluest of water. Every single place you visit is like a movie set characterised by old-fashioned glamour and stylish sophistication.
Restaurants lit up with sparkling lights, with gorgeous views where you can eat Michelin starred food whilst being serenaded by an opera singer or accordion player. Mr S and I only stayed in Positano but many people recommended Ravello to me, I’ll certainly be back to see more of this beautiful part of the world.
Where to Stay: For accommodation, I couldn’t recommend enough Il San Pietro di Positano which was as close to perfection as can be.
Carved into the cliffside with a Michelin-starred restaurant, a guests-only beach restaurant, a private beach and the most sensational views!
It’s the best choice if you want to be a little out of the touristy town of Positano and perfect for privacy and romance.
If you’re looking for a more lively hotel that’s closer to town, Le Sirenuse is renowned as the best there is and one of the best in the world!
That gorgeous red facade, a Michelin star restaurant with a view and a more buzzy bar and restaurant, it’s really quite exquisite. Positano beach is just steps away – a convenient location for those that want to be in the centre of things.
For foodie recommendations check out my top five restaurants, all of which are perfect for romance.
If you’re visiting the Amalfi Coast, I’d highly recommend at least a day trip to Capri. I wish we’d had the time to stay there too as it’s a totally paradise island.
There are flowers everywhere and the most gorgeous designer shops mixed with beautiful local boutiques.
For party animals there are beach clubs and night clubs, and a very cosmopolitan night life.
Where to Stay: For your hotel, I suggest the Capri Palace. Though we didn’t actually stay there, we had lunch at the beautiful Michelin-starred restaurant at the cliff top hotel and the food and views are exquisite. There’s also a two-Michelin starred restaurant on site, a gorgeous pool and a spa – it’s no wonder that the Capri Palace is considered one of the most luxurious places on the island.
If the Amalfi Coast is the most beautiful place that I’ve been in Italy, then Venice is the most romantic! Maybe it’s something in the water but there is just an energy from the city that is like nothing else I’ve ever experienced.
Beautiful boat rides, strolling hand and hand across the numerous bridges, a trip to colourful Burano and sipping bellinis right by the canal. I honestly defy anyone not to fall in love with this city! Annoyingly I’ve now been to Venice twice on press trips, but I’m still yet to go with Mr S, I’m hoping to change that one day as he absolutely loves boats and I’m certain he’ll fall in love with this city without roads as much as I have. Earlier in the year I had the opportunity to visit the Prosecco Vineyards which are just a short drive from Venice airport. I’d also highly recommend a romantic day sipping bubbles in the countryside together.
Where to Stay: I simply fell in love with the Gritti Palace, an absolutely gorgeous historical hotel located right on the Grand Canal. It’s incredibly convenient too as you can exit out of the back way straight on to the winding streets and shops of the city.
Those looking for a little more privacy may want to consider Belmond Hotel Cipriani which is on its own private island accessible by boat. I only went for a drink myself but I loved the look of the beautiful pink hotel and Michelin-starred restaurant, Oro.
Another hotel I have my eye for when I visit with Mr S is Aman Venice, a beautiful exclusive hotel and the place where George Clooney got married!
4. Lake Como
Another Clooney approved location, the A-lister actually has a home in the beautiful Northern Italy location, Lake Como. The lake itself is fringed with mountains and small towns built into the hillsides, it is seriously breathtaking. Hiring a boat complete with a bottle of prosecco is an absolute must with a stop off at towns such as Bellagio and the lesser known gem, Varenna.
Where to Stay: I can highly recommend the gorgeous, Grand Hotel Tremezzo. We had an absolutely stunning suite with a terrace and private hot tub over looking that breathtaking view. The hotel also encompasses three pools (including the famous floating swimming) top-notch restaurants, a world-class spa and absolutely gorgeous gardens.
Another option is Villa D’Este, a hotel that really typifies old school glamour and is located right on the lake itself. We went there for lunch years ago before Mr S and I were even engaged and we returned to the same lunch spot last year to celebrate our three-year wedding anniversary. The beautiful lakeside restaurant also boasts a Michelin star and serves the finest Italian food.
Finally, for something a little different, fans of more modern architecture may prefer Il Sereno, a much newer property on the lake.
Again Mr S and I only came here for lunch but the food was absolutely exquisite, the pool is beautiful and the rooms and interiors are appealing to those looking for a modern aesthetic.
While Milan may not be everyone’s first choice for an Italian city break, I personally think it’s a highly underrated city. Mr S and I have been twice and both times absolutely loved it! Of course in a city synonymous with fashion, there’s plenty of beautiful shops to explore but also make time for visiting chic restaurants, Duomo di Milano cathedral and the Santa Maria delle Grazie convent, housing Leonardo da Vinci’s mural ‘The Last Supper’.
Milan is also a great stopover for exploring the Italian Lakes and perhaps the most romantic thing Mr S and I have ever done is hire a Ferrari to drive from Milan to Lake Como and explore the beautiful scenery in between.
Where to Stay: When Mr S and I visited for our anniversary a few year ago we stay in the stunning Four Seasons Milan a converted fifteenth century convent with absolutely gorgeous gardens and the perfect location for exploring the city.
We also absolutely loved Hotel Principe di Savoia by the Dorchester Collection where we stayed a few years ago. It’s slightly further out town and has the most exceptional service and beautiful interiors – there’s also a rooftop spa with views out to the city.
Florence is my favourite Italian city that I’ve visited (so far!) having stayed there both for my own minimoon and for my best friend’s wedding. As a city Florence is more beautiful and charming than Rome or Milan and has more than a touch of magic! The Il Duomo di Firenze looms large over the city and you can find some beautiful spots for taking in the view such as Piazzale Michelangelo.
Buy an ice cream and stroll hand in hand taking in Ponte Vecchio, one of the key landmarks and one of the world’s most beautiful bridges.
There is no shortage of gorgeous Michelin star restaurants as well as traditional family run spots that will have you spoilt for choice! Three-Michelin star Enoteca Pinchiorri is one of the best restaurants I’ve been to in my life.
Florence is the capital of Tuscany and I’d love to spend some time exploring the Tuscan countryside staying in a Castello. If you don’t have time for that, it’s easy to take a day trip from Florence and Mr S and I had a fabulous day wine tasting and eating in Chianti, only about an hour and half drive from Florence.
Where to Stay: Il Salviatino in the hills of Fiesole was the perfect hotel for Mr S and I to escape to days after the madness of our wedding! The hotel is around 15 minutes from the town centre of Florence so it feels very private and relaxed.
A restored 15 century villa with utterly gorgeous gardens and views of Florence, Il Salviatino is at once magical and enchanting but also very homely.
If you want to be right in the town centre, I highly recommend Four Seasons Firenze, renowned as one of the best hotels in the world. Once the home of Florentine nobleman, the property feels more like a museum than a hotel and feels like an embodiment of the city’s culture.
Even if you’re not staying, I would highly recommend a visit to the hotel’s beautiful garden and dinner at Michelin-starred Il Palagio.
Ok, unpopular opinion but I’m not the biggest fan of Rome owing to how crowded and touristy it is and it lacks the charm of Venice and Florence. Though the city is peppered with awe-inspiring landmarks it can be difficult to see the owing to the hordes of tourist and their selfie sticks and the ridiculously long queues. Now that being said, if you’re visiting Rome I would highly recommend going off season, I personally had a much more pleasant experience going in October than I did in May. There is no where quite like Rome and when Mr S first visited he was blown away by the Coliseum, The Pantheon and The Vatican – sadly the beautiful Trevi Fountain was undergoing maintenance when we were there.
I think a trip to Rome can be incredibly romantic (it was our choice for our one year wedding anniversary) but must be incredibly carefully planned in order to avoid the crowds and to find the more hidden and special areas such as the Trastevere, one of the most picturesque piazzas in the city. Being the capital, there is no shortage of world-class restaurants, La Pergola is on my bucket list but we couldn’t get a booking there! Another option is Aroma, a gorgeous Michelin-starred restaurant with the most incredible view.
Where to Stay: Last time Mr S and I were in Rome, we stayed at Hotel Eden by the Dorchester Collection which has since been fully refurbished. I’d love to return and see the new look as the hotel has an incredible location and the Michelin-starred restaurant has a view across the city.
I have also stayed at the beautiful Rocco Forte property Hotel de Russie which has a great location near the Spanish steps and a beautifully modern aesthetic.
Best of all is the hotel’s beautiful garden and courtyard, perfect for a cocktail or coffee to take a break from shopping!
Turin was a place that had never been on my bucketlist but a press trip with Ford cars allowed me to discover the capital of Piedmont. The city is the historic birthplace of FIAT, the home of beautiful Baroque architecture and the location of some gorgeous Alpine views AND the chocolate heart of Europe.
It’s also the perfect place to start a gastronomic road trip through North-West Italy. I’d recommend a trip to the Ceretto Vineyards, lunch at world renowned Piazza Duomo and a spot of truffle-hunting.
Where to Stay: As I was on a press trip we didn’t stay anywhere super fancy but it looks like Turin Palace would be a good option in the city centre.
I could honestly visit Italy again and again for the rest of my life and I can see us continuing to keep up the anniversary tradition. This list is of course by no means exhaustive and still on my wish list is Sicily, Portofino and Cinque Terre, Puglia, Bologna and Lake Garda. Have you been to Italy? Where’s you favourite place?
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