When you think about spending a blissfully romantic honeymoon, surrounded by picture-perfect scenery, it’s inevitable that your mind will immediately go to places like Venice, Sorrento, the Italian Lake District and Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera. Although all these destinations have a magical combination of romance, candle-lit dinners in stunning surroundings and tons of atmosphere, they are also full of tourists looking for exactly the same!
And your honeymoon as a once-in-a-lifetime event really deserves to be spent not only in amazing and unforgettable places, but also away from the crowds in peace and tranquillity, walking hand in hand where you can truly slow down the pace of life and enjoy each other’s company. I invite you to check out these top destinations for romance off-the-beaten path in Italy for a truly memorable experience:
the Island of Ponza
This jewel in the Tyrrhenian Sea is one of the Romans best kept secrets and one that I have also guarded for many years until now! It is Ponza, the largest of the six islands in the Pontine Archipelago, a string of volcanic crags scattered across the sea, between Rome and Naples, 23 miles off the coast of Lazio.
Most tourists haven’t yet realised that there is an escape far from the madding crowds and the summer heat of the Eternal City and that you can combine a big city stay with one of these craggy retreats and enjoy a slice of paradise during your honeymoon or romantic getaway.
From Rome take a train to Anzio, a coastal town an hour’s ride away (www.trenitalia.it) and then jump on a ferry or hydrofoil (www.vetor.it) to Ponza. As soon as you step off the ferry you are instantly transported to a more tranquil dimension, a sort of full immersion in the ‘real’ Italy you didn’t even know existed!
Forty miles south east of hectic Rome, you’ll come across one of the most beautiful natural wonders of Italy: the gardens of Ninfa. Ninfa and its unique setting are still a fairly well-kept secret among gardeners, but this enchanting place is guaranteed to weave a magic spell not just on nature lovers but also on everyone who visits and is ideal as a romantic destination!
Built on the medieval town of Ninfa in the Pontine marshes, the garden has been declared a Natural Monument given the variety of remarkable flora and fauna you can admire within its grounds. Visiting the garden is only possible with a guide and only at certain times of the year and for more information on upcoming dates, check the link here and start planning in advance: http://www.fondazionecaetani.org/visita_ninfa.php
Perched high above the Amalfi Coast, Ravello, a medieval village full of winding cobblestone streets, is full of sumptous churches, beautiful gardens, villas and breathtaking views of the Mediterranean.
Particularly enchanting is Villa Rufolo and its romantic gardens which famously inspired the German composer Wagner. Overhanging the sea is the terrace where every year Ravello Classical Music Festival is celebrated in his commemoration.
Ravello is indeed sublime and well worth exploring at least once in your lifetime. I couldn’t think of a better place to enjoy one of the most spectacular views of the Amalfi Coast and besides, where else are you going to find such a romantic setting?!
Villa d’Este and Gardens in Tivoli
Not many know that in Tivoli, near Rome you can find Villa d’Este, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The extraordinary complex is famous all over the world for its splendid fountains characterized by wonderful and suggestive water displays and for being the most beautiful example of the Italian Renaissance garden in Europe.
The whole complex extends for 4 hectares and includes a residential palace (the Palazzo d’Este), a garden adorned with tree- and hedge-lined avenues and around a hundred fountains which are true works of art. You can easily reach it by train from Rome in about 40 minutes. Can you think of a more peaceful and captivating place to celebrate romance?!
Val d’Orcia, Tuscany
I don’t think that there could be any better images to capture the essence of the glorious Tuscan countryside: sunny rolling hills, isolated hilltop towns, charming farmhouses, avenues of cypresses and golden wheat fields. These are just some of the elements of the fantastic and harmonious landscapes you are guaranteed to find in Val d’Orcia!
Crossed by the Orcia river, this wonderful area in southern Tuscany stretches along the provinces of Siena and Grosseto. It’s now protected as a natural and cultural park and it has been recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 2004.
There are only a few other places that are able to impress the traveller so deeply and its impressive views, which inspired so many Renaissance painters, are ever changing with the seasons and are as evocative in real life as when they were captured on canvas!
Grotte della Civita in Matera
If you are looking for the ultimate hideaway and romantic place to connect with your loved one, then nothing fits the bill better than Grotte della Civita in the UNESCO listed town of Matera.
Inhabited since prehistoric times, Matera and its Sassi (cave dwellings) offer a spectacular and rugged landscape of ravines and grottoes. Many of Matera’s remarkable underground spaces have been turned into accommodation with a unique appeal that you will find nowhere else in Italy.
This Albergo Diffuso is placed in the oldest part of the Sassi quarters and consists of 18 cave rooms and an ancient church, now used as a common area and a restaurant, all renovated to retain their original features with the minimal addition of modern amenities.
Wandering around Matera, it’s easy to fall under the spell of its very special charm, as its landscape remains unchanged through thousands of years and its magical quality can only be experienced in person.
If you would like to spend your honeymoon in one of these secrets spots in Italy or for a special celebration, then my Honeymoon Suite Package is ideal for you, as it’s totally dedicated to plan and organise a stay that will be remembered for a lifetime!