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For your interests, you simply must go to Florence. It’s an old city with some of the most famous art, including Michelangelo’s David at the Accademia and Botticelli’s the Birth of Venus at the Uffizi. The cobblestoned streets are lined with shops and markets with all your best fare, including Italian leather. And there are a variety of restaurants. I highly recommend the Ristorante de Medici, which is across from the Medici Chapel. My best meal in Italy was there.
PS the Gelato is better there than anywhere else!
Well let me just say that the architecture is amazing in Italy-I especially loved the homes- with the barn doors right up on the streets-they hide the most beautiful courtyards! I loved peeking in when someone would open it up- it would look just like a dull, gray stone building on the outside and then inside the courtyard- a beautiful fountain, cobblestone pavers, flowers galore- vines, ivy- everything. Loved that! My favorite dish in Italy was most definitely pasta carbonara- it’s a pasta with cream sauce and bacon and cheese- so delicious. Believe it or not but I also ate the best Chinese food I ever had in Italy- crazy I know but good stuff! Brushetta- all kinds of wine- loved their versions of cheesecake – not too sweet like we have here in America- but so good. We stayed at a pensione when we were waiting to find a place to live- it’s like renting a room in a house- but not too primitive-it’s not like renting a “bunk”. You just share a kitchen and living room and a bathroom. Ah… I miss Italy!Forgot about the gelato- YUMMMMMMMM
I had amazing Chinese food in Italy too! :) I thought that it might just have been me, but I see others have experienced it as well. Very cool. :)
I loved Rome, with all it’s rich history and texture…
All the food in Italy is superb. No fast food!!!!
Try a hostel to get to know the people a bit. They are worth it!
every province ihas it’s charm. I fell in love with Sicily… It’s quaint, reasonable, and warm.
See Mt Aetna there.
I definately suggest going to Florence, given your interest in the arts. You can day trip from there to Siena, which is an extraordinary medevial town. I think it is just beautiful. There are many other wonderful towns that are a short train or bus ride from Florence.
Venice architercture is amazing — how they have built a city around the islands is awe-inspiring. I really love to just wander around Venice, taking it all in.
The porticos of Bologna are legendary, and it’s a beautiful place to visit too. It is often overlooked by the typical tourists usually only wanting to hit the Venice-Florence-Rome route. It is easily reached by Eurostar train from Florence and has connections to Venice.
Those are just a few suggestions. I would pick up a copy of Frommer’s Italy and read about the different regions… then decide where you are most interested in… but given the interest in art and architecture, you must go to Florence. :)
Go out and pick up Ric Steve’s book on Italy. My wife and I would have died without it. It’s easily the best guidebook to Italy and I’ve heard the rest of his European guidebooks are just as good.
A couple of things I learned from our trip and you may want to take note of these, especially if it’s a honeymoon trip.
1. If you’re looking to spend time with people while over there, do not rush around and see as much as you can. Italy requires several visits to get the full flavor. We visited 6 cities in 10 days. that was stupid. We spent a lot of time traveling rather than enjoying. You may want to go for two weeks and spend one week traveling and another week in a villa outside of Siena doing nothing but enjoying the sun, eating, and sitting out at the pool.
2. Figure out which museums you want to go to before you get there. There are WAY too many to try it all at once. I recommend the Borghese and the Vatican.
3. You can find really stylish clothes there for cheap. If I could do it again, I would’ve half-packed all of the suitcases and shopped like a demon. The problem was we were traveling by plane, train, and bus, so that brings me to my fourth point.
4. You might want to think about renting a car. The only place you don’t want to drive is Rome. A car will give you the freedom of getting to places when you want to get there and not have to sit in train stations at 5:30 in the morning.
Good luck on your trip.
One great option is to fly to Florence, as thelookingglass suggests, and then rent a car. Florence can be needlessly expensive in terms of hotels, so what I recommend you do is rent a car and find a place in Tuscanny’s beautiful scenery to stay at. Typically, you can find villas for rent (at very reasonable weekly rates, for instance). We stayed twenty minutes south of Sienna in a remote villa for about a week and drove around Tuscanny, visiting some wineries, lots of little midieval villages and fortresses, and even a natural spa. You can find some really neat little places to eat in some of these top-of-the-hill villages as well, which is great, because you can change it up.
Florence itself certainly has good restaurants as well, and you should consider spending at least one night there, since you’ll be in the area.
Italy is by far one of my most favorite places to go in the world and I have been all over.
My wife & I flew to Venice and drove down to a town called San Gimignano(little Manhattan as it is called) is about 30 min from Florence situated in the Tuscany wine hills (talk about romantic) we would take day trips to Florence (recommend 2 days), Pisa, Sienna, Portofino then drove back to Venice and stayed there for 4 days and saw everything by boat, foot and car.
We both still talk about that vacation, my recommendation is 10 to 14 days take it all in an oh yea Don’t go when the world goes go before or after the tourist season, you will enjoy it much better.
I went to Italy for my honeymoon and it was absolutely wonderful. I would say every city has shopping. The major cities we basically stayed in were Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan. Rome is definately a place to visit if you are into the history. We took a day trip to Pompei which is 3hrs out of Rome, and that was incredible. We did most of our shopping in Florence and Venice. Florence also has lots of art and the architect of the buildings there is wonderful. From there we did a day trip to Tuscany and went wine tasting which is better than any winery that I have visited out here in my home state of California. In the same day trip we also visited Siena and San Gmignano which were calm and enjoyable.
As for food, you can’t really go wrong. Every place basically serves a 4 course meal, however their pasta dishes have very light sauces and the portions are a lot smaller than what is served in the States. They are well known for their coffees and gelatos (which I bought every chance I could). I would say go for it, especially for a honeymoon!!
when you think about your honeymoon, you have to go to verona. the small town where shakespeare’s romeo & juliet took pleace. and then: take the train (not the fast ones!) and go to sicilia, get off at taomina and make love to your honeymoon-man at the beach. i bet you will love it.
l’italia e bella da pertutto. non c’è niente da fare.
you should definitely go to rome, especially if it’s your first time visiting italy… the art & architecture are absolutely beautiful, & of course, there are tons of amazing restaurants & stores everywhere! i can hardly think of a more beautiful or romantic city for a honeymoon. the city practically exudes romance, art, history, & culture. there’s SO much to see & do… you & your husband won’t have a dull moment.
of course, all regions of italy are beautiful, though… i know you & your new husband will have a marvelous time no matter WHERE you end up going.
have fun :)
okay, so basically you should hit Naples, Rome, Florence, Ravenna, Pisa, Venice, and Milan. Ravenna and Pisa can be day trips that you take by train while staying in Venice or Florence. the shopping is choice in Milan, Florence, and bargain shopping in Naples. in Rome, you must visit the Via del Corso— an entire street devoted to the best bargain shopping. this street runs parallel to the Tiber river.
as far as places to stay— The Hotel Alpi is the choice place in Rome. when i think of more hotel names i’ll let you know. but The Hotel Alpi is wonderfully nice.
As many others have said (but it’s worth repeating) Florence is a MUST if you’re interested in art. Make sure to give yourself enough time there to see the Uffizi, the Accademia, the Bargello, AND putter around to all the churches that have amazing masterworks still on display in their original locations. In some ways, I loved seeing art in the churches best of all – so amazing to look at an altarpiece that I studied back in college (I took a lot of art history myself).
I know someone else suggested renting a car and staying outside of Florence, but that’s not what we did – we stayed in a place very near the Piazza della Signoria (which is next to the Uffizi, and I hope I’m spelling everything corrrectly :D), and then we walked everywhere. I preferred that to having to worry about driving and parking, and Florence is VERY walkable – I don’t think we ever took any public transportation at all on our explorations of the city.
Definitly take in Florence and Rome, there both great, go see the VAtican City, the artwork in there is magnificant and the Piazza Novi is a great place as well, but my faovites were the patheon, the trevi fountin, and for sure the bridge in florece as well as the old catherdreals!
My wife and I travelled to Italy twice. The first time we spent 10 days and made a loop starting and ending in Milan. We flew into Milan and took the train striaght to Venice where we stayed 3 nights in the Santa Chiara hotel on the Grand Canal. We took a water taxi to Murano where we bought some festive colored champaigne glasses that we shipped back home. Everytime we use the glasses it reminds us of the trip.
We then had some business in Bologna where we stayed at the hotel bologna which was the most expensive night of the trip. From Bologna we took the train to Florence where we stayed for another night and then rented a car and went south past Sienna to a family run B&B called La Palazzina. We stayed there for three nights and toured the tuscan country side including San Giminiano, Montepulciano, Bagno Vignioni and a number of other quaint and beautiful towns and monastaries.
The last leg of our trip we drove all the way north to Lake Como and stayed in a hotel high up off the lake that gave us a panoramic view of the lake nestled in the Italian alps.
We arranged to drop our rental car off at malpensa and flew home.
That trip was so magical that 7 years later we planned a trip that covered Rome and the Amalfi Coast.
We landed in Rome and then drove south to a hotel villa rosa on a wildlife preserve about three hours from the airport. We spent the night there and then continued driving south to Positano which we used as our base for four days of touring the Amalfi coast. Positano was beautiful but the place that turned out to be truely remarkable is Ravello. If you are looking for authentic Italian food and atmosphere you need to go to Cumpa Cosimo owned and run by Netta.
After touring as far south as Vietri with a side trip to Capri we went north to Pompeii and then to Rome were we dropped off our car.
We stayed in Rome for four more days in a hotel not too far from the Spanish steps. We enjoyed walking all over Rome and using the subway system and taxis.
Where ever you go to eat in Rome or anywhere in Italy you can’t go wrong.
I know that you said you like to utlize your time and enjoy all you can so I suggest that you take your time exploring a couple of cities and really soak in the atmosphere. You can’t go wrong with using Rome as a focal point and take day trips to other places if you have the time or inclination.
I think it’s great you’re thinking about your future honeymoon ahead of time! It will be so much better with more thought put into it. For art, architecture, food, ancient cities, and shopping, you’ve picked a great place. Italy is one of the best. Since you are interested in art and history, I would STRONGLY recommend DK Eyewitness Travel Guide books. If you haven’t heard of them, just check them out. They’re amazing books. They have one for Italy, as well as Florence and Rome specifically. You can buy them at most major bookstores, or online at www.dk.com . They’re full of photos and schematics, history and culture, plus they really help you figure out and enjoy what you want to see.
A tip for travelling in Italy – dress very nicely. Italians really are the best dressed and you will want to blend in with the locals. Not fancy, just very nice and somewhat conservative. I remember my favourite food there – was pressed toast with cheese. Might sound funny to go to Italy for a grilled cheese sandwhich, but oh…it was so good. I haven’t had such perfectly pressed toast anytime since then.
Also, be careful when you dine out with the wine that you don’t spend your honeymoon with morning-after headaches. If you don’t know – when you mix different alcohols instead of drinking the same thing all night it makes it MUCH worse, and Italians often like to have a different wine or drink with every course.
Enjoy your honeymoon!
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