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10 Day Italian Honeymoon--itinerary help!

Hello,
My fiance and I are trying to plan a 10 day honeymoon late this October. We are looking to travel for 10 or 11 days (most likely leaving New York City late on Tuesday, October 27th and arriving in Italy the morning of Wednesday, October 28th. Then returning to NYC Friday, November 6th) and have no idea what our itinerary should look like! We are on somewhat of a budget, and would like to keep the trip (including airfare) under $8,000 if possible. We would like a relaxing trip, and coming from a large city, would enjoy visiting some quieter areas. That being said, we love history and recognize that the most historical artifacts are found in the cities. Also, as this will likely be our only trip to Italy, we would like to feel like we saw as much as possible without going crazy doing so. We would prefer to take the train places and not rent a car. Any itinerary assistance would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

Posted by
6542 posts

I would tell you to start at the very romantic Venice--for at least 2 full days after your arrival day.
Then take a fast train (reservations required) down to Florence for 4 days. One day, catch a bus down to Siena for a day trip.
Then take a fast train (again reservations required) down to Rome for the remainder of your time. Fly home from there.

And after this trip, you'll no longer be saying "this will likely be our only trip to Italy." You'll be back. Italy has so much great food, art, architecture and culture that makes you realize one trip is not enough.

Rick Steves has great travel guides for Italy. And I especially like RonInRome.com for information on everything to do in Rome.

Posted by
1605 posts

Some smaller cities to consider are Padua, Bologna, Modena, Reggio-Emelia, and Parma (all north of Florence). I woudn't try to see them all, but each has a beautiful historical center and isn't too touristed. Another great smaller city is Udine, north-east of Venice. Also, we have found taking the second class Trentitalia trains are much cheaper and usually don't take too much longer. As for booking rooms, we have had good luck with Booking.com. Off season they often have great deals on good rooms.

Posted by
431 posts

With only 10 days, I would pick one or two cities. The larger cities are all accessible by train. I would land in one city, depart from another. My husband & I went to Italy in late Oct/Nov in 2012 for 21 days. We used airline miles for our flights & a timeshare for a week, we spent a little over $11,000. I used a lot of RS hotels. In order to save on costs and calories, we split the appetizer, 1st and 2nd courses. Never felt hungry or deprived.

Rome probably has the most to do for a week. Florence you could do in 2 or 3 days, then take buses to the Tuscany towns.

Mary

Posted by
3356 posts

Congratulations!

My hubby & I recommend:Venice (3 days); train for 1 hour to Verona (Romeo & Juliet! - 2 days); train for 3.5 hours to Siena (2 days); train for 3 hours to Rome (3 days).

Hotel recommendations (all include breakfast):

Hotel Aurora, Piazzetta 14 Novembre 2 Piazza Erbe, Città Antica - Verona; excellent location on Piazza Erbe.

Hotel Chiusarelli, Viale Curtatone 15 - Siena; stayed there with the RS tour, and by ourselves last year; excellent location. Great price. Ask for a room that looks over the back instead of the front.

Albergo Cesari Hotel, Via Pietra 89a - Rome; terrific location & excellent staff; breakfast is on the roof top, and you can enjoy a romantic drink on the roof top in the evening - 3 minutes walk to the Pantheon

Posted by
13930 posts

I like David's plan. Venice is the best place to get over jetlag and lack of sleep while soaking up the atmosphere. And it is romantic.

My suggestion is to consider skipping Rome. For me, it's the only place I've been in Italy that has a big-city feel, and as David said, assume you'll be back. If you can get a flight back from Naples (there are some non-stops, use rome2rio.com to find them), I'd recommend Sorrento as a second romantic stay, with a stop in-between, Florence maybe, or even Bologna or Orvieto. If Naples/Sorrento is out, I'd still drop Rome for the towns I've mentioned. Don't worry about historical significance - it's hard to find a place in Italy that isn't brimming with it. From Sorrento, you can walk the 2000-year-old streets of Pompeii or Herculaneum. Florence is the heart and soul of the Renaissance, Bologna claims the oldest university in Europe, Verona has a Roman amphitheatre and a Romanesque church. A day trip from Bologna can take you to Ravenna's well-preserved 5th-6th century churches (and fabulous mosaics), or Padua . . . I'll stop now. All these towns will have a small-town feel in the historic centers and you can't go wrong with any of them, all easily accessible by car, all with great food and wine.

I suggest you see what your flight options are - some may be much pricier than others - and then come back and we'll help you plan the best honeymoon EVER. Congratulations!

Posted by
35 posts

Congratulations guys!
Just thought I'd share with you my honeymoon itinerary in 2013 - We loved it there.

I felt that we only needed 2-3 days in Rome. It was a little too 'commercial' had a bi-city feel. We like the more country-side feel, and wished we spent more time in Tuscany or planned for Cinque Terre/Amalfi Coast instead. Trastevere was a lovely district to visit though, and the old Roman sites were amazing, but the city was too modern for our taste.

Florence was amazing! Make sure you visit Piazzale Michaelangelo, which gives a great view of Florence. It will be a little hike, but well worth it. Florence was also where I had the best meals! There is a restaurant over the Ponte Vecchio called 'Ristorante Celestino', the food was so delicious that we went back twice. We also tried the dining with locals concept and booked an experience with BonAppetour, that was absolutely splendid! We had a meal with our host Elisabetta, and she made it seem like we had family in Florence, with her hospitality and great food!
Mercato Centrale is a must see. If you like Italian meats or produce, you can have it shipped back or vaccum sealed. I bought awesome smelling Porcini from this market. They also have whole black/white truffles if you're into that. Florence is the home of leather...even the side shop vendors have great quality jackets and bags.

We loved Siena as well - it has a very castle-like vibe and is a wonderful little city to roam around. Do climb up the staircase for the Torre del Mangia. It's a workout, but there are great photo opportunities of the Tuscan countryside once you make it to the top!

Venice is really romantic, just like what everyone said! You can get lost and just lose time. The city is slow and relaxing...nothing else in the world quite like it. A little expensive though, but I'd say its a great place. Make a trip down to Pizza SanSovino (if you can find it; Venetian maps are very hard to follow!).

Let me know if there are any questions. Happy planning!

Posted by
1713 posts

I'd like to look at this more from a cost standpoint, since you mentioned that you don't want to spend over $8K. If the Euro stays status quo into October (1.08 as of 5/27) it's definitely doable. If you plan smartly & travel efficiently, you can stay within your budget, not compromise your comfort one iota & maybe have a little extra to spend on...whatever!

We did 'open-jaw' flights in March--into Paris, out of Naples. Booked in December, paid $2300 for the two of us. With your ability to fly in or out of Newark or LaGuardia, you should be able to fly into Milan, out of Rome. The flights probably won't be non-stop but you shouldn't have to put up with weird, cockamamie connections either, and do within a thousand of that. Really start working the air deals starting now, before you make other plans. When you see a good one, grab it because they usually don't last long.

I say into Milan on an overnight flight because once you arrive on the morning of the 28th, you're going to be jetlagged anyway, so you might as well get over to the train station (probably Milano Centrale) and take the less-than-2-hour ride to Florence, where you can start your honeymoon & not have to travel for a few days.

In Florence and my other proposed destination for you, Rome (5 nights each), to save money and really assimilate into Italian culture quickly, I would recommend renting an apartment. We used VRBO for Florence in March, had a beautiful apartment on a piazza near the Florence Santa Maria Novella train station, spent about 100 Euro per night--less than half what a decent hotel would cost--and enjoyed it immensely, while absolutely saving on meals because you can easily stock a refrigerator for a few days from the markets or grocery store, and save on breakfast and lunch by not eating out, but splurging on a nice dinner out each night. Make sure to do your due diligence like we did before booking these apartments. I am not as familiar with apartments in Rome, but I am assuming the savings are similar.

I would use both Florence & Rome as bases for daytrips, from Florence to Siena, Fiesole, Pisa...heck, even Venice for a day if you want (2 hours each way via Fresciarossa train). Or hang out in this magic city, walk around, as stated above, shop at the Mercato Centrale for food provisions (our favorite part of the trip) and visit the museums. After taking the Fresciarossa train (again less than 2 hours) to Rome, you can daytrip it to Pompei, Naples if you choose, but the Eternal City & its surroundings have more than enough attractions for 5 days.

If flying back out of Rome, it is advisable to be in Rome the night before, which you would be. If you can get air for $3000-3500, spend $1500 on lodging ($150 a night at an apartment is feasible), that gives you in the neighborhood of $3K to spend. Once those plans are set, book the Trenitalia train tickets well in advance to get deep discounts on your Milan / Florence & Florence / Rome legs, should you decide to do this. I know coming from NYC you want it quieter, but the daytrips will provide that & frankly, wherever you stay in Florence or Rome will be like little neighborhoods anyway.

Good luck with your planning!

Posted by
66 posts

trawinski - You may wish to consider a RS tour. There is a Venice Florence Rome tour beginning on 10/ 26. Taking a tour frees you from planning every aspect of your vacation / honeymoon. Somebody is picking hotels, modes of transportation, etc. Worth a thought.
It also fits your budget. Almost forgot...Congratulations in advance!!!

Posted by
116 posts

So jealous you're going to Italy! My wife and I were just there for our honeymoon in March and we had a blast.

Our itinerary:

1) Venice - 2.5 days - Amazing, you cannot miss Venice. I can't believe this place exists. Try not to get too frustrated when you get lost haha; don't miss torre dell'orologio, make sure you go to the dorsoduro district, La Salute, Frari, eat Cicchetti; others may disagree but I think the doge's palace is skipable; I want to move here.

2) Florence - 3 days - Best food you'll ever have - Must see Piazza de Michelangelo, climb the Duomo, Santa Croce, San Minauto (see the monks chanting), Mercato Centrale, David (duh)... so much more. My wife dragged me to the Gucci Museum which actually was pretty good haha.

3) Siena - 2 days - could have used another day here - took a tour with Tours by Roberto which was unforgettable. Il Campo was amazing. Try to find the balcony cafe's Rick talks about in his book.

4) Cinque Terre - 2 days - Again, how does this place exist?! We somehow made it here from Siena in the midst of a train strike (long story) but the payoff was fantastic. We stayed in Vernazza at La Mala which is where I'd stay if - actually when - I return. Food is not the best in this region (others may disagree). Try to hike - it's amazing.

5) Rome - 4 days - You gotta come to see the sites, but honestly (as others have said), the city itself isn't "memorable." When I make a return to Italy, I will probably skip Rome the second time around. However, I would have regretted not going.

As far as flights go, definitely try to go on Emirates to Milan and out of Rome. We went into Venice (mistake! - so expensive!) and out of Rome.

Get advance reservations for EVERYTHING. It's a minimal fee and will greatly enhance your experience. You don't want to spend your honeymoon waiting on line.

As far as cost, for our 14 day trip including flights, hotel accommodations (we stayed at what I'd describe as fancy places in Siena and Cinque, above average in Rome and Venice, and average in Florence), sites, food, the total cost was about $6,000 for the two of us. So, you should definitely be able to come in well under your budget!

Enjoy it!

P.S. I would avoid large organized tours. They are SO expensive. We ran into a couple along our way and found the people to be annoying. Also, I had such a fun time planning everything myself!

Posted by
303 posts

My husband of 46 years and I just returned from our favorite place in Italy--the Amalfi Coast. We flew into Rome and toured the big city for a few days and then took the Frecciarossa to Salerno. We chose Salerno over Sorrento as the ferries no longer connect from there to the Amalfi Coast! Salerno is a travel hub---trains, ferries and buses, AND it has a small city feel. We stayed at B and B Centro which is close to the charming old town of Salerno with all of the narrow streets and shops. We strolled the Lungomare, which is one of the longest seaside walks in Italy. We took ferries to Amalfi and Positano. The town of Ravello sits high above Amalfi with to die for views and Villa Rufolo with the beautiful formal gardens. Eat lunch outside at any of the cafes or buy some limoncello at a shop in Ravello. You can take a train to Pompeii if you desire to go south to Paestum where the Greek temples are. Granted, we have not been to Venice or Florence, but we absolutely fell in love with Salerno and the Amalfi coast.

Posted by
1713 posts

Yay, another champion of Salerno!

I said upthread that I'd advise Florence & Rome as stops for your honeymoon--it being your first time to Italy, but I must say that we did spend five days using Salerno as a base to end our 17-day European trip a couple months ago, and could not have been more impressed with Salerno, its surroundings and our visits to Amalfi & Pompei, which were easy rides from the train or bus stations. We also stayed in a B&B, Salerno Centro, where there are only 3 rooms and we were treated like family. It is the real Italy, not manufactured in the least. The food in Salerno and Amalfi was seafood-based & tremendous. A real treat was the B&B owner driving us up into the hills to the southeast to the little town of Sant' Arsenio, where my great and great-great grandparents were born. They never see tourists up there, and I really had to put to use my limited knowledge of Italian to get around. It was an experience of a lifetime.

And...as an added bonus for the cost-conscious, it was really inexpensive. 75 Euro/night for a comfortable room, bath and a wonderful home-cooked breakfast in the morning. Napolitan pizza right behind the B&B was 4-6 Euro, and tremendous. Trains & buses are dirt-cheap. And you could just as easily--probably easier--fly out of Napoli Capodochino airport rather than the hellhole known as Rome Fiumicino.

For something different, keep Salerno in mind, even as a first-timer!

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you so much everyone for the great recommendations! We would really love to see the Amalfi Coast, but are afraid that it will be very difficult to get around when we are there without a car and with limited bus and ferry service (late October/early November), and also possibly quite rainy. Right now our itinerary looks like this:

Leave NYC Tuesday, October 27th
Arrive in Milan on Wednesday, October 28th- Take 2 hour train ride to Florence

Wednesday-Sunday October 28th-November 1st: Stay in Florence (tour Florence Wednesday, Thursday)
Friday, October 30th- Day trip to Sienna
Saturday, October 31st- Day trip Venice
Sunday, November 1st- leave for Rome in the morning/early afternoon

Sunday-Friday November 1st-5th: Stay in Rome (tour Rome/Vatican City Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday)
Wednesday, November 3rd: Day trip to Pompeii
Friday, November 5th: Fly home from Rome

Would there be any point in trying to see the Amalfi Coast as a day trip from Rome? Is it possible to easily go from Florence to Sorrento and then to Rome? Any other ideas/suggestions? Thank you so much again for all of your help!

Posted by
1713 posts

A day trip to Amalfi from Rome is probably not worth the trouble--from my estimation it's no faster than 3+ hours each way, and you're subject to the weather. Much better that you enjoy your time in Rome, and then be flexible in your Pompei date--pick a nice day (hopefully) and do it, 2 hours each way. It's magnificent in every sense of the word, and tourists should be somewhat down by early November. But decent weather enhances the experiences at Pompei--all those ancient stones get pretty slippery in the rain.

Is Florence to Sorrento doable? Sure it is, a 4-hour train ride. Again, is it worth it? Sorrento is way out on the tip of the Amalfi Coast, you'd probably only be there a couple days, then you'd have to backtrack it 2.5 hours to Rome, meaning you'd be cutting into either your Florence or Rome time.

I would say good job, leave your itinerary as is, and be flexible on the Pompei travel date, subject to weather.

Enjoy!

Posted by
1501 posts

mtrawinski - the itinerary you've settled on sounds perfect! I can't believe this is your first trip to Italy and you're smart enough to avoid Milan (lol, personal opinion) and Go to Rome!!! I do NOT understand how anyone can't love Rome! The Eternal City!

You're smart "hubbing" yourself in Florence - and other than Venice, no place is more romantic! Sit in a piazza after dark and enjoy the spontaneous musicians/opera singers who come out. The fountains will all be lit! IMHO, while Siena is nice, It's a day trip. You see the Siena red Campo, and the Duomo........but again, that's my opinion. In Florence DO go up to Piazza Michelangelo for sunset, and enjoy a drink at the only outdoor bar up there and see the sun set on Tuscany. Eat a good Tuscan steak (bistecca) with a good bottle of red wine for your splurge dinner. Have a nice dinner at Golden View Open Bar on the Arno River. Also a bit of a "splurge" but they have a beautiful "pear salad" that is basically a peeled and cored pear perched on a fan of pecorino fresco, drizzled in honey and sprinkled with walnuts! Ask for a table at the window. :-) Mercado Centrale is the most fabulous two or three story delight of all foods tuscan -- olives, olive oil, sausages, cheeses, sauces! (This is why I rent an apartment in Florence, just so I can cook something! Also, the transportation into and out of Florence is so easy by either train or bus to see Siena, etc. and that's why it makes such a great hub. Oh, eat at Za Za! You might see a movie star or two, and it's not an expensive place.

In Rome, one day go early to the Campo di Fiori and enjoy the kiosks of flowers and more flowers and salamis and cheeses, and souvenirs. They fold up shortly after noon, so do get there early. Because you're probably young (honeymooners) you might like to explore taking a Segway tour of Rome -- but once you reserve, it's a done deal, and they go rain or shine! I've seen lots of tourists wearing their Hefty Bags on these tours when it rains, all smiling, but I understand that the guides are Very Well Informed, and the advantage is that you can get down the more narrow alleyways and cobblestones that you can't get to via the hop on hop off buses. Especially Roman Forum area. Spend an evening in Trastevere -- everyone is young -- and well dressed. It's got its own vibe. Lots of restaurants to choose from. Go to Parla Rome for restaurant suggestions.

For good pizza -- look at the signs outdoors and stick to places that say "forno al legna" which means wood oven! Pizzas are always good when they're made in a wood oven. Thursday is Gnocci night in Rome, and I highly recommend it!

Have a great trip. You'll cry when you leave and start planning another trip on the flight home!

Again, IMO you have done a great job with your itinerary. Stick to it! Enjoy!