ITALY FOR ROMANTICS: WHEN AND WHERE TO VISIT WHEN YOU’RE IN LOVE.
Fri Feb 2016
Whether you’re looking for your honeymoon destination, a special place to spend a special anniversary or even looking for a breathtaking wedding venue, and there is a little something for everyone, whatever your holiday style is.
What is it that makes Venice so romantic? Something about the waterways, the crumbling old buildings that have withstood the test of time and bear the heavy adornments from bygone eras… something about the echo of the gondolas serenade and the tranquil manner of the boats dipping under the ancient stone bridges that build a network of paths and roads across the City of Masks. There truly is something in the water in Venice that has grabbed the imagination of any traveler who passes through its ancient streets and canals.
The location has been painted, drawn, animated, sung about, written about and praised for hundreds of years it has become an iconic symbol of love and romance. Perhaps we can trace is back to the young Romantic artists of the early 1800’s who flocked to the city during their ‘Grand Tour’, and they too felt the draw of the beauty in the city.
Today, Venice is still a hot spot of romance and culture, and makes a fantastic destination for couples who want to share an experience together. The attractions are obvious: St. Mark’s Square continues to stun even the pickiest of travelers, and you can explore the most incredible high street in the world- the Grand Canal.
2. Amalfi Coast
Perhaps a bustling city break isn’t really your thing. The idea of hopping from location to location while treading through cobbled streets is another idea for another holiday. Right now, all you and your partner want is to bask in the sun and enjoy a glass of wine while watching the sun slip beneath the waves.
The Amalfi Coast is instantly recognisable with its postcard picture colourful buildings that line the rugged coastline. Little sandy beaches, lined with parasols, sit nestled into tiny coves and inlets, and long winding roads through the hills with hairpin bends all instantly remind you of those romantic scenes from the golden age of cinema. You too can hire an open top convertible car and feel the wind in your hair as you drive along the coastal roads and instantly feel like a 1960’s starlet!
The Amalfi Coast is a holiday destination for some serious relaxation (and plenty of gelato!), so you can your partner can feast on the delicious cuisine on offer in the Neapolitan Riviera, sip on the wonderful crisp wines, take an evening stroll along the promenades, and finally, breathe a sigh of relief as you slip into full holiday mode.
A slightly more adventurous location for the holiday go-er, but will provide some fabulous experiences and stories to bring home to friends and family for years!
The Aeolian Islands are a cluster of 7 islands that sit around an active volcano, to the North East of Sicily. For some of us, that might not sound like the most relaxing place to hunker down with their loved one, but thanks to the volcanic activity on the islands, it provides some very unique conditions for those who like to be pampered…
Thermal waters have been hailed therapeutic and fabled to help and cure a series of ailments for thousands of years. For a revitalising experience and a good laugh, why not dip into a sulfur mud bath together? The warm volcanic clay mud is said to be good for the skin, body, and not the least, the heart. After that you can explore the islands, relaxing on the black sand beaches surrounded by pristine turquoise waters. Lovely.
Oh, Tuscany. This wouldn’t be a complete list without the rolling sienna hills dotted with the silhouettes of tall Cyprus trees under the heavy setting sun… A spotless white tablecloth flutters in the breeze and that first cool sip of white wine, the condensation rolling down the outside of the glass, you reach over and give your partners hand a little squeeze…
Sorry, we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. But as you can see, Tuscany has a little special place in our hearts and remains a firm favourite destination for a bit of romancing. The food produced in this region, and not to mention the wines, is absolutely sublime and you can find some classic Italian dishes with a local twist. It’s no wonder that Hollywood was captured by the Tuscan charm of Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes.
If you’re not watching the sun go down over the hills and sipping wine late into the evening on a restaurant terrace, then Tuscany is full of ancient towns and cities that feel like a throwback to another time and era of lords, ladies and chivalry. Take a day out in Siena and if you’re lucky enough to be visiting in July and August, don’t miss the world famous Il Palio horse race and renaissance pageantry!
An instant classic. Nowhere says ‘love’ quite like the city of the original star cross’d lovers. Home to the titular characters from William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the city of Verona is filled with culture and architecture dating back thousands of years, including the stunning Roman remains of the Arena di Verona that houses the Verona Opera House. You’ll never be bored for a second!
Every Valentine’s day, Verona celebrates ‘Verona In Love’, a festival dedicated to love and lovers. Taking place in the main square, the festival stands as a tribute to San Valentine as well as a generous nod towards the original Romeo and Juliet that captured this city in its verse. There will be live concerts, tastings and handicrafts, as well as markets and you can also visit the famous Juliet’s balcony for a discounted price. Lovers can also ask for the Seal of Love and experience the special firework display of flying hearts!
If that sounds a bit gushy for you, there are plenty of galleries, churches and local landmarks that are worth visiting during your stay.
The island of Capri is famous for its staggering natural beauty, deep turquoise blue sea, and stretches of sandy beach. Have we just accidentally described a photograph from a holiday catalogue? No! The beautiful island of Capri really does look like it’s fresh off the front of a postcard! It’s no surprise really that the island is dotted with Roman ruins- even well over a thousand years ago it was a popular holiday destination for the Emperors and Roman gentry as well.
What could be a nicer honeymoon destination? Sunbathing as the soft Mediterranean breeze floats over the beach, and the quiet waves lap against the shore. Walking barefoot through the sand, sandals in one, and your partners hand in the other as you enjoy a moment of blissful quietness.
When you’re not snoozing on the beach, or enjoying an ice cold glass of limoncello, you can rent boats and kayaks and explore the caves and grottos around the island. The famous Blue Grotto is worth a visit due to its unusual trick of the light- at a certain time of day, the sunshine on the water lights up the entire cave electric blue!
7. Lake Como
A little further north and pressing up against the base of the Italian Alps, Lake Como doesn’t compromise on the beauty of the area with its geographical location. In fact, Bellagio is one of the most photographed locations in all of Italy, and you can now go and see for yourself why!
Lake Como has been a tremendously popular destination for aristocracy, the elite and their friends, trendy celebrities and the well-to-do, the result of this is that the lake is surrounded by towns of absolutely immaculate hotels, houses and buildings. Palaces and houses of all levels of grandeur sit amongst carefully manicured gardens, you’ll feel as though you stumbled into a fairy tale. The town itself is made up of classical Italian brightly coloured houses, and sits along a promenade lined with boats.
Lake Como is a great location if you and your partner enjoy rambling and walking through miles of lush mountain terrain with outstanding views. There are also numerous gardens and houses that are open to the public in this area, including the wonderful Villa Carlotta.
The island of Sardinia truly does feel as though it has been plucked out of the Bahamas and placed into the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. Those white sandy beaches, crystal clear turquoise waters and balmy summers sun could fool anyone into thinking they were a thousand miles further away, and not a mere 2.5 hour flight from London!
The interior of Sardinia is still a rugged island, while the coast is lined with smart resorts, especially on the north eastern coast, known at the Costa Smeralda (Emerald Coast) between Sardinia and French Corsica.
There is plenty to do in Sardinia when not relaxing on the beach or trying some of the exquisite local fish dishes. Oysters are a well known aphrodisiac, and it could be a real romantic experience to tuck into a plate together…
You can also catch a boat out to the National Park that sits on the small island of La Maddalena to have a wander about, or visit some of the remnants of the Bronze Age culture on the island.