Perhaps you’ve already toured the Colosseum in Rome, taken a gondola ride in Venice, and viewed the impressive Michelangelo in Florence. But just because you’ve already seen some of the sights in Italy’s major cities is no reason why you shouldn’t consider taking an off-the-beaten path trip to the breathtaking country on your honeymoon—we swear there’s a lot more to do than just sharing a pizza for two.
Small, quaint towns are where Italy does best. (If you're skeptical, just watch Under the Tuscan Sun.) Not sure where to start planning? We’ve uncovered some totally romantic spots where the Italians themselves like to get away (plus we detail how to visit one city with a completely new POV). All you need to do is walk down the aisle, say I do, and book yourself (and your partner in crime) a seat on the next flight to Italy. Scroll through to see the top Italian honeymoon spots.
Lake Como’s most popular village is Bellagio (yes, the one that’s represented in the Las Vegas casino scene), but Varenna, a 10-minute ferry ride away, is a must for honeymooners. The sleepy lakeside town nestled between Lake Como and the mountainside is known for its gorgeous pastel-hued buildings perched on the coast (don’t forget to request a hotel room with a view!). Stroll down the romantic cobblestone alleyways as you venture from tiny restaurants to gelato shops while enjoying your partner’s company.
Okay, okay, we know we mentioned Venice, and you’ve probably already toured this water-locked city, but that doesn’t mean you’ve done it like a real Italian yet. Start out by staying at the Ca Maria Adele hotel, which still has rich Venetian décor but with a more modern flair (read: peppered with wooden African trinkets) in Dorsoduro, a quiet art quarter. It's is not far from San Marco, but it’s home to far fewer tourists. Do a bacaro (bar) crawl for lunch and eat by the canal, and then partake in some shopping at Calle Sant’Agnese (no one will haggle you here).
Honeymoon musts: Take a cooking class led by a Venetian countess at Enrica Rocca Cooking School; view the gorgeous architecture at Church of San Sebastiano; visit the palazzo museum Ca’ Rezzonico filled with tons of Venetian art.
This tiny town in Campania looks out over the Bay of Naples in southern Italy, and fun fact, it’s also the birthplace of limoncello (be sure to take a class on how to make it while you’re there). Hire a private boat tour to see the rock grottos up close and personal, and then spend the rest of the afternoon shopping in the little boutiques on Corso Italia, the main road in town. Before you leave, take a dip in the Mediterranean; you may not see bluer water until you come back (or until you head to Costa Smeralda).
Honeymoon musts: Have dinner at Trattoria da Emilia where the locals go for the freshest seafood; dine on tasty pizza at Ristorante Tasso (which comes with an after-dinner shot of limoncello); design custom shoes together at Corcione.
This posh spot located in the northeast of Sardinia gets its name—Costa Smeralda translates to emerald coast—from the rich hue of its signature sea water. The only site in this area rivaling the water is the gorgeous granite rocks that are natural works of art. When there’s downtime, have a local point you to one of the secluded, nearly private beaches for some swimming with your spouse (we've heard the best beaches are unmarked).
Honeymoon musts: Drive to the top of Monte Mora (the highest point on the granite peaks along the coastline); go out to the popular nightclub Phi Beach Disco.
This lakeside island is one of the Borromean islands of Lake Maggiore in northern Italy, not far from Switzerland (although it still maintains a Mediterranean climate). Its majestic Baroque-style gardens are breathtaking and filled with rare blooms and hybrids, plus the history is downright enchanting. Count Carlo Borromeo, the governor of the region, inherited the island and named it after his wife Isabella. He then commissioned the now-famous garden to be built—it took a whopping 40 years to complete.
This resort town is located on the Italian Riviera, just across the bay from Portofino (it’s where Italians themselves go on holiday). The trompe l’oeil detailing on the architecture—like fake windows—is something to look out for. For some R&R, rent out one of the private beaches, called lidos, for the day.
Honeymoon musts: Take a traditional tram car ride to see the entire town from up above; indulge in a Naples-style pizza together at Mare Blu.
Be sure to read about exactly how Italian girls decorate, and tell us which Italian honeymoon spot you’d like to check out first in the comments.