3 week honeymoon in Italy - May or Sep

Old Dec 5th, 2022, 01:58 PM
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3 week honeymoon in Italy - May or Sep

Hello! My fiance and I are planning our elopement/honeymoon in Italy and are debating between going in Late May/Early June or Late September/Early October. We are hoping to avoid major crowds, but also want to hit the below places (and any other suggestions) at the right times. Any suggestions on the time of year we should go and the recommendations listed below?

Fly into Rome
2 nights in Rome
  • Recommendations for accommodations under $300/night near the Pantheon?
  • Must try restaurants?
Train to Amalfi
4 nights in Amalfi
  • elope on Path of the Gods
  • Recommendation for other hiking in the area
  • Boat ride to Capri
  • Recommendations for modest accommodation in Positano & Ravello? We are thinking of splurging at the Belmond Caruso for a night or two in Ravello (is it worth it?) and staying somewhere more modest the other nights.
Train to Florence
2 nights in Florence
  • Recommendations for airbnb/hotel under $200/night near the Duomo?
  • Recommendations for an authentic cooking class?
Pick up rental car
3 nights in Tuscany - thinking Montepulciano / Montalcino / Orvieto
  • Recommendations for an idyllic hotel in the countryside?
  • Recommendations for full-bodied red wineries?
2 nights in Lake Garda
  • Recommendations for hotel in Sirmione and Riva del Garda?
  • Good mountain bike trails? We are avid mountain bikers and are hoping to rent bikes and ride around the hills one day.
4 nights in Dolomites
  • Is Early June too early for hiking/biking in the Dolomites? What level of snow should we expect at higher elevations and will lifts be running to access higher trails?
  • Has anyone stayed at Linder Cycling Hotel in Selva di Val Gardena? We are hoping to bike some in the Dolomites and this place looks incredible! Any day trails we should hit?
  • Recommendations for towns to stay in?
  • Recommendations for day hikes? On our current list: Croda da Lago Circuit, Tre Cime Circuit, Lago di Sorapis.
Is it worth adding on a trip to Cinque Terre or Piedmont and spending less time elsewhere? I don't want to feel too rushed on our trip, but also to see as much as we can!

Drive to Florence
1 night in Florence
Fly out of Florence

achristinehuey is offline  
Old Dec 5th, 2022, 03:44 PM
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Only you can decide the balance between the desire to see as much as you can and wanting not to feel too rushed. IMO, this itinerary is rushed as it stands unless you've been to some of these places before. Two nights in Rome and two nights in Florence only gives you one, uninterrupted day in each city... two cities that are absolutely packed with things to do and see. Would jet lag impact your only day in Rome? Changing hotels at Lake Garda will eat up whatever time you don't spend mountain biking. Selva is a good location for the Dolomites in general but not for the 3 specific hikes you want to do. Unless you identify other activities closer to Selva, I'd pick another location to stay. I wouldn't change hotels because you already have a LOT of short stays.

You could eliminate some backtracking... Fly into Naples and out of Verona. Do one round-trip car rental out of Orvieto, Chiusi or Siena after Amalfi and before Florence. Do a second round-trip car rental out of Verona. Train from Naples to Orvieto, Chiusi or Siena, train to Florence and train from Florence to Verona. The only problem you would encounter is if your rent/return dates in Tuscany would be on Sunday when most rental offices are not open. Reverse the itinerary if you decide on September/October.

What does "elope on the Path of the Gods" mean? If you want an official, legally recognized wedding in Italy, there are several bureaucratic requirements you need to accomplish... which might or might not be possible before May. If it's raining, I wouldn't recommend walking the Path. There are hiking trails on Capri. Look at riding the funicular out of Anacapri to the top of Mt. Solaro and walking the trail back down.

Mundane: With so much moving around at a fairly rapid pace, figure out when/where you'll get some laundry done. In a trip of your length with so many physical activities on the agenda, that could be 2-3 times.
Jean is offline  
Old Dec 7th, 2022, 07:35 AM
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What does "elope on the Path of the Gods" mean?
​​​​​​​I was wondering the same thing. I'm not sure I even know what "elope" means any more.The way I understood it, the elopement officially began when you left home.
bvlenci is offline  
Old Dec 7th, 2022, 11:01 AM
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Do you love planes, trains, and automobiles? A third of your trip will be on them. You can't do much of anything on travel transfer days, arrival day, and departure day. Then, consider that you will have no slack time at any of your 6 destinations to compensate for rain, strikes, or other unplannable events.

A far better honeymoon would involve twice the duration in half the places. Choose three locations. That means only 2 transfers. One location should be at your arrival point, the third at your departure point. Since a lot of what you want to do is outside, May will have near maximum daylight, while September will have much earlier sunset.

Three possible start/end points suggest themselves. Milan for the lakes and Dolomites, Naples for Amalfi and environs, and, of course, Rome, which is only a short train hop to Florence. An interesting option might be to do a driving tour of several days between the North and Florence/Rome.

You will get many varying ideas here, so be prepared for reflection and perplection.
AJPeabody is offline  
Old Dec 7th, 2022, 11:29 PM
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Good things to think about. I think we will limit our destinations and hotel transfers and am leaning towards May/June to take advantage of the longer days.

High on our list is the coast, although it may make more sense to visit Portofino over Amalfi given our other destinations. Other towns / areas to consider on the northern coast?

When I mention eloping I mean that we are planning to hire a photographer and exchange wedding vows. We will take care of the legal marriage back in Colorado before our trip. It is not important for us to get legally married in Italy as there are a lot of bureaucratic hoops to jump through. And the exact location (our original thought on the path of the gods) is more about the feeling of a quiet moment alone together adventuring and less about that specific place.

We do feel strongly about road-tripping through Italy to have the flexibility to stop and take photos, impromptu side trips, etc. so will want that to be a part of the trip.

Alt Itinerary:
Fly into naples, car to Positano
Positano - 6 nights
Train to Florence
Florence - 6 nights
Pick up rental car, drive to Dolomites
1 night stay along the way
Ortisei - 6 nights
drive back to Florence, return rental car
Fly out of Florence

Alt 2 Itinerary:
Fly into Florence
Florence - 6 nights
Train to Portofino
Portofino - 6 nights
Train to Milan
Pick up rental car, drive to Dolomites
Ortisei - 6 nights
drive back to Milan, return rental car
Fly out of Milan
achristinehuey is offline  
Old Dec 8th, 2022, 12:25 PM
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I like that you've reduced the destinations, but your long drives to/from the Dolomites are not going to allow much time for flexibility on those days.

I assume you haven't driven in Italy before. You need to learn about ZTLs (zona traffico limitato).


Most here will recommend against driving immediately after landing on an overnight flight, esp. in a foreign country and esp. if you haven't driven in that country before. And I think everyone will tell you that you don't need or want a car in Positano. Traffic congestion and parking difficulties just about erase any flexibility and spontaneity, but there is another situation that argues against having a car. A traffic-reducing scheme was tested this year and may be extended to next year and perhaps become permanent. Cars were allowed on the coast road only on certain days based on license plate numbers... even numbered plates on even dates, odd numbers on odd dates.

Because of the ZTLs in Florence and Milan, IMO it's easier to rent cars at the airports. Some people do rent cars in Florence, but you need to get explicit driving instructions for leaving the city without violating the ZTL. I wouldn't consider driving in Milan. Overall, I'd rather take trains to/from big cities wherever possible and not drive long distances on boring autostrade.

I don't know if you've investigated the transfer from Portofino to Ortisei. The train to Milan (for me, to Malpensa) takes at least 4 hours with 2 changes. The drive Malpensa to Ortisei will take another 4 hours (no stops). Add the time to rent the car, and there's no time for flexibility that day.

Considering the logistics involved in including the Dolomites, perhaps think about leaving the area for another trip when you can also visit Venice. Without the Dolomites, you could explore Tuscany and perhaps a bit of Umbria at a comfortable pace. Or weigh your interest in the Dolomites against your desire to spend time in Positano/Portofino. IMO, Rome-Tuscany/Umbria-Portofino-Florence would be a fabulous honeymoon.
Jean is offline  
Old Dec 8th, 2022, 01:36 PM
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Logistics improved by doing three targets instead of six, of course. The next simplification could be to remove conceptual overlap. Both your stops at Portofino and the Dolomites are for scenery and hiking, although the areas are far from identical. You could fly into Naples, get a ride (private driver or various combinations of public transit) to Portofino, or Amalfi, or Sorento or another nice place, maybe include a boat tour around Capri or hike on the island. Maybe fly into Venice as a first goal. Leave from Florence, or Rome, etc.

Consider urban orienteering, walking across and within a city, where you see all sorts of manmade sights with a break for gelato or pizza or panini whenever you want. On our last trip to Rome, Mrs. P and I walked and wandered across Rome (well, from the Vatican to our hotel near the Via Veneto in a very indirect route). We made it into a gelato crawl with drop in art viewing. Your interests may differ. You may choose Florence or Venice but consider an in city wander.

Last edited by AJPeabody; Dec 8th, 2022 at 01:38 PM. Reason: more thoughts
AJPeabody is offline  
Old Dec 13th, 2022, 08:09 AM
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I like the revised options very much--better use of time!
Unless you just want to burn money, look a the towns adjacent to Portofino, Camogli and Santa Margarita Ligure--they are just as pretty but without the "luxury" tax.
I assume you mean a private driver to Positano--you would not want to drive there for valid reasons (traffic, expense, etc.).
yorkshire is offline  
Old Dec 13th, 2022, 08:17 AM
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Italian drivers are very good, their ability to drive cars in small streets that look clogged to inexeperienced eyes is amazing, long usage I guess. Throwing yourself into this is just not wise, even the autostrada (e) are more tightly curved than you may be used to, I got married in Italy and had four days of being driven around and one day of driving, guess which days I enjoyed?
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