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Honeymoon Itinerary Help! 15 Days for Rome, Amalfi Coast, Tuscany/Florence

Honeymoon Itinerary Help! 15 Days for Rome, Amalfi Coast, Tuscany/Florence

Old Sep 19th, 2019, 12:24 PM
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Honeymoon Itinerary Help! 15 Days for Rome, Amalfi Coast, Tuscany/Florence

Hello!

My fiancé and I will be traveling to Italy*for our honeymoon in the end of May/begining of June 2020! We are flying into Rome and out of Florence.*It will be 15 days total (13 days of fun - landing in Rome at 7:45 AM Day 1). We are in the very beginning stage of planning so I am asking for general planning assistance followed by a million other questions that are more detailed (restaurants etc). Any recommendations are welcome. We want to do Rome, Amalfi,*and Florence (with day trips/excursions as well).

I have been to Italy before (as a high school freshman, let's just say it has been a *few* years and I didn't plan any of it on my own) and he has never been. We were generously gifted $10,000 for the trip, some of which we used to buy our flights, and currently are working on budget for the rest of the $. We plan to spend our own $ on food (we plan to be eating well and often) and are thinking to spend the remainder of the gift on Airbnbs/hotels, trains, and tours/day trips (might use our own $ on tours as well depending on pricing we see). Should we plan to budget out more of our own $ or should it be doable to make the trip "honeymoon-y" without adding too much of our own?

We want a balance of activity but as it is our Honeymoon we definitely don't want to be run ragged by constant scheduling of events. We want leisure time to slow down, have wine, eat good food and enjoy people-watching in a beautiful country.*

Our general lodging plan is to have some more affordable options in Rome (with good location) but maybe a few nights to really splurge on a nice hotel in Florence and one in Capri or Positano. Any tips on a romantic place to stay that's worth the $ and then some more simple but still conveniently located and clean hotels/airbnbs that might be a good option for the less expensive options?

** Our biggest question is where would you recommend allocating more of our days? I always hear that people wish they spent more time in Florence with day trips to Tuscany.*In my head for the type of trip we are wanting to do, Florence/small Tuscan towns and Amalfi Coast seem like more of what we are looking for. I love Rome and want to spend time there so my fiancé can see a couple major sights and stroll the streets in his first time to Italy, but would prefer for a more Rome-focused trip in the future. !! CORRECT ME IF I AM WRONG ON THIS !!

* We are secondly looking for advice on neighborhoods (or towns, regarding Amalfi coast) to stay in?

Tips on train transport from Rome to Amalfi coast (assuming naples), and Amalfi Coast to Florence?

If we do decide to stay the night out in tuscany, do you recommend renting a car on the edge of Florence and driving ourselves or is it better to hire transportation (what other transport options are there)?

Any unusual day trips that we should consider? Looking into - pompeii, wine tasting at vineyard(s), San Gimignano, Capri (possibly overnight trip), Siena, - is Lucca worth it? Don't want to be on the road TOO much because we like to wander around new cities and take everything in, but definitely let me know your favorite day trips!*

What sites do we HAVE to get a tour guide for in order to amp up the experience? My guess is we definitely need small group or private tour for Ancient Rome and Vatican. Any others in those areas we are visiting? How about Pompeii if we decide to do a day trip - guide or no?

Is it recommended to do a day trip to Tuscany, or is it worthwhile to spend a night out there? When I went in high school we only did day trips, but I've heard good things about spending a night or two to see how the smaller towns unwind (or even larger city like Siena).

For Amalfi Coast, I know we HAVE to go to Positano (according to what I've read), but is there a better town to stay in? Amalfi? Should we do a day trip to Capri or is it worthwhile to stay a night or two? I heard Praiano is beautiful and more quaint, but seems like a place I would go to on my second stay in AC. We definitely want to do Path of the Gods.

Restaurants I've heard are great - if you've experienced any of these please let me know if you agree or if I should pass!
Rome:
Ristorante Aroma (overlooking colosseum - is this worth what I'm assuming is a large upcharge for the view???)
Pentagrappolo (non-traditional but someone I know said it's good?)
Caffe Gili
Rimessa Roscioli for wine pairing*
Da Gino al Parlamento (caccio e pepe)

Florence:
Terra Etruria (small farm to table restaurant)
Ristorante Buca Mario (We looooved this restaurant when we went in 2008 but wondering if it is still good)
Camillos (apparently Diane von Furstenberg highly recommends and therefore I can't tell if that should make me trust it more or less)
Ristorante Trattoria Angiolino
Vini e Vecchi Sapori
Acqua Al 2
Il Santino*(for wine and appetizers in the evening)
Panini Toscani
Atrium bar (at four seasons - walk around gardens at sunset?)
Rasputin (speakeasy - ask locals?)
All’ antico Vinaio*(lunch - great paninis)
l'antico noe (sandwiches)
caffe lietta (breakfast)
Acquacotta (lunch)
Gusta Pizza (off menu pesto pizza and I was told we should go there and get the heart-shaped pizza for our honeymoon lol) Is this actually a good pizza place?
Le Torri*(coffee shop - nice to sit outside but not cute on inside)
Ditta Artigianale*(coffee shop)
Nerbone (apparently if I want to try a tripe sandwich, this is the place to do it)
Pasticceria Sieni*(for pastries)
La Terazza Continentale*(rooftop bar - part of a hotel)
SECRET BAKERY (apparently I'm supposed to ask a kindly local about this)
4Leoni (dinner)
Sbrino Gelatificio Contadio (gelato)
Sesto on Arno (expensive and food not worthwhile so have a cocktail before dinner elsewhere?)

Amalfi:*
Lo Guarracino (Positano)
El Tridente at Hotel Poseidon (Positano)
Saraceno d’Oro (positano)
Il Fornillo (positano)
La Tagliata (Positano)
Antico Francischiello
Get dinner at Villa Magia Hotel*
Ristorante Panorama (I think Capri?)
Drinks at le Sirenuse (is this place overrated because of instagram or is it actually great?)

There's my brain dump of questions...

Thank you for your assistance!

*
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Old Sep 19th, 2019, 01:00 PM
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>>> landing in Rome at 7:45 AM Day 1
>>> We want to do Rome, Amalfi,*and Florence
>>> Our general lodging plan is to have some more affordable options in Rome (with good location) but maybe a few nights to really splurge on a nice hotel in Florence and one in Capri or Positano.

It is not clear from the way you stated it, but are you starting from Rome first? I recommend that you start from Amalfi Coast, then Rome, then Florence especially when your Rome arrival is so early in the morning. By the time you arrive AC on your landing day, your room in AC is more likely to be ready for check-in than when you headed straight into Rome on arrival.

>>> but would prefer for a more Rome-focused trip in the future. !! CORRECT ME IF I AM WRONG ON THIS !!
I am in a different camp from many other people. None of my numberous trips to Italy were Rome-focused. This did not mean I did not spend time in Rome. I have spent a lot of time in Rome. This was because I landed or departed from Rome on many of my Italian trips. Rome gets automatically included into my itinerary weather I needed or not. I concentrated on visiting elsewhere and included Rome visits as a two-for-one destination - adjusting to my flights as well as visiting sites, doing day trips, and dining as freebies.
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Old Sep 19th, 2019, 01:55 PM
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>>> landing in Rome at 7:45 AM Day 1
>>> We want to do Rome, Amalfi,*and Florence
>>> Our general lodging plan is to have some more affordable options in Rome (with good location) but maybe a few nights to really splurge on a nice hotel in Florence and one in Capri or Positano.

It is not clear from the way you stated it, but are you starting from Rome first? I recommend that you start from Amalfi Coast, then Rome, then Florence especially when your Rome arrival is so early in the morning. By the time you arrive AC on your landing day, your room in AC is more likely to be ready for check-in than when you headed straight into Rome on arrival.

In my excitement to type out a random thought chain I did NOT organize this well - I apologize. 15-Day Trip, Day 1 is Travel day - land in Rome on Day 2 at 7:45 AM, then depart from Florence on Day 15. 13 Days to play with in Italy.

We were thinking of starting in Rome because we fly in there, but I've heard of people immediately trekking down south, which is a great thought. Thanks!


>>> but would prefer for a more Rome-focused trip in the future. !! CORRECT ME IF I AM WRONG ON THIS !!
I am in a different camp from many other people. None of my numberous trips to Italy were Rome-focused. This did not mean I did not spend time in Rome. I have spent a lot of time in Rome. This was because I landed or departed from Rome on many of my Italian trips. Rome gets automatically included into my itinerary weather I needed or not. I concentrated on visiting elsewhere and included Rome visits as a two-for-one destination - adjusting to my flights as well as visiting sites, doing day trips, and dining as freebies.
Great, I was feeling guilty about not planning to stay there for very long.

Thank you for the feedback!!
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Old Sep 19th, 2019, 02:10 PM
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Just quick -- I'm dashing out. But . . . On arrival you will have already been on a loooooong travel day so you'll be jet lagged and you won't be able to do much sight seeing anyway. So I'd travel on to the farthest point/Amalfi. Get the trek out of the way. Have a good nights sleep and . . . wake up on the Amalfi Coast
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Old Sep 19th, 2019, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by janisj
Just quick -- I'm dashing out. But . . . On arrival you will have already been on a loooooong travel day so you'll be jet lagged and you won't be able to do much sight seeing anyway. So I'd travel on to the farthest point/Amalfi. Get the trek out of the way. Have a good nights sleep and . . . wake up on the Amalfi Coast
Totally agree with this. As a matter of fact, if you have not already bought tickets, try to fly into Naples.
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Old Sep 19th, 2019, 04:15 PM
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For a really romantic, gorgeous spot on the Amalfi Coast, consider a night or two in Ravello.

IMO, no guides are needed for any of the places you mention -- if you are willing to read up in advance. But if you WANT a guide, that's a different matter.
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Old Sep 21st, 2019, 06:43 AM
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I was born in Rome and always lived here so I believe I can provide some useful indications.
Romantic sites
Here you will find the map of those I believe to be the most romantic sites in Rome. I know Pentagrappolo, it's very nice to listen live music.
One restaurant i can personally recommend, it's a stone's throw for my place, is Roberto e Loretta that is located in Via Saturnia, San Giovanni area. BTW San Giovanni can be an excellent compromise when choosinig the place where to stay. It's near to the center, actually it is the core of the modern city (St. John Lateran is the cathedral church or Rome), very well connected and not expensive
Restaurants
Generally speakinig the best restaurants are out of the historical center, with few exceptions. Inside the Aurelian Walls a good area where to go is Testaccio, where most of the guest are Roman and not tourists. Otherwise select the restaurants that are just out of the Walls. They are for locals.
Here you will find a map with some of the recommnded ones. In the same website I have also reported some other indications for food & drink
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Old Sep 21st, 2019, 11:00 AM
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I just got back from my first trip to Italy doing a small group tour of the Amalfi coast and then 4 nights in Rome on my own. I flew into Naples but stayed in the Tramonti area in the mountains. Our group was split between two vans and we usually had the same two drivers. One was a licensed guide and provided a lot of narration. I liked both but ended up the last couple of days with Lorenzo. By then Lorenzo was getting to know us, loved to talk and we asked questions about what we were seeing and he told us some stories like how his wife's family would be harvesting olives in 10 days.
If I recall correctly my ticket from Naples to Rome was $39 plus a small charge to a travel agency. Since I managed to lose my ticket getting on the train I was glad my detail information was in the conductor's computer so there was no question that I had paid. Fortunately I also had the envelope on which the agent had written my reserved seat # and wagon # plus the name of the train. The track info is only posted a short time before the train leaves so you can expect a bit of a rush to get on. I chose a Rick Steves hotel "Hotel Aberdeen" which is a 3 star with a nice continental breakfast and only a short walk to a bus stop. It was about 600 meters from the Termini (train station) so the cab ride was about $5 (less than the hotel expected). The hotel had my driver waiting when I needed to go to the airport and I was told it was a flat rate of $48 (a long ride). If you like to cook, I greatly enjoyed an In Rome Cooking School class. There were only 3 of us in the class, a nice couple from CA and myself plus a fun chef. We met at the Campo de Fiori market for a quick tour and the chef could pick out veggies and then a quick stop at a tiny meat market for pork steak and sausages. Lunch was a huge multi course meal and included wine.
I happened on Locanda Giulietta e Romeo after finding the Original Murano Glass shop. I thought the food and service was very good. It was a short walk to the Trevi fountain where there was probably 100,000 tourists. A friend recommended ristorante Nerone which was an easy walk from the hotel. It was my last night and I had had enough pasta and fish so I chose their steak with mushrooms, roasted potatoes and a small side salad. For dessert the strawberries with marscapone were perfect. I was offered a complimentary limoncello which I enjoyed. The staff was very friendly. I went around 5:30 without a reservation but by the time I finished the small restaurant was filling up. I didn't want to be out late on my last night and many restaurants don't open until 7pm. The Testaccio market is fun to explore and a good place for a simple lunch.

On the Amalfi coast I liked the smaller towns best. Capri was beautiful but I was happy we only did a day trip. We also visited: Ravello with lunch in Pontone at Ristorante San Giovanni overlooking Ravello (one of my favorite lunches with a hostess that had the best smile, Osteria Reale Winery in Gete (small but great views), Amalfi (very crowded), Naples, Sorrento and Positano (fabulous restaurant on a cliff Mount Pertuso overlooking Positano), I like Maiori best because it was small, Minori restaurant offered only light lunch menu before 7 but had an incredible bakery Sal de Riso), most southern town was ruins at Paestum, water buffalo farm with great restaurant Caseficio Barlotti (ravioli with a lemon flavored ricotta and gold cherry tomato sauce was my favorite) (note: US Agriculture doesn't like people going on farms before returning to US). I did not list the smaller restaurants near Polvica which is in the mountains and where we stayed. Our lodging was very basic but good for our group and was the area where our trip leader had family.

When she arranged the trip she thought she was hiring taxi drivers. Lorenzo said he liked this job much better than his old one where is was not allowed to talk to customers and he's a talker. She also didn't know that the other driver was also a licensed guide so you might want to ask about this if you hire a car/driver. We enjoyed Lorenzo a lot and he was an excellent driver. I did not care for the silent driver I had on the long ride to the Rome airport. The other van driver was Peppe and he provided a lot of historical information. Since they basically picked us up and dropped us off for a day or half day, they also drove other people during the same 10 days. I just checked with a friend who visited the Amalfi area in August and asked if they rented a car. She said they did at first and then gave it up. I have no idea where our drivers parked sometimes. There were so many wonderful restaurants you didn't realize where there and which had very little parking area. I think at Mont Pertuso all you can see is a little porch and building up on the road but you walk down about 3 flights to the restaurant. Restrooms are another flight down where there is also terraced gardens growing tomatoes and other vegetables. Beautiful view of the water.

Since we were a small group our best meals were served family style and were sort of a tasting menu. We got too much food and multi courses. In Naples we ate off the menu at a lovely seaside restaurant in the old castle. This was a lighter kind of lunch (I chose deep fried seafood) with some people choosing desserts as well. We may have also shared an antipasto platter too. The heavy lunches explained why afternoon naps are popular. Sometimes we only had fresh fruit for supper after such heavy meals.
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Old Sep 21st, 2019, 01:00 PM
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I'm a little different from the posters above in that I might stay in Rome first, then go to the AC. I like to put the non-city part of my vacations in the middle and do hiking/swimming/relaxing. I'd probably allocate 5 nights Rome, 4 nights AC, 4 nights Florence. These are just my preferences, though, and I'm assuming you're flying into Rome and out of Florence. If you fly into Naples, then yes, you'd obviously begin with the AC.

On the AC I stayed in Ravello recently, and a gazillion years ago stayed nearby in Sorrento on a small group student trip that was arranged for me--at that time I didn't like the AC. I changed my mind when I took things into my own hands.

Lodging is expensive on the Amalfi Coast, so you might want to start looking now. Ravello and Positano have that honeymoon feel, but any of the towns would work. Amalfi is good for transportation and has some good restaurants. It is busy but if you get off the main drag and away from the water it can be really quite peaceful.

I loved staying in Ravello because it's so beautiful and the gardens are a delight, but frankly I thought the restaurants we tried were a bit on the mediocre side, and I had done lots of research. I liked Atrani quite a bit too. We did hikes from Ravello--there is great walking in this area if you are active people. And hikes are a good way to escape crowds, hear the birds, etc. Stayed at Hotel Parsifal, which is moderate for Ravello: Hotel Parsifal - Ravello Costiera Amalfitana

I traveled from Ravello to Florence, splitting off from my friends for a few days solo. We taxi'd Ravello-Salerno, where I picked up an Italo train to Florence SMN. It was easy.

Not sure if this constitutes a splurge for you, but on that trip I splurged those days in Florence and stayed at Palazzo Guicciardini, which was lovely and in the slightly less mobbed Oltarno. Great restaurants nearby.
https://www.xeniahc.com/it/hotel/palazzo-guicciardini

I have been to Rome many times, but most recently have stayed in somewhat pricey hotels, so don't have a good, recent budget recommendation.
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Old Sep 21st, 2019, 02:26 PM
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I loved the Parsifal!
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Old Sep 21st, 2019, 02:49 PM
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Look at apartments in Florence with a terrace. No ac in May though, some city rule and there aren't screens on the windows but the landlord plugged this bug zapper into the sockets and it worked. My niece and husband did airbnb on the Amalfi coast and really enjoyed it. You can save money and splurge on eating and buying some Ferragamo shoes. Bus to Sienna centre as the train doesn't take you there so you need a cab also. Very beautiful.
I love Florence but not a big Rome fan. Orvieto is nice as well as Montepulciano. So nice you are having a great honeymoon.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2019, 12:21 PM
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In Positano, you might consider having dinner at La Sponda at Le Sirenuse. I don't know if you can get a reservation for drinks at the hotel if you are not a guest but that is better for drinks than Franco's bar. Franco's has the same view as the bar and La Sponda but it is just off the street in Positano and we didn't like it as much as drinks on the hotel veranda or Champagne bar. For your honeymoon, La Sponda is worth it. The views from anywhere at Le Sirenuse are worth it - simply gorgeous.

La Tagliata is way up top in Montepertuso (above Positano). Terrific views from there, as well.

Agree with landing in Rome and heading to the AC from there - we did it a few years ago and still got to Positano by 11:30 - lunch outdoors with that amazing view and then our room was ready.

For restaurants in Rome and Florence,both Elizabeth Minchilli and Katie Parla are good resources for what's great now. I believe both also have apps that breakdown what's good by neighborhood.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2019, 01:44 PM
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That's good to know! We had a tour guide for the Louvre when we went to Paris last summer and I think I definitely got more out of it that way because it's so huge, but we planned that trip quickly. I have lots of time to read up before our Honeymoon! Thanks for your help.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2019, 01:56 PM
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Wow, thank you! I will take a look at all of your suggestions. I only have been on a completely historical family trip to Rome so I wasn't sure if it would be the best place to spend a lot of time on our Honeymoon. We love to eat and immerse ourselves with locals. I appreciate the note on San Giovanni.
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