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Honeymoon Rome/Amalfi OR Florence/Cinque Terre???

Honeymoon Rome/Amalfi OR Florence/Cinque Terre???

Oct 26th, 2006, 06:17 AM
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Honeymoon Rome/Amalfi OR Florence/Cinque Terre???

My fiance and I are having the hardest time deciding where to go for our honeymoon. This is our first time to Italy, and I was an art history minor in college, and he is a huge history buff (concentration in WWII and European history). Strangely enough, from what we have read and seen on TV so far, HE is more interested in Florence, while I am more interested in Rome! (of course we both want to do it all, but we have to choose! We only have 10 days.) We also definitely agree that we both would like several days of our honeymoon to be relaxing on the coast, after the stress of the wedding.

While I really want to see Florence, I am more drawn to Rome, and it may sound silly, but I want so desperately to see two Carravagio paintings that are in the Vatican, that I want to go there there the most, just for that, more than the whole city of Florence put together.

His concerns about Rome are that the city is too "big and dirty" (a very "helpful" friend put that thought in his head). He is NOT a fan of New York (we live in rural VT), and someone compared Rome to NY City to him, which didn't help.

The Cinque Terre does NOT seem very romantic to me, and we also aren't that interested in doing a lot of hiking on our honeymoon. But that would be a closer trip if we go to Florence. From what I have seen, though, the Amalfi Coast looks gorgeous and romantic, and seems to have more beaches than 5 Terre although it's a lot more EXPENSIVE.

I know this post is sort of all over the place, but we go back and forth pretty much every day on this --- help!!
Oct 26th, 2006, 06:57 AM
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I forgot to mention the date....we are travelling the last few days in May, first week in June, 2007.
Oct 26th, 2006, 07:02 AM
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Well, we went to Rome and Positano on our honeymoon and it was just about perfect.

I find Florence a little cold and reserved, frankly. While Rome is chaotic it is by no means built on the scale of New York. The historic center you would visit is pretty compact. There are plenty of spots to escape, well, let's say bustle rather than chaos -- from the Palatine or the Janiculum the view can seem serene.

I think of Florence as a three-day city. Rome rewards a longer stay. And I find it far livelier.
Oct 26th, 2006, 07:04 AM
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Cinque Terre is one of my favorite places in all of Europe, not just one of my favorite places in Italy. I thought it was a very romantic place - very quaint, beautiful landscapes, nooks and cranies to explore, etc. I was also there on a recommendation of an Italian friend before it was "discovered" so I'm not sure what it's like today. I'd love to go back though.

Rome is a big city. It is bustling and I can see the comparision to New York or any big city, really. But, there is a lot of history there that I found facisnating and stepping into it swept you away from the big city feeling. I loved seeing the old Rome amongst the new Rome. We don't have that in the states - we're too young. So, that is why Rome is NOT like New York.

In all honesty, I was not impressed with Florence. I didn't find the sites very compelling (though David was beautiful), didn't eat in a restaurant that I had a great experience at, etc.

That's my two cents
Audie79 is offline  
Oct 26th, 2006, 07:38 AM
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Well, Rome and Florence are quite different. As described Rome is huge whereas Florence is tiny in comparison. However, both cities have their own charm. I think one can be unlucky to eat bad meals anywhere. We found nice restaurants in Florence that served good, inexpensive food.
francophile03 is offline  
Oct 26th, 2006, 07:56 AM
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Thanks so much for all the input so far!!! Pausanias, you said you stayed in Positano....would you recommend this over Sorrento? A travel agent told us Sorrento would be the easiest to stay in, if we wanted to explore the other towns, and possibly Pompeii, as well.
Oct 26th, 2006, 08:03 AM
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Honeymooned last month in Positano and Rome. Here is my trip report:


I did not stay in Sorrento and while it seems like a great transportation hub the town of Positano is "THE" place to be on a honeymoon.

Sorrento has easy access to Capri, Pompeii and Naples.

Positano has easy access to Capri, Sorrento, and Amalfi/Ravello.

We did 7 days Positano and 3 days Rome.
We did Positano first because after the wedding we just wanted to relax and in Positano you eat, drink, lay at the beach, stroll around, drink some more and eat again...it is perfect.

I would say that if I did it over I would have planned it more like 5-5 rather than 7-3 because we did feel rushed in Rome.
saps is offline  
Oct 26th, 2006, 08:11 AM
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Hi L,

>We also definitely agree that we both would like several days of our honeymoon to be relaxing on the coast, after the stress of the wedding. <

It is quite possible, even easy, to relax anywhere in Italy, including Rome.

With only 10 days in Italy for a honeymoon, I suggest 4 days in Venice, 3 days in Florence and 3 in Rome, in that order. Fly into V and out of R.

If that is too much moving around, split the time between Venice and Florence.

What's your hotel budget?

ira is offline  
Oct 26th, 2006, 08:26 AM
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Well, as SAPS said, it's easier to get to Pompeii and Naples from Sorrento than from Positano. We did it by bus and Circumvesuviana. You can also hire a driver or take a bus tour. Access to Capri and Amalfi is simple by ferry. You can also get to Amalfi by bus. I am not a fan of Sorrento, but some here love it.

My suggestion would be four or five days relaxing in Positano, then spending the balance in Rome.
Oct 26th, 2006, 08:37 AM
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Here is my suggested compromise:

Fly to Pisa/Firenze. Let your new husband enjoy 4 or 5 days there. Then take a train to either Lerici or Portovenere (or Tellaro) for your 4-day beach stay. From those lovely, lovely towns, you can take a boat to the Cinque Terre if you feel like it.

Spend your last 2 nights in Rome, long enough for you to see the Caravaggios and for your husband to either be surprised or feel confirmed in his judgment. I suggest you find a place to stay in Trastevere. In addition to the Caravaggios, try to see the Pantheon, but leave it at that. I suspect your husband will want to return for your first anniversary.

nessundorma is offline  
Oct 26th, 2006, 09:21 AM
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ira, while I really do appreciate that so many people feel that Venice is a necessity on a honeymoon, neither of us are really "taken" by it. Our budget is probably about 4K, after flights. That is meant to include everything (except shopping) though, not just hotels.

saps - I did read your trip posting, which was one of the reasons that I am having a hard time letting go of AMalfi Coast - you are a FABULOUS writer - I made my FH read it too and he was finally interested in at least considering Amalfi Coast (mostly he thinks we'll get more "bang for our buck" in 5 Terre).

nessumdora - WOW - those photos are spectacular! Maybe it WOULD be possible to make a compromise.......PS - I also am dying to see the Trevi Fountain, and the Pantheon.....

Oct 26th, 2006, 09:33 AM
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I agree wholeheatedly with the poster who said that Rome is basically quite small. If you stay in the historical center, bounded by or just outside the triangle formed by the Pantheon, the Campo de Fiori and Piazza Navona, almost everything will be within walking distance in an area that is full of cafes and restaurants, with many people in the streets until late into the evening.

Some of the most famous Caravaggios, incidentally, are in the churches of San Luigi dei Francesi and Santa Maria del Popolo. There are one or two in the Galleria Borghese as well.

I also agree with a poster who said, more or less, that Florence is small and provincial. Yes, it has the greatest collection of Renaissance art and architecture in the world, but it is not, to my mind, a very exciting place. Yes, there are many thousands of American college students there, and I assume they have their hangouts, but I'm not sure you would want to hang out with them.

If your funds permit, I would suggest the Amalfi Coast rather than the Cinque Terre, which attract large numbers of tourists, many of them of the backpacker variety. I would also prefer Amalfi or Positano to Sorrento, which has more British and Irish pubs than I like to see in an Italian town.

Incidentally, you should have excellent weather at the end of May/beginning of June. The tourist onslaught will have started, but it will not yet have reached monstrous proportions.

As for the choice between Cinque Terre and area and the Amalfi Coast,
Eloise is offline  
Oct 26th, 2006, 09:45 AM
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Given your budget for 10 days (is one of those days a travel day?), I would look into airfares flying in and out of different cities ans see which combo may have the best price. Flights that time of the year can run close to $1,000pp, which leaves you $2000 for hotel and food for 10 days. You should check both open jaw and roundtrip combo.

In 10 days you can visit ROme, FLorence and Amalfi. If you do 2 cities, I would recommed AMalfi and either ROme of FLorence.
MFNYC is offline  
Oct 26th, 2006, 09:48 AM
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Sorry, I misread your post, I see it say 4K after flights. Then you shoudl be fine budget-wise.
MFNYC is offline  
Oct 26th, 2006, 10:06 AM
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IMHO an extended stay in Florence is warranted only if you're going to be hot and heavy into the galleries or want to use it as a base for visiting some regions of Tuscany but that would require a car/bus/private guide (there are some excellent guides). On a honeymoon, I'd advise against driving in Florence. Lots of stress.

Rome. A dear friend of mine just returned from there and said the exact same thing your husband did. I was very surprised to hear her say that. She's travelled around the world and then some. I've been to Rome 3 times and that's not how I'd characterize it but to each their own. I love that city for its history, architecture, and food. It's A list of things to do would easily fill 3 days. My wife, who hates crowds, loved it altho we were there off season (for obvious reasons). Rome does have a small feel to it when you stay in the midst of it. My friend stayed outside the city so perhaps that colored her perception.

AC. Never been but it's high on the list. That place sounds like pretty much pure R&R with amazing scenery.

Sounds like you guys have some different interests which is normal but makes planning where to go and for how long quite challenging. Good luck and congrats on the upcoming marriage.
dcd is offline  
Oct 26th, 2006, 10:38 AM
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Glad you liked the pics!

As you are no doubt beginning to discover, there are Venice boosters and Amalfi boosters and Firenze naysayers and extravagant spenders on the boards. Good for you for refusing to get sucked into the Venice thing.

The Amalfi Coast is overrun with tourists and therefore has very little authentic Italian life. And there is very little to do. It is also very expensive and difficult to get to, which is great if you want to be away from it all, but frustrating and a waste of time if you are very curious about Italian art and culture.

I'm not pushing Cinque Terre, because it too is overrun with tourists and it is also not a good base for doing much else for hiking.

What I will suggest is that you endeavor to make sure each of you gets at least some of what you want as individuals out of this trip, so you don't walk away regretting you didn't see Firenze or the Caravaggios.

I also suggest that you not break your budget right off the bat with expensive locations. You don't want to be in Italy counting your pennies every time you see a museum you want to enter or want to take a cab because your feet ache.

For what it's worth, Firenze strikes millions of people as a wonderful, youthful place, rich in history and culture. Some people don't like it. You can't know 'til you get there.

How about 1 day to get over your jet lag, then some arrangement of 3 days Rome, 3 days Firenze and 3 days "coast"?

This time I am going to suggest for the coast the island of Ponza, which is not only near Roma, but quite near to Anzio beach, which is one of the most famous WWII sites in Italy. Try that itinerary on your husband. Here's some photos of


And here's a description of Ponza:

"Ponza is seen by many of its visitors as a less-spoilt - and cheaper - version of Capri, and is frequented by the rich and famous who like to keep a lower profile on holiday, as well as by hordes of young Romans who visit for the weekend in summer. The island's main settlements are Ponza Porto, around the harbour, and Le Forna, to the north.

"Reachable in a few hours from Rome, the island boasts clean and limpid waters. Holidaymakers swim from beaches, from rocks, and from boats (available for organised trips or to hire at the port). There are some excellent restaurants on Ponza, as well as a few options for late-night drinking and dancing.

"There aren't many tourist sights or monuments on Ponza: the island's main appeal is its landscape, shoreline and atmosphere. Boat trips enable visitors to explore the other Pontine Islands, including the nature reserve of Zannone. Along the shore you can see the Grotte di Pilato, three caves where the Romans dug fishpools to raise their seafood supper. Underwater there are wrecks to discover, while ashore there are mule-tracks to wander, and ruins to visit, including the remains of a Roman port at Santa Maria, and a Roman necropolis."

And info on Anzio:


nessundorma is offline  
Oct 26th, 2006, 10:44 AM
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Here's a pretty picture of the harbor in Ponza taken by a girl in Roma (scroll down):

nessundorma is offline  
Oct 26th, 2006, 10:49 AM
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Hi loverofbeauty,

Lots of opinions and recommendations! After 3 trips over 9 weeks, I love all of Italy!

Just pass this on to your fiance. Before my first trip, I had also heard that Rome was just a big, crowded, dirty, graffiti-covered city. So, we only planned 1 1/2 days there before flying back.

I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED Roma and was blown away by everything about it! Finally on my 3rd trip I got to spend almost 6 days there. I loved it and can't wait to go back and see/do more. I could easily live there for a couple of years.

Go with an open mind. Italy will surprise you in every way. Same with Venice - you both just may love it.

Buon viaggio!
Dayle is offline  
Oct 26th, 2006, 10:55 AM
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Here's a link to a fairly recent article that appeared in "Travel + Leisure" about "Italy's Undiscovered Islands", including Ponza.

My fear with Ponza would be that there would be almost no one there at the end of May/beginning of June, since Italians tend to go to the sea from about mid-July to the end of August.
Eloise is offline  

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