{A Honeymoon in Italy} Gelato and Pesto, Here We Come

{Photos courtesy Hotel Artemide}

Our honeymoon has officially been booked and we couldn’t be more excited. We’ll be departing the day after our wedding to head to Rome, an eight and a half hour journey from Philadelphia. For the first leg of our trip, we’ll be staying at Hotel Artemide in Rome for two nights (the photo above is an example of the room we’ll be staying in). We’re total TripAdvisor stalkers, so the 4 1/2 star rating (out of 1,822 reviews) definitely made it a stand-out hotel with a convenient location.

For those of you who have been to Rome before, what lesser known sites should we scout out? I’ll admit, I’m looking forward to a tourist-y night walk to the Trevi Fountain and Colosseum (preferably while eating loads of gelato).

{Photos courtesy Grand Tour in Florence}

After we explore Rome for a couple of days, we’ll take the train an hour and a half to the Grand Tour in Florence, a five-star B&B I’ve been smitten with for years. The original structure was an 18th century garden theatre, which the owners brought back to light during its restoration and converted into nine suites. All of the doors open onto a courtyard garden with a fountain, which sounds all sorts of dreamy. I fully expect for there to be cartoon birds hanging our clean laundry on a clothesline when we wake up in the morning, that’s how good it sounds.

The Actor Suite, which we’re staying in (above), has a large bathroom with a private sauna…yes please. The shower has handmade majolicas (decorative earthenware tiles), that are so, so lovely. I love the old marble sink that is featured in the bedroom, along with the headboard that has some really pretty details.

{Photos courtesy Rificolona-Paper Lantern Festival}

Florence is a great central location for day trips, so we’ll be spending 4 nights in Florence, with excursions to Venice (Peggy Guggenheim Collection!) and Siena. I’m really excited about the Rificolona-Paper Lantern Festival, an evening parade through the Piazza Santissima Annunziata, with children carrying paper lanterns lit with candles, while the older kids try to set the lanterns ablaze with pea shooters. It’s all in good family fun since it is tied around tradition, plus there’s live music and carnival food, so it shouldn’t be too crazy. Supposedly most of the lanterns end up burning by the end of the night, so it should be interesting to see.

{Photos courtesy La Poesia}

After exhausting ourselves in and around Florence, we’ll be heading to Cinque Terre. I’ve been wanting to go to Cinque Terre forever, but then this happened last year, and it made my heart sink. Alas, the cliffside villages are rebuilding and need the tourists now more than ever, so we will be spending four nights in Monterosso Al Mare, one of two villages extensively damaged in last fall’s flood. Pete really wanted to stay near the beach, so that’s how we landed on Monterosso, however we’ll also be hiking and traveling to the other villages—Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.

We’re staying at La Poesia, a charming B&B not far from the train station, with homemade breakfasts served on the outdoor terrace, complete with lemon trees and a breathtaking view of the beach.

{Photos courtesy here, here, and here}

I’m most excited about hiking around Cinque Terre, with a day trip to the port town of Portofino and loads of relaxing. Pete seems to think he can convince me to jump off of a 30-40 foot cliff into the Mediterranean Sea, but I have a feeling I’ll have to jump from the little kiddie spot that is only a few feet above the water.

Have you guys ever been to Italy? What spots should we be sure to add to our agenda (restaurants, museums, anything)?

9 thoughts on “{A Honeymoon in Italy} Gelato and Pesto, Here We Come”

  1. Sooooo excited for you! Eat mussels in Italy, they are sooo good. I did not like the Italian pizza though, too greasy. Veggies, fruit and fish are amazing there though. Yay!


  2. Ahhh, I LOVE Italy! Such a beautiful, incredible place. We got a tip from a girl who lived in Rome for study abroad on THE BEST gelato in the city. Go to the Pantheon, and stand with your back at the Pantheon. Ahead of you will be 2 alleys. Take the alley on the left. About 1/2 way down the block, there will be a small gelato shop. I don’t remember the name of it, but it was incredible.

    In Florence, eat at Pizzeria da Pepe. It’s just off the Viale dei Mille (west of downtown). Get the ravioli alle nochi (ravioli with walnuts). Hands down, best meal I’ve ever had.


  3. I really recommend going on the double decker tour bus around the city on your first day in Rome. It starts at the train station and takes you to the majority of the big sites in Rome. It will help you get acclimated to the city and it is a hop-on-hop-off, so you can stop and see anything you like.


  4. I’ve been to Rome three times. I’d highly advise trekking up to the Villa Borghese. The museum is breathtaking, just the right size and the park surrounding it is lovely. You do have to make advace reservations (before you get to Italy) but it is fairly simple (your hotel should be able to help you with it). I’d recommend the audio guide there. It is excellent and a huge help. I’d hire a guide or rent an audio guide for the Roman Forum otherwise it is kinda just staring at some piles of rocks.

    You can very easily walk from the Spanish Steps to the Trevi to the Pantheon and it gives you a nice sense of Rome. Neat dinner place near the Trevi in an old church: Sacro e Profano Via dei Maroniti, 29, Rome, Italy. Antipasta and house wine are great. We didn’t get pizza but I’ve heard mixed things about it.

    For a slightly off the beaten path place to visit, the National Etruscan Museum at Villa Giulia. The grounds are beautiful and there’s some fascinating stuff in there. It is a bit of a hike from the metro stop (I think we went the wrong way). The stop is at the Piazza del Popolo, which is neat in itself, and there is also a church (Santa Maria del Popolo) to the left when you’re facing the piazza with works by Carvaggio, Raphael, Pinturrichio, Bernini. You get a lot of bang for your buck in a small church.

    The obvious places to hit are the Colosseum, Vatican museum (****), Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s. Tip when you are in the Sistine chapel facing the back there is a door on the right hand side that says it is for tour guides. It is OK to go out this door, follow it out and it gives you a back way to St. Peter’s. (Rick Steve’s tip.) I just got back in November from a trip that took me to Rome, Tuscany (Siena, Florence, Montepulciano, Montalcino), Bologna, Venice and back to Rome. We were supposed to go to Cinque Terre but it was right after the flood/landslide. I heard great things about Trattoria Dal Billy in Manarola.

    Siena: you must visit the Duomo it is amazing and make sure you check out the little library room to the left when facing the altar. It has amazing illuminated manuscripts and murals. Great eats: Osteria Nonna Gina, Siena (order the pici pasta). Gina’s was closed the day we tried to go but the owners of the villa we were staying in a outside Siena and natives we met all recommended it. La Taverna di San Giuseppe Siena – one of the best meals we had the entire trip. Also top notch: Antica Osteria da Divo – right by the duomo. For gelato, I love grom although it is a chain.

    Venice – Guggenheim is not to be missed. We really enjoyed it. We actually stayed right by the museum at Pensione La Calcina if you are looking for a place to stay. I’d recommend just riding the vaparetto up and down the grand canal for an experience quite similar to a gondola ride that is much cheaper. We did a progressive pub crawl one evening, which was SO much fun. We went to several Rick Steve’s recommended places around the Rialto Bridge that were filled with Italians sampling 1-2 euro glasses of house wine and picking out cichetti’s to snack on (little meatballs, crostinis, etc.). A great place for pizza with awesome ambiance near the market is Antica Berraria la Corte. In terms of sights: don’t miss St. Mark’s Square, inside the cathedral. The Correr museum and Doge’s palace were pretty awesome as well. We spent a long time trying to get to the Jewish ghetto after dark and there wasn’t much to see once we found it.

    I’ve got a ton more tips if you’d like to e-mail me since this is getting ridiculous in terms of length. Gosh this made me want to go back. You’ll have such an amazing time!


    1. OH NO SHE WON’T!!!!!!!!! Don’t make me worry the entire time you’re gone. Your trip sounds wonderful and looks so beautiful. We’ll be so anxious to hear all about it and see the photos. Makes me wish we were getting remarried. ❤


  5. Hi, Shannon! Okay, this will sound realllyyyy weird, but I’ve been following you and Avocado since Weddingbee (long time lurker, almost never commented). Occasionally I’d check up on your personal blog and hers.

    Had to comment because Avocado (www.thatwifeblog.com) recently did a series she interspersed with other entries on her trip to Italy! It’s very detailed and included reviews on off-the-wall eateries she went to eat with her husband (and what they ordered, good/bad/prices) as well as places to sight-see. It’s practically a DIY Lonely Planet, condensed (but detailed) version with great pictures haha…

    A very belated congrats on your impending nuptials to Pete! 😀 (do people still use the phrase “impending nuptials”? :P)


  6. A honeymoon in Italy is the dreamiest thing ever! It’s such a beautiful place filled with great people.

    Walk across the Ponte Vecchio while you’re in Florence. This bridge is so beautiful it was the only bridge that the Germans didn’t destroy during World War II. If you walk across it during the day, look for the 1 euro gelato shop 😉 If you take a romantic nightly stroll (which I highly recommend), take pictures and snuggle while taking in the breathtaking views.

    Climb to the top of the Duomo in the city center. It’s the highest point in the city. I believe it costs 6 euros per person to climb. When you get to the top, scratch your initials into the beams like everyone else. Look for Carol and Karen 🙂 Me and my mom made the climb a few years back. Hehe.

    Eat steak at Aqua Al 2 and go dancing!

    If you’re in the mood, take a bus to the shopping outlet outside of the city. Its a short ride and there’s discount Gucci.

    I think people covered the most important parts of Rome.



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