Nearly one year after their beautiful Los Angeles wedding, my friends Grace and Victor recently went on an incredible honeymoon in Italy. I absolutely love everything about their trip! Hope you like Italian food because they have tons of great restaurant recommendations below.
When and where did you honeymoon?
Italy in April/May 2015. We started in Venice and worked our way down to Southern Italy. From Venice, we took a train to Bologna and from there, we rented a car! Victor drove us to Portofino, Florence, Tuscany (Montalcino), the Amalfi Coast (Ravello, Positano, and Capri), and Rome. He did great, especially driving through the windy roads in Portofino and Ravello.
How long was your trip?
How did you decide on your honeymoon destination(s)?
Italy is known as one of the most romantic places in the world and we had never been! Plus, Italy offers picturesque villages, rich history and art, and amazing food and wine. Victor and I picked cities to satisfy both of our needs. I enjoy exploring cities while Victor appreciates a slow paced way of life to relax. Florence and Rome allowed me to marvel at inspiring art and architecture, while Tuscany allowed Victor to relax on the countryside after visiting bustling cities.
The best part about our honeymoon was…
Portofino and Hotel Splendido are almost synonymous. Portofino is a pretty fishing village with pastel shaded villas on the coast of Liguria. The hotel is perched on a hillside overlooking the harbor below. From the moment we entered the reception area, we knew we were in for a treat. The views are incredible and you are surrounded by lush greens, hydrangeas, and pots of lemon trees. From the reception area, you walk past the Piano Bar and onto La Terrazza, where I had my favorite meal, Spaghetti alla Elizabeth Taylor, made with fresh tomatoes.
We also enjoyed breakfast each morning on the Terrace, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. We spent a lot of time on our balcony, enjoying mystic views of the Portofino bay beneath and dancing to distant music from the piano bar. We also took a day trip to Cinque Terre, which was unforgettable. We both hope to return to Portofino one day.
If I knew then what I know now, I’d change…
We both wish that we could have added a day to each city we visited, especially Portofino.
How much planning did you do in advance?
We bought museum tickets and made restaurant reservations in advance, which saved us a lot of time. Many restaurants require a reservation as they get jammed during tourist season. We also left room in the itinerary for downtime as it’s essential to rest between epic meals!
What was your biggest honeymoon splurge?
In Portofino, we splurged on a private boat to take us along the Italian Riviera to Cinque Terre (Five Lands), which is comprised of five small fishing villages – Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. Many tourists enjoy hiking between the villages, however, we relaxed by soaking up the sun and docking at Vernazza for lunch, where we had one of the best meals of our trip at Il Baretto.
In Florence, we upgraded to the Michelangelo suite at Villa San Michele. There are rumors that Napoleon stayed at the abandoned monastery in the Michelangelo suite, which used to be the monastery library and stretches the whole length of the façade of the hotel. Below is a picture of Victor enjoying the view over Florence and the Chianti hills from our room.
Where do you want to go on your next big trip?
We want to visit Taiwan, where Grace’s family is from!
Some additional foodie tips from Grace are below.
Favorite meals in Italy:
Osteria Al Squero – Have local tapas called cicchetti and a spritz.
Il Ridotto – Amazing dining experience.
Cesari – Must get the Bufala alla Caprese and tagliatelle al ragù!
Zerocinquantino – Get the crescentine with cold cuts and stracchino. Great sparkling red wine!
I tried so many Gelataterias. Gelateria dei Neri is hands down the best.
La Sponda in the Hotel Sirenuse has amazing views of Positano.
Roscioli – An Italian delicatessen and restaurant. Get the L’amatriciana with pig cheeks!
Santopadre – The family does not speak English. Ask what the specials are and enjoy a truly authentic Roman meal.
We also did a cooking class with this Italian Chef, Eleanora (right outside of Florence) and she was amazing! It’s an AirBNB called B&B and Italian Cookery School. I heard she books up really fast now.