Regular readers may remember that a while ago Esme emailed me with a question about where to go on honeymoon to enjoy great food and wine for under £4000. I’m delighted to have Esme back on the site today, sharing the honeymoon that she and Tom eventually decided on – I think you’ll agree that they made a fabulous choice. Esme has beautifully captured their trip and gives a fantastic sense of just how magical it is to honeymoon in Italy – so much so that if you’re not contemplating visiting the country already, you will be by the end of it.
My now husband, Tom, and I decided quite a long time before our August wedding that we would be honeymooning a good few weeks after the day. We needed the time to save up our spending money, we’re not great with heat so we wanted to wait until the temperatures had dropped a bit and we also wanted to be away during school term-time to get the best value for money (and, to be honest, so as not to be surrounded by children!). Our criteria for our honeymoon were to be able to enjoy great food and wine and be by some water and after asking Emma for some suggestions, we realised that Italy was the best place for us.
So, six weeks after our wedding we were on our way to the island of Capri. Our hotel, Casa Mariantonia, was just off the main road through Anacapri and I would class it as relaxed luxury. The staff were wonderful, always able to suggest the perfect restaurant and willing to help with any question we had. Our room was simple but incredibly comfortable with a lovely terrace and good-sized bathroom. We were there for four nights, spending our days either lying by the pool reading or wandering around Anacapri and it’s fair to say we fell head-over-heels in love with the town. We did get the (very reasonable and frequent) bus into Capri town one day and although it was busy, we thought it was really beautiful. The restaurants in Anacapri were better value and slightly more relaxed than those in Capri and if (when!) we go back we would definitely stay in Anacapri again.
The highlight of this part of the honeymoon was having the pool almost to ourselves and devouring book after book, and watching the sunset from the south west point of the island followed by an incredible meal with local wine at Da Gelsomina restaurant. So romantic.
On the fifth day we sadly said goodbye to Capri and took the ferry to Positano on the Amalfi coast. Approaching this town from the sea really gives you the full impact of its beauty – the houses are built up above and around the port and are painted pastel shades that are really striking against the sea, sky and mountains. We stayed for a week in a self-catering apartment in Positano, cooking for ourselves everyday (partly because we enjoy cooking and the Italian ingredients are wonderful but partly because we couldn’t afford the restaurants’ prices), sitting on our balcony enjoying the views and exploring the Amalfi coast, which is just stunning. Ravello, a picturesque town above the cloud line is particularly spectacular and well worth a visit and we travelled to Pompeii one day, which we both really loved. We would like to return to Sorrento, as you can get to lots of places more easily from there and it’s a lovely town. Another tip for holidaying in this part of Italy is that you really don’t need to hire a car as the buses are good and the roads are single lane and very windy so you can’t get around very quickly anyway!
After the low-key week self-catering, we were really excited about getting to Rome. We had pre-booked a train ticket through Trenitalia online before we left the UK from Naples to Rome to save time and money and that left us with just enough time to walk to get a traditional Naples pizza (the best we’ve ever had and only €1!) and see the Duomo.
Our three nights in Rome were the most luxurious nights on any holiday we’ve ever had. Our hotel, the Mr and Mrs Smith Babuino 181 was fantastic: the location is perfect for a romantic city-break (on the most fashionable street in Rome and minutes away from The Borghese Gardens and the Spanish Steps), the rooms are beautifully designed, are large and full of lovely details like a huge walk-in wardrobe, a bath big enough for two, Nespresso coffee machine and the biggest and most comfortable bed we’ve ever slept in. I would love to be able to afford to stay in a suite next time we return to Rome because I think it would completely be worth it.
Tom and I had been to Rome many years previously on a school trip (yes we’ve been together that long!) when we had done all of the sights, so we decided that we wouldn’t spend time and money revisiting the Vatican, Colosseum or Pantheon (although they are truly incredible and must see) and instead wandered around areas like Centro Storico and Trastevere and went to other less well-known sights such as San Clemente church (hands down the most atmospheric place we’ve ever been) and the Modern Art museum.
One of the thing we wanted to do was have a great cocktail and we were so pleased that we took the advice of the hotel receptionist one night and went for a drink at the nearby 5 star Hotel De Russie. We sat outside, people watched and enjoyed the delicious nibbles that came with our cocktails. All we needed afterwards was a slice of pizza eaten on the Spanish Steps – a perfect Roman experience. As for food, we ended up eating twice at the excellent Gusto – there’s a wine bar with an antipasti buffet, an osteria, a pizzeria and a restaurant (and a really good cookshop where we got some original souvenirs). The pasta was perfect, the wine excellent value and on our last night we were lucky enough to still be in the restaurant when a brilliant jazz/funk band started playing. It was definitely one the best nights out we’ve ever had.
All in all we had the best holiday ever and the perfect honeymoon for us. We would go back to Capri and Rome in a flash and would recommend the route we took wholeheartedly.
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