Few places in the world evoke romance more than Italy. It might be the landscapes – snowy mountaintops reflecting on crystalline lakes, rugged seascapes curling into hilltop towns, and statuesque villas standing proud on tiny islands – but it could also be the fine wine, the warm people, and the incredible cuisine.
Whatever it is, Italy is undoubtedly a perfect place to be in love – to celebrate your wedding or live out your dream honeymoon. Here are five destinations we think you should consider, from the of-course! obvious to the bet-you-haven’t-considered-this:
1. Lake Orta
We can’t think of many spots more beautiful than this little lake, where magical mists and shifting light make for perfect just-married photo ops. What’s more, if you’re looking for an Italian wedding or honeymoon off the beaten path – an isolated little nook where you’ll enjoy plenty of alone time – you’ll love the seclusion at Lake Orta. There’s a reason the Milanese have dubbed it La Cenerentola (“Cinderella”): it’s the quiet, unassuming and oft-overlooked, but worthy sibling to Italian greats like Lake Como and Maggiore.
Where to Stay: We recommend the lovely Villa Crespi, with its celebrity chef who’ll make a memorable occasion of your wedding or honeymoon (or both – now there’s an idea!).
2. Lake Como
If lakeside wonder is your style, but you prefer a bit more glitz and glamour than Orta offers, look no further than the beautiful Lake Como. Famous for a reason – startling scenery and stunning villas to match – this Italian gem is a landscape of snow-capped mountains, meandering shoreline, wooded slopes and quiet islets.
Where to Stay: When visiting Lake Como, live large at one of the lake’s spectacular villas, where you can prepare a fairy tale event or a storybook escape.
One of the most famous destinations in Italy, Capri is an impossibly romantic island of beguiling scenery, postcard-perfect seascapes, luxurious accommodation, magical grottoes, and unforgettable food. Fabled for its hedonistic pursuits, Capri is an ideal choice for a destination wedding – the perfect mix of wedding locale and pre- and after-party travels.
Where to Stay: Both Capri’s hotels and villas lend themselves perfectly to romance, so you can hardly go wrong. But if you’re planning a wedding to remember, we’d recommend one of the island’s charming villas.
Savvy travelers know that Puglia is the less frenetic, more tranquil alternative to cosmopolitan (and heavily traveled) Venice and Tuscany. Indeed, baroque Puglia is a region of shoreline and vineyards, medieval memories and grand architecture. It manages to marry (pun intended) vast contrasts into one region, so whether you’re seeking an urban wedding locale or a hidden honeymoon niche, you’ll find it here.
Where to Stay: We have a serious soft spot for Borgo Egnazia, a luxury resort on the sea. The only thing that improves on its breathtaking location is the hotel’s superior service. And since the clientele often includes celebrities, your privacy is assured.
There’s a reason Shakespeare placed his star-crossed, tragic lovers in Verona: even a teenaged Romeo and Juliet knew that this town was big on drama and even bigger on romance. Today a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Verona is a pleasing mix of old and new – a place where you can stroll (hand-in-hand, if you’d like) through ancient gates and into modern restaurants.
Where to Stay: Verona’s small size makes for simple event preparations, most often in the town’s nicer hotels and private villas.