Italy is one of the top romantic vacation destinations in the world; a country where you'll be swept away by quaint seaside villages, pastoral countryside, idyllic islands, dramatic mountains, and ancient historic cities. Romance awaits in Italy!
Here are our favorite Italian cities, villages, lakes, and islands for romance.
Lake Como, ringed with beautiful villas and resort villages and surrounded by hills and mountains, has long been a romantic travel destination. Bellagio, known as the pearl of the lake, is one of the most romantic villages, with cobbled lanes, elegant architecture and terraces gardens. Take a stroll along the lakeshore, or catch the funicular from Como town up to Brunate to enjoy a romantic candlelit dinner for two.
Positano, on the Amalfi Coast, is one of Italy's most romantic destinations. The picturesque town is built vertically on the face of a cliff, making for stunning views of the sea. Follow Lover's Walk (Sentiero degli Innamorati) from pretty Spiaggia Grande beach to the coves at Fornillo. Take a cooling dip in the blue Mediterranean waters or admire dramatic sunrises.
The enchanting island of Capri is most magical in the evenings when daytrippers depart on ferries back to Naples. Stunningly beautiful and brimming with inspirational vistas and secluded coves, the island is awash with fragrant flowers scenting the air. Anacapri—the smaller of the two main towns on the island, is the perfect place for lovers of long walks, bright orange sunsets, and excellent seafood.
Portofino, a half-moon-shaped seaside village with pastel-colored houses, waterfront restaurants, and crystalline water, is a paradise for honeymooners. Located on the Italian Riviera, sentimental Portofino has a 16th-century castle, a tiny Romanesque-style church, and panoramic views of the Ligurian Sea to die for. Walk hand-and-hand along a scenic path through a pine forest out to the lighthouse on the point.
Verona is home to the balcony associated with Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet. Romantics flock to Verona to see the spot where Juliet called to her Romeo, rub the right breast of Juliet's statue for luck, and take a photo on the iconic balcony. While there's no evidence to link Shakespeare to Verona, it still makes for a fun trip. See an opera in the 2000-year-old, open-air Roman arena, stroll along the Adige River, or relax at an outdoor cafe on Piazza delle Erbe.
Sicily's top travel destination since it became part of the European Grand Tour in the 19th century, chic Taormina is perched on the side of Monte Tauro, and offers spectacular views of the coastline and Mt. Etna (one of only three active volcanoes in Italy). It boasts excellent beaches of clean, clear waters, a medieval quarter, castle ruins, and an ancient Greek theater used for outdoor summer performances.
Soak in the healing therapeutic waters at one of Tuscany's historic spas and natural thermal baths (terme)—many of which are free to the public, such as Saturnia, Fosso Bianco, and Bagno Vignoni. Spend a little cash and treat yourself to a pampering romantic stay in a spa town or a luxury resort on the Tuscan coast.
Gulf of Poets
If you prefer a more intimate coastal vibe, you'll like the Gulf of Poets (Golfo dei Poeti) once popular with such poets as Byron and Shelley. You won't find many tourists, but if you can brave the crowds, nearby Cinque Terre's Via dell'Amore (Lover's Lane) is a wonderful trail above the sea that connects the five villages to one another.
Matera's fascinating old town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, sits on the edge of a deep ravine with a series of ancient caves (sassi) carved out of the rock. For the best view, walk along the Strada Panoramica dei Sassi and then spend an amorous night in a sassi hotel to experience what it would have been like to be a cave dweller.
Florence's Renaissance past evokes romance at every turn. Visit the 13th-century cathedral, marvel at the vast collection of Italian masterpieces at the Galleria Uffizi, and fall for Michelangelo's David at the Galleria dell'Accademia. Outside the main tourist areas, you'll find less-crowded streets, romantic views, and quiet piazzas.
Italy's Romantic Small Towns
There are romantic towns dotted all over Italy that provide relief from the crush of tourists, allowing you to enjoy Italy at a slower pace. Check out towns like Pienza, Assisi, Orvieto and Civita Bagnoregio in central Italy, or head south to Puglia's Alberobello with its cute trulli houses, Reggio Calabria with its seaside promenade, and Sicily's Noto, a baroque jewel.
The fashion capital of the world, Milan is teeming with attractive, elegantly coiffed people dressed to the nines. If style is your aphrodisiac, then romantic and cosmopolitan Milan is the place to be.
In Roman Holiday, Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn fell in love while scooting around Rome on a Vespa. Follow in the footsteps of these iconic lovers by walking across a bridge over the Tiber river with views of St. Peter's dome in the distance; throwing a coin into the Trevi Fountain; sitting on the Spanish Steps; eating a gelato on Baroque Piazza Navona, then climbing atop Gianocolo hill for the best panorama in all the city. That's amore!
With more than 4,700 miles of coastline stretching from the top of the boot to the tip, Italy is the ideal destination for a romantic and exotic beach getaway. From the ritzy Italian Riviera to Sardinia's Emerald Coast to remote Lampedusa Island, sandy beaches + salt air + crashing waves = romantic seaside days and nights you'll never forget.
Based on the original article by Martha Bakerjian