Hilary and Zackary were looking for an April honeymoon full of good food, wine, and impressive history. And we were thrilled to help them realize that dream with a fabulous Italian Honeymoon! They had such a great time that they wanted to provide a detailed review with tons of little tips! Here is their account of what you could expect from a trip to Rome & The Amalfi Coast:
I really wanted to give you a solid write-up because we had just the best time! My husband and I traveled to Italy for our honeymoon in April. We flew from Boston to Dublin, Dublin to Rome.
We stayed at the beautiful Independent Hotel, right next to the train station. On our first day it was pouring, we were so wet even with raincoats! The hotel lost power for several hours on our first afternoon, but the staff was very accommodating and helpful.
For our time in Rome, we worked with Ann to schedule tours of the Vatican and the Colosseum, as well as a walking and eating tour of Rome. To get to the Vatican and the Colosseum, we decided to use the subway. Easy enough to do if you look at a map beforehand! We had no trouble navigating the ticketing system, even if it was in Italian. Highly recommend downloading a map of your destination through Google maps before you leave for your trip. It was a lifesaver for us, and we didn’t need 5G to use it. In fact, we didn’t actually spring for an international phone plan. Both of our hotels had free Wi-Fi, as did most of the restaurants we went to. We had the ability to use it in case of emergency for a small daily fee but didn’t need to use it at all.
The Vatican was beautiful, and the Sistine Chapel is breathtaking. Our tour guide was informative and helpful as well. I think you could probably get by without booking a tour of the Vatican. But it was definitely nice to get in early before it got too busy.
I think the tour of the Colosseum was much more essential – I would have been lost without the context that our guide was able to provide for us. Be careful on the stairs, especially in the rain. They are steep and very slippery! The hike up Palatine hill was no joke either, but boy was it worth it. I had no idea of the amount of history in the Roman forum, and would not have recognized any of the particular spots without a guide.
We spent the afternoon seeing the sights on our own with our downloaded map. It was easy to navigate the city. We saw Castel St. Angelo, the Pantheon, and the Trevi fountain just walking around on foot.
We recommend stopping at Roscioli, the oldest bakery in Rome. We got a hefty lunch for the two of us for only 15 euro! And also had gelato at the place next door. We tried the wackiest flavors we could find and they were all amazing! Who knew basil gelato would be so delicious? Also, recommend bringing your own water bottle – there are fountains all over the city with free potable water flowing. Much more affordable than buying your water all the time!
The walking food tour was probably our favorite bit of our time in Rome. We had booked with a tour company. But we ended up being the only ones who booked for the day so it was a private tour! The salumis and cheeses were amazing, and the pizzas were delicious!
The absolute best place we ate in Rome was Rifugio Romano, on the same street as our hotel. We needed a reservation (as we sadly learned our first night) but were able to get one for our last night in Rome, and so glad we did! Classic Roman cuisine and the truffle pizza were to die for. We capped off our time in Rome at the rooftop bar of the Independent, where we had Italian hot chocolate. Seriously, don’t miss it!
We took a bullet train to Naples, and it was such a beautiful ride. We had a private driver Fabrizio take us from Naples to our hotel, out of safety concerns for the local trains. Fabrizio was absolutely amazing and gave us a tour around Sorrento before dropping us off at the Hilton Sorrento Palace. I cannot stress to you the amount of citrus trees. Everything smelled like lemon from the moment we exited the tunnel in Sorrento! We liked Fabrizio so much that we reached out and had him bring us to Positano later in our stay.
The Hilton was stunning as well, and the view from our room was incredible, overlooking the sea with Mt Vesuvius in the background and lemon groves perfuming our balcony. Continental breakfast there was handy, and they had fresh squeezed orange juice from their hotel grove. Doesn’t get fresher than that!
We had a couple of trips planned for our time in Sorrento. A trip to Pompeii and Vesuvius, and a trip to the island of Capri.
Pompeii & Vesuvius
We also think a tour guide is a must for Pompeii – the site is way larger than you think, and the context the guide was able to provide was great as well. Otherwise, you probably won’t see the best sights, and even if you do you may not understand their importance.
The hike up Vesuvius was more strenuous than I had planned for, but my husband made it to the top!! I almost did but just ran out of time and didn’t want to miss the bus. The view was incredible though! I would say if you’re not a hiker you can probably skip this part though.
The day we went to Capri was the only day on our trip that it didn’t rain, and thank goodness for that! The boat ride was amazing, and the pictures we took of Capri still don’t look real. We didn’t opt for the tour of the blue grotto. We didn’t want to waste the time in line (it can apparently take hours) and the sea was too choppy for boats to enter that day anyway
We took a taxi up from the dock to the town of Capri, explored a bit, and took a taxi back down. You really need all day if you’re going to see both towns, we decided to take it a little easier and just wander Capri and get a drink at a bar instead. The boat ride wasn’t too bad, and I’m very prone to motion sickness. Helps to be at the front of the boat and away from the engine!
For our last full day, we went to Positano as a spur-of-the-moment trip. Fabrizio was able to get us into his schedule, which was amazing! He is full of local knowledge and was great to ask questions and recommendations. Positano was gorgeous!
We made our way down to the beach first, and then slowly made our way back up. Bring your walking shoes for anywhere you go along the Amalfi coast, the hike back up is a doozy! The shops were adorable, and everyone was so friendly. It was a beautiful day, and Positano is picturesque!
The best places we ate on this leg of our trip were L’Antica Trattoria in Sorrento and Ristorante Max in Positano.
We had researched L’Antica Trattoria ahead of time and made reservations. It was an incredible five-course meal that ended up being more like eight with all the complimentary things they brought out for us! Every bite was amazing. We actually just happened upon Ristorante Max, but it was almost equally incredible. You really can’t go wrong with almost any restaurant you pass, but these two were just amazing.
It has been a couple of months since we’ve been home, but I would go back at literally any moment. Italy is incredible! No problems at all with the language barrier, almost everyone also spoke English or had someone around who did. And as for the menus, most of the words in Italian are pretty recognizable from any Italian menu you’ve read here in the states so it was pretty easy to navigate.
We didn’t have any trouble at all with COVID. At the beginning of the trip, they were checking our vaccination cards at every location. But the legislation was updated while we were there and it wasn’t necessary for the latter half of our trip. We always had masks with us just in case but spent the majority of our time outside. The airlines say you need an FFP2 mask, but they’re essentially the same as a KN95. And, no one was really checking as long as you had something substantial for a face covering. I brought with us some proctored at-home tests. And had no trouble doing them in the hotel room before our flight.
We want to thank Ann for helping us be educated about everything we would need and for making our trip so seamless. We will definitely be booking with her again in the future!
We truly had the most amazing time!
Thanks a million,