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Help plan my foodie honeymoon

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littleguy Sep 8, 2008 08:13 PM

Hello! I am trying to plan my 12 day honeymoon in Italy and I am having a hard time choosing where to go. I have been to Rome, Florence, and Venice, but my fiance has never been to Italy. I was thinking about starting in Rome for 3 days, going on some kind of walking tour in Tuscany or Cinque Terre for 5 or 6 days, and then going somewhere relaxing- either Como or Amalfi coast for the remaining days. However, I am totally flexible on this. So, if you could please help me out with the following...
- Does anyone have any experience with any walking tour companies in Italy, e.g. girasole, backroads, etc...?
- Is the food better around Lake Como or on the Amalfi coast? Alternate relaxing places will also be considered. I'm going in June if that helps.
- Since I've already been to Rome and stayed by Piazza Navonna, I was planning to mix it up a little and stay in Trastevere this time. I see on these boards that Testaccio seems to be preferred over Trastevere. Is this the case? Are there any hotels particularly well situated for major chowing down?

Thanks in advance for any and all feedback. I feel like a kid in a candy store planning this vacation- I'm so overwhelmed, but in a good way!

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    Tuscanlover RE: littleguy Sep 12, 2008 12:45 AM

    The message here (lack of response) appears to be - plan your own honeymoon!

    If it was me, I would just go to Tuscany. I wouldn't try to "do" Italy on any one trip let alone my honeymoon.

    5/6 days at Il Chiostro in Pienza. 5/6 days at the Paggeria Medicea in Artimino. (In the hills west of Florence.) Great food in both areas.

    Both of these are beautiful, romantic and, above all, relaxing hotels. From Pienza you can visit Siena, and the whole of southern Tuscany, and from Artimino you can visit Florence.

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      grantham RE: littleguy Sep 12, 2008 01:06 AM

      Arguably, the most romantic city in Italy, with the exception of Venice, is Positano!
      Our honeymoon was a month-long trip to Italy 18 years ago. We have made several trips back to Venice and Positano, and with the possible exception of the prices in Venice, have never been disappointed.
      Cinque Terrre is also nice to visit. We have never dined around Lake Como. Can't help you there.
      There is no other place like Positano and the Amalfi coast.
      Happy Honeymoon!

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        Tuscanlover RE: littleguy Sep 12, 2008 03:53 AM

        THE honeymoon spot in Italy, if not the world, is of course La Serenissima - Venice. This is the place for romance as long as you are quite rich.

        My wife says it is easy to do Venice on a budget - you just need a big budget.

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          MichelleinItaly RE: littleguy Sep 15, 2008 11:44 AM

          Hello! Well, as I live in what is generally known in Italy to be the gastronomic heart of Italy (Emilia-Romagna) I'd suggest coming here if you really want some food! Or, stay in my favorite city (Firenze!!) and then take little day trips by train! It's sooo easy to get around here by train, and we do day trips all the time. It's very simple to get into Emilia-Romagna, just go to Santa Maria Novella train station in Florence, and pick the train going to Bologna! From there, you can go to any of the smaller towns (on the Intercity) and also see some of the beautiful scenery on the way! Modena with it's small ancient city (this is where I live) and acetaia's for balsamico, Parma for it's ham.... the list goes on! If you're really interested in having food, this region is the best for you! Having been to Como in June, I'll just say this: jammed with tourists and extremely hot and muggy- though very beautiful. But really, you'll have that with all the major areas at that time of year. Perhaps if you go to Lake Como, but aren't too concerned with where you stay, you could try Bellagio, which is right at the apex of the "Y" that is created by the lake. It's small, not overly touristy and has a really great view! Personally, I didn't find Venice all that romantic unless you were right on the Grand Canal, but there is a LOT of renovation going on. The Bridge of Sighs is covered as is most of the Doge's Palace, the Duomo is undergoing restoration, as are many of the large churches on the other islands. Not sure when it will be done, but it wasn't a good look when I was there last weekend. It is generally a few years when they cover things up the way they have....

          The thing to keep in mind is: Nothing in Italy is very far from where you are at that moment! Perhaps create a "home base" in Florence or Venice and go to certain places from there? Like someone else said, make sure you relax and enjoy yourself! Don't try to jam it all in at once!

          Good Luck!

          8 Replies
          1. re: MichelleinItaly
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            tlubow RE: MichelleinItaly Sep 17, 2008 09:04 AM

            I was just at Lake Como this past June. It was not the height of tourist season but it was definitely beginning. For a quieter and less touristy stay, you may try Tremezzo, right across the lake from Bellagio. There's a beautiful hotel there, and you avoid the crowds (and I mean crowds) of tourists on Bellagio. We went to Bellagio for about 3 hours and that was enough for us. We had some very good food in Tremezzo as well, and both standout restaurants were extremely romantic. In particular, Al Valuu is high above the town, with garden dining overlooking the lake. Truly beautiful. I can say with certainty that Lake Como is a very romantic destination!

            1. re: tlubow
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              littleguy RE: tlubow Sep 17, 2008 01:36 PM

              Tlubow,
              Thanks a lot for your advice. I will certainly consider Tremezzo. Would you please give me the name of the hotel and the other standout restaurant?
              Thanks again.

              1. re: littleguy
                jen kalb RE: littleguy Sep 17, 2008 03:25 PM

                I havent heard you say what season you will be travelling in - its makes a difference since most of Italy is HOT in the summertime. I would say if it was not hot summer that some time on the Amalfi coast would blend your desire for walking (great hiking trails, which you can travel without a group program, fine hotels and absolutely delicious food. We greatly enjoyed 4 days in Ravello last year and their cant be a destination more romantic than that, plus from this area you can also fit in Pompeii, Naples (a great food and cultural town), Paestum and Capri. There are food reccs on this Board for all these places you should look at. Campanian food and wines were a revelation and highly recommended. Tuscany and the Veneto/Lakes area also have a lot to offer, towns like Verona, Mantova and Bergamo are charming and have great works of art and delicious food specialties if you want to branch out a bit to something new..

                1. re: jen kalb
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                  grantham RE: jen kalb Sep 26, 2008 08:59 PM

                  Thank you for the reminder of Paestum. Our honeymoon was in April, and we remember seeing artichokes in the fields, tasting fresh buffalo mozzarella, and incredibly impressive ruins.

                  Again, have a wonderful honeymoon!

                2. re: littleguy
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                  tlubow RE: littleguy Dec 9, 2008 05:35 AM

                  I'm sorry I didn't respond sooner, but maybe it's not too late. The hotel is the Grand Hotel Tremezzo - which was a lovely, lovely experience. Wonderful service, amazing breakfast overlooking the lake, and the pool floats in the lake. Within walking distance and directly on the lake, is the other recommended restaurant, is La Darsena. Have a wonderful time.

                  1. re: littleguy
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                    usbchinita RE: littleguy Dec 10, 2008 08:43 AM

                    Hello littleguy,

                    Congratulations!

                    We were also at Lake Como summer of last year. We went to a place called Crotto Del Plantani in Brienno, about 10 minutes from Grand Hotel Imperiale Moltrasio where we stayed. It's a seafood restaurant which serves mostly what the town catches. It's right on the side of the Lake (can't remember which side), we dined at the garden, the view was amazing. One dish I still remember to date is their fish sampler appetizer. It was all the local fish prepared the local way. Another restaurant we went to was Giardino, a pasta and pizza place with a garden at the back, in a town called Cernobbio. Based on what we were told, the local specialty dish is spaghetti with white clam sauce. It was the lightest yet most flavorful spaghetti with white clam sauce dish I'd ever had! Their pizzas were very fresh too.

                    Have a great time and enjoy this special time of your life!

                3. re: MichelleinItaly
                  The Chowhound Team RE: MichelleinItaly Sep 18, 2008 03:57 AM

                  Folks, just a friendly reminder to keep the discussion focussed on Chow. Hotels and non-chow activities are beyond the scope of our boards.

                  Thanks!

                  1. re: MichelleinItaly
                    Vikzen RE: MichelleinItaly Dec 20, 2008 08:44 PM

                    The renovation is only in the central tourist area of San Marco, and if you are really going to "do" Venice, you might stay away from there beyond a few hours' looking. Dorsoduro has some lovely venues, as does Canareggio.

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                    Italian86 RE: littleguy Dec 30, 2008 04:44 PM

                    If you want really good food you must go to bologna in northern Italy thats where some of the best food in all of Italy is.

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