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Honeymoon in Italy (Genoa, Cinque Terre, Bologna, Modena, Parma, Venice, Tuscany, and Florence)

Hi all,

My wife and I will be celebrating our honeymoon in Italy (and 5 days in Barcelona) in October. I've researched the board pretty heavily and have gone through Plotkin's book as well as Osterie d' Italia (2014). I am wondering what everyone thinks of our itinerary and if there are any suggestions or alternatives recommended.

Before the itinerary, let me just explain that my wife and I are both "foodies" who love a great meal. A great meal can be super cheap or quite expensive but the food should be memorable. We eat pretty much everything but my wife loves shellfish and she is not a big fan of offal. I've never met a pasta or stinky cheese I didn't like and love shellfish, red meat, and wild game equally. Neither of us are wine aficionados but we will have a glass or two at dinner.

So first we will be staying in Rapallo for 3 nights and spending 1 day in Genoa and 1 day in Cinque Terre,

In Genoa, I was thinking of going to Trattoria da Maria for Lunch and Trattoria Vegia Zena for dinner. Any thoughts on either of these places? I think they are both from Plotkin's book.

For CInque Terre, I haven't really found any place that seems like a must try spot. We will probably hit up Il Pirata for breakfast. Suggestions for lunch/dinner would be appreciated either somewhere in CT or in or near Rapallo.

From Rapallo, we will be renting a car and driving to Bologna. Now here is where I may be trying to squeeze too much in. On the way down to Bologna, we are planning to stop at Al Cavalino Bianco for lunch. Then drive to our hotel right outside Bologna. For dinner, I was hoping to head back to Da Ivan. Will that be too much driving? Should I instead go to Da Ivan for lunch and skip Al Cavalino Bianco? How is the drive to and from Da Ivan? I know we could stay at Da Ivan but our hotels are all booked and paid for.

The next day we plan to head to Venice. I am thinking cichette for lunch but am open to any suggestions. For dinner I am leaning towards Antiche Carampane but am still considering Al Covo or Bordero. Is Al Covo worth the extra $$? The menus look pretty similar.

The next day we will head to Modena. Now here is another place I am torn. For lunch I am between Trattoria Ermes or Hosteria Guisti. Guisti seems quite expensive, which is why I have not locked it in yet. How do the two compare? For dinner, I am pretty set on Osteria di Rubbiara. Am I packing in too much food here? Is it reasonable to eat at Ermes/Guisti + Osteria di Rubbiara in one day? Also, any suggestions on organizing a balsamico tour through Osteria di Rubbiara?

So my wife was born in Vincenza so we are planning to go to Verona and Vincenza the next day. I really have nowhere special picked out for either of these towns. In fact, I was hoping to get back to Bologna on the earlier side and was thinking of going to Ponte Rosso in Monteveglio as per David Rosengarten's article in Forbes. Has anyone eaten here? Alternatives could be either Da Fabio in Bologna or even Da Ivan. I'd also be open to eating somewhere in Verona/Vincenza for dinner if there is somewhere special worth going to. A lunch recommendation would also be appreciated.

The next day is a full day exploring Bologna. It will be a Sunday if that matters. I have some ideas for lunch (All'Osteria Bottega, Da Maro, or Osteria al 15). Are these reasonable lunch spots or are they more of dinner places? For dinner, I was thinking Amerigo dal 1934 in Savigno. Again, is this too much food for one day? We could also go to Da Ivan, if we haven't made it there yet.

The next four days will be spent at an Inn in Lecchi in Tuscany. One night we plan on eating at the Inn and one night at Ristorante Malborghetto. I know my wife wants to go to San Gimignano for a day trip. Anywhere in or near there worth hitting up for lunch? Is it worth driving to Antica Macelleria Cecchini for dinner or is it more hype than anything else? How about Piccola Trattoria Guastini in Montepulciano?

Finally, we will be in Florence for 3 nights. We will definitely hit up Sostanza for dinner. I also have Da il Latini, Il Santo Bevitore, Tranvai, and Enotria on my list but I haven't locked any place in besides Sostanza. I am sure we will eat a meal at Mercato Central. Anywhere else I should be looking at for either lunch or dinner?

Any thoughts would be very much appreciated. I hope I am not squeezing too much food in. In between all of these meals, we will be seeing the sights and doing the usual touristy things. Any suggestions on a cooking class? I was thinking of doing it in Bologna but I may not want to give up a meal there LOL.

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  1. Way, way too much driving in the segment from Rapallo to Bologna and back up.

    The drive to and from Da Ivan to Bologna is easy but long; figure close to two hours until you find Roccabianca. You'll spend more on gas and tolls, than the cost of a room at Da Ivan or La Buca in Zibello, and save close to four hours driving time.

    Rapallo to Cavalino Bianco to Bologna to Da Ivan (five km from Cavalino Bianco) doesn't seem to make any sense.

    Florence. Latini. I'll say it as politely as possible. Don't go.

    1 Reply
    1. re: allende

      <Florence. Latini. I'll say it as politely as possible. Don't go.>

      Well said, allende.

      We went there maybe 20 years ago. It was recommended by the concierge at the hotel where we stayed. Definitely one of the worst dining experiences we have had in Europe, with mediocre food at best, slapdash service, and being sandwiched between annoying people at communal tables. I guess it hasnt changed much. Yecch!

    2. In terms of your Florence list, Il Santo Bevitore is dimly lit and romantic, perfect for a honeymoon. It has great food as well and seems to please everyone. I really love Enotria but do know it is a 10 minute cab ride (or really long walk) outside the city. It's not a particularly romantic setting but I think it's worth the trip if you're willing to be outside of the centro storico for an evening.

      1. Just to make sure I am getting this straight, after staying in Rapallo for 3 nights, your itinerary is as follows:
        Bologna - 1 night
        Venice - 1 night
        Modena - 1 night
        Verona/Vincenza - 1 night
        Bologna - 1 night
        Then Tuscany and Florence

        Is this correct??

        2 Replies
        1. re: ekc

          No. We will be based in bologna but will have a car and are taking day trips to Venice, Modena, and Verona/Vincenza.

          1. re: FoodDude2

            If you do go to Venice for the day, take the train. Do not drive.

            I like having my big meal at lunch. I have not been to Antiche Carampane or Al Covo, but think very highly of Alle Testiere and L'Anice Stellato. We recently had spectacular lunches at both places.

        2. 1 day in Cinque Terra? I think it requires 2 or 3. No great restaurants as far as I can determine. Will be in Vernazza in Sept. So I may have more info before you go.

          1 day is Venice is too short as well. Not easy to arrive/leave.

          Consider cutting out a couple of destinations.

          And 1 good meal per day is a good rule.

          1 Reply
          1. re: collioure

            While I agree with you that this itinerary is too rushed overall, I disagree regarding Cinque Terre. We were staying in Santa Margherita, and took the train to Monterosso, walked to Vernazza, where we had a nice lunch, then took the train to Manarola, strolled around the very small town, and took the train back to S.M., all in one very lovely day. You could spend more time, but this was a perfect introduction.

            As far as one good meal per day is concerned, as I've often pointed out on CH, it depends on the person. When travelling, my partner and I usually have a substantial lunch and dinner (no breakfast or a very light one) and it works out just fine. We don't want to miss out on a great meal when we only have limited time to experience wonderful food.

          2. Whoa! Slow down a bit. It is Italy, afterall.

            We loved our lunch at Piccola Trattoria Guastini. It is in Valiano, not Montepulciano.