Two Amazing Weeks in Italy

Two Amazing Weeks in Italy

We spent two weeks in Italy for our June 2015 honeymoon and it was magical. You could technically go all over Europe in two weeks, but because we left the Monday after our wedding – we knew we’d be tired and our main goal would be to relax so we made the decision that we only wanted to unpack our bags three times max. Our trip took us to the Amalfi Coast first, followed by Florence, ending off in Lake Como. It was the perfect mix of poolside relaxation at the beginning and end with some city living in between. You could do the trip in reverse also. Here’s our itinerary with some commentary in green:

Monday, June 8: Flight from Chicago to Rome (12 hours) – 5pm

Tuesday, June 9: Arrive in Rome at 9:20AM

  • Driver from Rome to Amalfi – 3.5 hours, 470 euros (other option = train from Rome)
  • Arrive Hotel Palazzo Avino at about 2pm – home for the next five nights (obsessed with this hotel and Ravello. Not for someone who has difficulty getting around – the steps in Ravello are crazy-town)
  • Dinner at Rossellinis – the fine dining restaurant at Palazzo Avino – delish, but fancy (read: I ordered pasta and expected a big ole’ bowl and instead it came in 6 individual spoons lined up on a tray).

Wednesday, June 10

  • Morning – Palazzo Avino’s Clubhouse by the Sea (hotel shuttle down the hill at 10:30am) gorgeous and service is absurd.
  • Afternoon – explore Ravello Square
  • Dinner – Cumpa Cosima (this place was recommended by a ton of people and I can definitely see the charm – Mamma Nette is a very cute Italian grandma who putters around and chats to everyone, but to be honest the food was just okay and it was pretty much all tourists)

Thursday, June 11

  • 10:30am – 5pm: Cooking Class at Mamma Agata’s (300 euro per person – book at least 6 months in advance. no breakfast beforehand or dinner after) absolutely worth the price and booking in advance. one of our favorite things we did on the entire honeymoon. 
  • Drinks at Hotel Caruso (the hotel next door to Palazzo Avino. They have a nicer pool and the hotel is beautiful, but I’m biased and liked the atmosphere at Avino much more. Go to Caruso for drinks/dinner)

Friday, June 12

  • Day trip to Amalfi/Positano – car down to Amalfi (40 euros) and ferry to Positano. We were debating between doing this day trip or one to Capri and I’m not sure what would be better. We felt that Capri would only be worth going to if we could go in the evening and we just didn’t have time for that. Positano was beautiful, but very crowded and the beach isn’t that great so it was a nice day trip, but really made me happy that we were staying in Ravello.
  • Shopping around Positano (get some leather sandals!) and drinks at La Sirenuse (this is the fanciest hotel in Positano. Our travel agent had it on the list for an Amalfi Coast option. Gorgeous hotel and amazing view, but again – it just made me happy with our choice to do Palazo Avino in Ravello. So much more chill).
  • Lunch at Da Adolfo (recommended by Kass/Simon – you take a little boat with a little red fish on it over to a little island to eat at the restaurant and lay at the beach. Make a booking at the restaurant – gets busy. One of the best meals we had. A must if you do Positano. So much fun!)
  • Dinner – Lobster at Palazzo Avino Lobster & Martini Bar

Saturday, June 13

  • Lounge all day by the pool
  • Pizza lunch by the pool at Hotel Caruso
  • Massage at Palazzo Avino Spa
  • Walk around Villa Ruf0lo (Ravello Gardens), drinks at Garden Bar, dinner at Enotavola Wine Bar (cute place, but attacked by mosquitos)

Sunday, June 14

  • Leave Amalfi for Florence
    • 10:00AM car from Ravello to Naples Train Station (Napoli Centrale) – 1 hour 30 minutes (cost =  $220). The station is a little sketchy. They don’t announce which track your train is on until about 15 minutes before you leave so no need to get there super early to hang with the sketch-balls. 
    • 2:00PM Train from Napoli Centrale to Florence – 2 hours and 50 minutes (cost = $242 for business class) – this was such a fun train ride! So worth it to pay more for business class. 
    • 4:51PM Arrive at Florence Santa Maria Novella Station
    • exit the station and cab line will be on the left – take cab to St. Regis Hotel – home for four nights
    • 7:30 PM Dinner reservation at Il Latini (this place was recommended by a ton of people and it probably was awesome 5 years ago, but now it’s a bit of a tourist trap where you have to wait in a semi-absurd line. the food is great, but there’s a lot of great food in Florence. If you do decide to go – do a later booking like after 8pm)

Monday, June 15

  • Morning walk around Florence, pastries for breakfast across from the Duomo, visited the leather school
  • 1:30pm Wine Tasting Lunch at Enoteca Pitti (recommended by Leena) – not joking…we were obsessed with this place. So obsessed we came back again two days later. Zeno the owner is fabulous – he basically planned our entire wine tasting trip for the following day. Such a fun lunch – a must. We joined the wine club obvi!
  • Casual dinner at L’Antico Noè + Gelateria de Neri (amazing Gelato)
  • 2am Blackhawks game

Tuesday, June 16

  • 9:30AM – Chianti-tour  with Sandra Talluri (300 euros)
  • 11AM – CaparsinoThis place was recommended by Zeno (the owner of Enoteca Pitti). Paolo Cianferoni (0577738174) is the winemaker and he is fabulous. Tiny little family run place. They do things the old fashioned way. We loved it here.
  • 1PM – lunch at Ristorante La Locanda Di Pietracupafancier little place. Really liked it. Great food.
  • 2PM – Either Castello della Panaretta or Casa Emma (we actually didn’t end up going to any of these other vineyards – we were so pleased/drunk from the first one that we just ended up heading back to Florence early!)
  • Dinner at  Ristori de Cambiwe walked around looking for a couple places that friends had recommended, but when both our phones died we ended up here. Awesome place! The menu is all in Italian and the food was good, but even if it wasn’t it was still fun to pretty people watch. Total scene!

Wednesday, June 17

  • 11:30 AM reservation at Uffizi Gallery (had the hotel book this. we’re not huge museum people, but it was pretty cool. not huge.)
  • Boboli Gardens and Enoteca Pitti again for lunch with Caitlin (obviously this place was our favey fave)
  • Dinner – 7:30PM Reservation at Osteria Tre Penchea couple from NY that we met at the Mamma Agata cooking class recommended this place saying it was “the best meal they’ve ever had in the world”. Those are big words. It lived it up. Food was DELICIOUS. Make a reservation because it’s TINY. They specialize in truffle dishes. YUM. It’s not in the city center so expect about a 15 minute cab ride to get there. Have them call you a cab back.

Thursday, June 18

  • Quick trip to Via de’ ginori, 23 R leather shop – I really wanted a leather bag before we left and this place had a great, not super expensive selection. Better than the Leather School in my opinion. A little tricky to be find, but worth it!
  • Leave Florence for Lake Como
    • Train from Florence to Como S. Giovanni – 3 hours and 45 minutes Travel Time / $340 – E-ticket Confirmation Code: NS5AP5
    • 12:00PM Train from Florence to Milan – arrive Milan 1:40PM
    • 2:10PM Regional train from Milan to Como S. Giovanni – arrive 2:46PM ($167)
    • Driver from Como S. Giovanni to Grand Hotel Tremezzo – 45 minutes ($165)
    • Arrive at Grand Hotel Tremezzo – home for 5 nights. This place was AMAZING. The floating pool alone is worth the $$$). There are actually two pools here – the one on the lake and then another equally awesome one in the back. It’s kind of nice if there are kids staying at the hotel (or if you have kids) because if someone doesn’t want to be around kids…they can head to the other pool. 
  • Dinner at Grand Hotel Tremmezzo’s casual restaurant. (it’s fondue. which was a little weird, but we were kind of happy to not have a carb/pasta heavy dinner for one night.)

Friday, June 19

  • Ferry to Bellagio (5 minutes)
  • Shopping around Bellagio
  • Lunch at La Puntamake a booking. good food, better view.
  • Ferry back to Tremezzo – relaxing by the pool
  • Car into Menaggio (40 euro, 10 minutes) – cute little town with a night market on some nights
  • Dinner at Ristaurante de Paolo – food was pretty good. The hotel made a reservation here for us. Gets busy. 

Saturday, June 20

  • 11 – 2pm rented our own boat (self-driven) for the day.  I can’t remember the name of the boating company, but it was the only one that didn’t require a boat license and their boats are named the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria. Such an awesome time. Just boatin’ round Lake Como. SO MUCH FUN.
  • Dinner at Grand Hotel Tremezzo’s fine dining restaurant – really really good. Kind of hilarious because it’s another one of those restaurants that only puts the prices on the blue menu (which they only give to the guys). My menu had no prices. #oldschool Get the Lobster Pasta. I dream of it. 

Sunday, June 21

  • All shops closed everywhere – do nothing and sit by the pool day
  • Dinner at Al Vellu in Tremezzogreat view, great food. Make a reservation. 

Monday, June 22

  • Car to Menaggio (15 minutes and 40 euros)
  • Bus to Lugano, Switzerland for the day – takes 1 hour and it’s this really cute little swiss town where everyone speaks Italian. Lot’s of good shopping. Actually a great place to buy a fancy watch if you’re in the market for one. Chocolate is bomb.com here obviously. 
  • Lunch at Bottegone del Vino – actually one of the best pasta dishes we had on the trip…and from Switzerland – who would have thought!?
  • Bus back to Menaggio
  • Dinner at Tremezzo’s fancy restaurant again for our last night 🙁

Tuesday June 23 – Leave Lake Como and head home

Driver from Grand Hotel Tremezzo to Milan Airport – 1.5 hours, $300

LIN > LHR (2 hours), LHR > ORD (8 hours)

 

Some Photos:

More photos from our wedding and honeymoon here.