Italy Insiders Share Their Favorite Spots for Romance

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Lovers on Lake Como

I like to do a romance-themed post every year around Valentine’s Day for obvious reasons. So given the popularity of crowd-sourcing (and the positive response I received from friends for last month’s crowd-sourced article on Rome When It Rains), I decided to give the power of the people on LinkedIn, Twitter, and elsewhere another try. Here was my query:

If you live in Italy, where is the most romantic spot in your area?

Not surprisingly, people had strong opinions about this topic. One commenter even said, “Melanie, we cannot tell you this otherwise in no time it will be full of tourists and not romantic anymore!” (-M.G.) My response was “Ha! You got me there, M.G. What if we promise to be really quiet?? 🙂 ”

Luckily, my little bit of pleading worked. In fact, I received about two dozen comments from various sources which I will share with you after the jump. Some listings are plugs for (worthy) hotels, restaurants, and tours while others are just beautiful places – known and lesser-known – that Italy insiders and Italophiles wanted to share with the world*.

So, if you visit any of the places listed below promise me one thing: please be a nice, respectful tourist so  I can continue to get Italians and expats living in Italy to share their travel secrets!

1) OK! I am Costiera Amalfitana fan!!!

  • Positano ( dinner: Ristorante Bar Bruno. Owner: Ornella/ Mario A magic panoramic view! Via Cristoforo Colombo, N° 83; TEL: 089 87 53 92 )
  • Ravello: Romantic day to spend in the beautiful gardens!!
  • Cetara: a very small village on the coast! Too small maybe! Ristorante Acqua Pazza – good seafood! -P.S.

2) Our farmhouse offers a romantic package – Amore in Le Marche – 3 nights accommodations in a romantic rustic farmhouse apartment with breakfast daily, a custom couples cooking class, five-course feast by candlelight with local wine, a bottle of prosecco upon arrival and a horseback riding trip into the hills for only €600 a COUPLE! La Tavola Marche Agriturismo & Cooking School, Sant’Angelo in Vado, Le Marche, Italy. -A.B.

3) I would definitly say Bergamo Alta, 30 miles outside Milan. -A.A.

4) Melanie, here are a couple of very special and intriguing places:

5) In Rome, Villa Borghese is the most romantic place IMHO -A.P.

6) I live outside of Rome, in the Sabina. This is a completely different world from Rome, yet it’s only 30 km. I think there are quite a few romantic places here; not really in the traditional sense, maybe a bit old-fashioned, but for those who enjoy medieval-looking villages, green hills and forests, traditionally prepared food and places uncrowded by tourists, it may be just right. Though I really recommend visiting in the summer; right now it is too cold!

Here are a few places that come to mind:

  • The village of Toffia: a small, medieval village with narrow twisted streets. They have one of those village festivals in the summer where everyone participates and private houses transform into boutiques, galleries and restaurants.
  • Rocca Sinibalda: similar kind of village, but with a castle, situated above a lake.
  • Then there is this farm house which I have been wanting to stay in, but I really live way too close to justify spending money to stay the night. 🙂 I can vouch for the food and the surroundings.

Like I said, these are quite different, not for everybody kinds of places. But I’m sure everyone already knows the major ones in Rome, Florence, etc., so I thought I’d add something different. -L.V.

7) Polignano a Mare (Puglia), about 25-30 km from Bari on the Adriatic Sea. It is a magical town built on cliffs, overlooking the Adriatic Sea. Eat the best luscious and decadent ice cream in the whole Italy at Il Mago del Gelato – Mamma Mia, che delizia!

La Grotta Palazzese and Il Covo Dei Saraceni are two different hotels/restaurants: really magical places, to die for. The views are breathtaking but you might not like their prices. Fish, the freshest of the Adriatic, is their specialty, but you might leave the wallet there. It is all how you measure pleasure: in money or in memories and experiences. -V.C.

8) Nothing was more romantic than San Marco’s square in Venezia with the lights and the music playing at night. @PRluna

9) Sardegna! The Coral Coast (north east) is one of the most wonderful (and romantic) places in earth….absolutely no exaggeration! -A.C.

10) Check this portal from Salerno (Campania). -V.A.

11) Romance and adventure… Da Vinci Capers ~ A Personal Renaissance Journey in Ravello… A private boat trip to Positano, a swim in the caves, a dinner at the Caruso (or, for a quarter of the price – at Bruno’s), sip wine on Villa Maria’s terrace, a cooking class at Villa Eva. My Fav… -B.H.

12) My most romantic spot is on Sardinia, in the North of the island, next to where I have the privilege to live! Castelsardo and also Costa Paradiso – just breathtaking! -S.T.

13) Alice Relais and Chateaux, just outside Treviso, mmmm -M.G.

14) Melanie, if you’re writing an article, please write something different than every article for every Valentine’s Day. There are so many beautiful places in Italy from north to south for fine dining, fantastic wines and sex. (i.e., see G. Podesta’s book, A Romantic’s Guide to Italy) – from farmhouses to the Hassler. But, I like the idea of more personal effort made (not just flashing the Visa); cooking or choosing the food together for a picnic in the gardens of Villa Cimbrone (Ravello); a personally-written poem read while on a boat around Capri; taking a painting class together (my husband & I do this each year) – could be of a nude model (fantastic!) and giving each other your painting; stating ones aspirations in life while taking a walk up the Valley of the Mills (from Amalfi); make the paper first (same place) and write a love letter… you’re getting my drift. This is more from the heart and becomes meaningful and is totally fun! Barb -B.H.

15) In Sicily, the Eolie (Aeolian) Islands ( by sail boat ) and another city like Castelmola – don’t miss it!! -P.S.

16) Italy is not only the traditional crowded cites (like Venice,Rome, Florence…) or famous spots on the coasts (like Amalfi, Positano,the Emerald coast in Sardinia , Capri and many others)…..there are also the Alps! Check places like Ortisei or Cortina in the Dolomites and you will discover romantic and sweet places to stay as well. -G.P.

17) Sorrento! And I personally recommend this family-managed hotel with a fantastic view on the Naples bay. @ChiaraCosenza

18) In my area, Friuli Venezia Giulia, I’d have to say on the coast, at Duino at the Restaurant Dama Bianca in the evening looking out over the north end of the Adriatic Sea to watch the sunset in the summer 🙂

If I expand the area, I’d also say Venice in a not so touristy area, let say Nuova Fondamenta, Murano, or anywhere where you can be with your loved one 😉

I’d suggest Alta Badia in Trentino Alto Adige rather than Cortina as it is all too crowded. For Italy ski holidays, the Dolomites are wonderful! I’ve really only discovered them this year through ski mountaineering trips almost every other weekend there 😉 A lovely place is between Merano and Bolzano in Trentino Alto Adige, it’s called the Vigilius Mountain Resort. Just stayed there two weekends ago: very nice and very romantic! There are so many other places to stay in lovely locations; really it’s just finding the kind of location and accomodations that fit your style (and budget!!!) and enjoy!
Thomas -T.K.

19) Sardegna, Costiera Amalfitana… all well and good, but obvious.

For me the most romantic place in Italy is dead-center of Piazza Santo Stefano in Bologna, one of the few triangle-shaped “squares” in Italy. It is also a very spiritual place, once home to a temple dedicated to Isis, now to a complex of seven churches (not all visible). It’s a mysterious and ancient place… -L.M.G.

20) As beautiful as they might be, Tuscany, Sardinia,etc are full of tourists and are an easy cliché. Polignano a Mare, the Cathedral Square of Trani… Those are really romantic and still uncontaminated by the global tourism…
Puglia in general. -C.R.

21) Venice, of course! For example Punta della Dogana, Venezia.

For a change, you could consider some places in the north of Italy, for example on the lakes:

  • Santa Caterina del Sasso and Isole Borromee on Lago Maggiore
  • Sirmione with Grotte di Catullo and Castello di Malcesine on Lago Garda
  • Bellagio, Lago Como -P.F.

22) In Liguria: Portofino, Vernazza in the Cinque Terre, and Tellaro. -N.C.

23) Aperitivi at Villa San Michele in Fiesole sitting in their gardens overlooking breathtaking views of Florence. The roof top bar at Hotel Continental overlooking the southern side of Florence including Piazzale Michelangelo. -L.S.

24) Sirmione on Lago Garda -S.C.

Photos © canvascafe

Note: Comments and tips have been edited for grammar, syntax, or clarity at Italofile’s discretion.

Last updated on May 17th, 2023

Post first published on February 10, 2010

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