by Gina Mussio
There are few places as innately romantic as Italy. A sentimental land of beauty and indulgence, Italians embrace romance in all its forms. Here beauty is appreciated for beauty’s sake – in the art, the architecture, in a truly good meal, and in the details of a finely-stitched dress. It’s easy to find love, fall in love, and appreciate love in a country as glamorous and passionate as Italy. Not only that, but the entire country is absolutely breathtaking. Each location serving as the perfect backdrop to your romantic dreams. You don’t need to come to Italy in February to tap into the country’s romance – it permeates the air year-round!
Here’s How to Find Romance in Beautiful Italy:
Walk along the water
Little beats a romantic water walk with a breathtaking landscape. Set against the foothills of the Alps, northern Italy’s lakes offer the perfect backdrop for a scenic lakefront walk. Whether it’s the popular Como, or less well-known Iseo, Garda, Maggiore, or Orta, the landscape and charming villages have plenty to enjoy. Try the brief but suggestive lungolago in Varenna on the Lago di Como, aptly named the “lover’s walkway”, or stroll the elaborately paved path along Como’s lakefront.
Visit Limone sul Garda, an ancient fishing town with suggestive alleys on Lake Garda, the largest of the northern Lakes. Check out the sunset at the lemon grove of the town’s castle (because shouldn’t every romantic Italian town have a castle?) or criss-cross the lake with the ferry. Another favorite is beautiful Sirmione, often called the pearl of Lake Garda.
Though it’s usually overlooked for the above-mentioned lakes, Lake Iseo is just as beautiful as its big sisters. Smaller than Como and Garda, Lago di Iseo is intimate and cozy and described as the most romantic lake by its own tourism board. Tour the area’s quintessential towns or catch a ferry to Monte Isola, Europe’s largest lake island. Iseo also happens to be nestled in the gorgeous Franciacorta wine region, known for its high-quality, sparkling wines. From some vineyard tours, you can catch glimpses of the sparkling water beyond.
In Italy’s northern lakes, it’s all about enjoying beauty for beauty’s sake, whether you’re strolling the promenade, eyeing the expansive mountains from the water, or surrounding yourself with the lush gardens of the elegant villas.
Soak in a thermal spa
You may not think to travel all the way to Italy just to visit a spa, but Italians are masters of la dolce vita, and a huge part of that includes some classic self-care. Thermal springs were used by the ancient Romans to cure what ails, thanks to the aqueducts that allowed the Empire to control the flow of water.
Today, try the Bagni Vecchi in Bormio, Lombardy, an ancient spa complex roughly 2,000 years old. Written about by Pliny the Elder and mentioned by Leonardo da Vinci in his Codex Atlanticus, it was visited by the Archduchess of Austria and her husband, Archduke Ferdinand, and possibly even Napoleon during the Napoleonic period. Located in the mountains, the baths have a natural steam cave, Roman baths dug into a cave, a sauna with a view, and a massive panoramic outdoor pool looking out across the valley.
Or, follow the sun to the beautiful island of Ischia, off the coast of Naples. The volcanic geography of the region has created hundreds of natural thermal springs, cementing the relaxed island as a premier thermal destination and wellness retreat. The sulfuric waters are thought to provide relief with arthritis, skin conditions, and respiratory diseases. Between the relaxing thermal springs and the gorgeous seafront views, you can easily turn on the romantic vacation mode with a full day of pampering on Ischia.
Watch the sunset
The sunset in Italy is beautiful in just about any location, but there are a few views worth planning for.
One of the best views of Florence is from atop the hill at Piazzale Michelangelo at the evocative San Miniato del Monte church. Though it is just a thirty-minute walk from the banks of the Arno, visitors can choose to catch a bus to the top of the hill if they prefer. Time your visit just right to catch the last rays of the golden Tuscan sun set over this spectacular city.
Or, head to the top of the Duomo of Milan – a massive terrace that brings you up close and personal to the beautiful marble, spires, and gargoyles of this infamous Gothic cathedral. Though you won’t be able to watch the sun officially set (it closes before dark), you can enjoy the setting sun with views over the city and, on a clear day, to the Alps beyond.
Finally, we can’t forget a classic beachfront sunset. Take a romantic vacation to one of Italy’s famous islands, like Sardinia, and be sure to carve out some time to sit on the beach and enjoy nature’s free event. There’s little as simple, effortless and memorable as a sunset with a loved one.
Stroll the streets of an ancient city
In Italy, romance is everywhere. It rises from the cobblestone streets and sweeps across the scenery. The truth is, much of Italy’s romance is simply in the atmosphere. Filled with charming villages to stroll and explore, grab your loved one’s hand and enjoy the details of Spello, Umbria, officially one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, or head to the true via del amore in Pienza, Tuscany.
Of course, there’s always the cobbled streets and architectural icons of Verona— the setting of Shakespeare’s celebrated Romeo & Juliet. Italy’s veritable city of love, travelers can step back in time with a visit to Juliet’s balcony, and after, find their own romance among the stylish shops on via Mazzini and impressively frescoed houses of in Piazza delle Erbe. Besides just enjoying the beauty of the pink limestone Arena di Verona (built before its Colosseum lookalike), visitors in the summer can actually see an opera inside the arena, sitting under the night sky on the same stone seats as citizens in 30 AD. We have all the details for you on How to See an Opera in the Verona Arena.
Tour a garden in bloom
Italy knows how to do gardens. With a spring that arrives earlier than most American temperate regions and a summer that extends well into October in some areas, there’s no shortage of gorgeous blooms, perfectly hedged pathways, and magnificent sculptures to see. There are gardens from knee to toe of Italy’s boot, but one of our favorites is the unexpected splendor of the Isola Bella gardens in Piedmont. Located on an island of Lago Maggiore, Isola Bella is a botanic and architectural dream; a craggy rock-turned paradise. Literally, ‘beautiful island’ in English, tons of soil was shipped to the island in the 17th century to build what we see today: a perfectly terraced Italian garden with greenery on staircases, a show-stopping amphitheater, statues, obelisks, and of course, peacocks. It truly lives up to its name!
Further south is the widely famous Villa d’Este gardens in Lazio. A UNESCO World Heritage Site in Tivoli, just 20 minutes outside of Rome, they’re considered some of the most beautiful gardens in all of Italy. Built on the grounds of a 16th-century villa, the Villa d’Este gardens were an impressive feat of hydraulic engineering, with fountains that sprayed nearly 50 feet without the use of pumps, water that flowed uphill, and an organ fountain that could play a musical composition by water alone. Though the musical fountain no longer plays, the garden is still mind-bending, with more than 600 fountains, spouts and water jets, 64 waterfalls and nearly 900 meters of canals, each working entirely by the force of gravity without any mechanical intervention.
With beautiful weather, beautiful surroundings, and more than impressive sights, why not take your loved one through a stroll of one of Italy’s most beautiful gardens? There are plenty to choose from at 13 of The Most Beautiful Gardens in Italy.
Little can compare to the atmosphere and beauty of Italy’s coastal towns. Whether you just want to soak in the salt air or spend your days in luxury on the beaches, with nearly 5,000 miles of Italian coastline, you just have to take your pick!
Try the scenic Amalfi Coast with quaint towns built into the green hillside. Here you can tour the coast, shop for ceramics or olive oil, and enjoy a seafood dinner with local, homemade limoncello. With dramatic landscapes, winding roads, and non-stop coastal views, it’s hard not to feel the romance in a place like the Amalfi Coast.
Then, cross the country to visit the Adriatic coastline in gorgeous Puglia, the heel of Italy’s boot. There you can visit charming seaside towns such as Monopoli, Ostuni, or Polignano a Mare, with dramatic limestone cliffs and crystalline water that can take your breath away! A jutting peninsula between the Adriatic and Ionian seas, travelers can find sandy beaches, pebble beaches and steep cliffs among the many Blue Flag awarded beaches. There are hundreds of beaches and beach towns to enjoy in Puglia, here are some of our favorites.
Revel in the seaside beauty of southern Italy on our Mediterranean Escape trip to the Amalfi Coast and Puglia.
Get your hearts pumping
For some, the best romantic date is action-packed. Luckily, Italy has a wealth of outdoor activities and adrenaline-packed adventures. By far the easiest place for this is the Dolomites, with skiing and snowshoeing options in the winter (and even heli-skiing for thrill-seekers) and hiking and biking in the summer. You could even try skiing or hiking on an active volcano. Mount Etna in Sicily is Europe’s biggest volcano and one of the most active in the world! A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Etna is a fundamental part of Sicily’s history and geography, and also happens to offer some great adventures for active travelers!
Travelers to Italy can tour caves in Le Marche, sea-kayak off the coasts of Elba and Sardinia, ride bikes in Tuscany, and cliff-jump in Puglia. There are plenty of active options in Italy. Sometimes getting moving and trying something new together is romance enough in such beautiful destinations!
Explore the breathtaking Dolomite mountain range by day and relax in mountain lodges at night on our Alpine Adventure trip in the Dolomites
Ignite your taste buds with a wine tasting
Dive into the sights, aromas, and tastes of Italy with a romantic vineyard tour and wine tasting. For many, Italy is synonymous with wine, and what better way to try it than with a fully immersive experience? Some favorite vineyards are in Tuscany, but remember, it’s not the only world-class wine produced in Italy. Try a wine tasting in the verdant green hills of Montefalco, Umbria or in Piedmont’s Langhe region, a UNESCO World Heritage site for its wine production.
It’s in Piedmont that you can find the “king of wines” made from the delicious Nebbiolo grapes: Barolo. Home to Barolo and Barbaresco, challenge your loved one to find different varietals and discover different native grapes, like Ruchè, Grignolino and Moscato Bianco, or Arneis and Roero. Wine, cheese, the pungent and decadent white truffle, charming villages and rolling Italian vineyards – it’s everything you need for romance.
Tour vineyards and delight in Piedmont’s gastronomical delights with Ciao Andiamo on our Castles, Truffles and Barolo trip. Click here to learn more!
Indulge in a lingering, Italian dinner
Here’s How to Find Romance in Beautiful Italy
When in Rome, do as the Romans do. The easiest way to “look like a local” is to eat like a local. Italians love their food and they wholeheartedly enjoy a good meal. So, when in Italy, get caught up in the dolce vita and don’t rush it! Whether you’re in the Eternal City soaking in the romance of Rome, in the sun-kissed land of Sicily, or the tip-top of the Alps, you can enjoy a lingering Italian dinner.
Order an antipasto, a primo, a secondo. Enjoy the conversation, the company. Take a break before dessert and coffee. Linger, indulge, and soak in the true romance of Italy. Buon appetito!