Our Italy Honeymoon Itinerary

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Before planning the wedding, before getting engaged even, we decided on our Honeymoon location.  We were going to eat gelato, get lost along the canals in Venice, journey through the rolling hills of Tuscany, and walk the cobblestone streets of Rome.  We began our honeymoon by spending 8 days on mainland Italy, before boarding a cruise to the Greek Isles.  We packed a lot into our first week, so we could truly relax while sailing around Greece the week after.  I arguably spent the same amount of time planning our honeymoon as I did the wedding.  In this post, I outline our itinerary and our favorite moments, in hopes of helping future travelers to Italy.  We split up our time in Italy between Venice, Florence, and Rome.

 The first sunset of our Honeymoon, overlooking the Grand Canal.

The first sunset of our Honeymoon, overlooking the Grand Canal.

Day 1: Venice, Italy

2:00 pm - Arrived at Marco Polo Airport

2:45 pm - Boarded an Alilaguna boat from the airport to the stop closest to our Airbnb.

  • Alilaguna are public boats that include lines to take you from Marco Polo Airport to various spots around Venice.  We bought one-way tickets online in advance to save a couple euros.  We took the orange (Arancio) line to Guglie, which took just under 45 minutes.  We did arrive at a popular time, so we waited for a boat for 10-15 minutes at the airport.  Taking a boat was a great way to arrive into the beautiful Venice.  On the way in, you pass the Murano island.
  • Alilaguna is slightly more expensive than taking a bus into Venice, but the boats will likely drop you off closer to your hotel, avoiding additional cost or time.
  • If you have never used Airbnb before, sign up using my link to get $40 off.

4:00 pm - Checked into Airbnb

  • Airbnbs (and hotels) in Italy require paying city council fees upon arrival that is a set amount per person per night, collected by the host in cash.  

4:30 pm - Walked to Rialto Bridge

  • To avoid jet lag and make most of our limited time in Venice, we immediately changed and got out onto the canals.  Prior to our trip, we downloaded offline google maps of all the cities we were visiting to help with navigation without cell service.  We walked along the canals, following our map until we reached Rialto Bridge.  It is easy to get lost in Venice, but that is half the charm of the floating city.  There are frequent signs pointing to St. Mark's Square and Rialto bridge along the walls if you get really disoriented.

5:15 pm - Walked to Piazza San Marco

6:00 pm - Looked out over Venice in San Marco Campanile (bell tower)

  • We have a tradition of going to a tower, building, or overlook to view the scenery on our first day of a new destination.  It helps us get our bearings and get excited for the places we will explore.

7:00 pm - Ate dinner a few blocks away from San Marco Square

  • The further away the restaurant is from the main attractions, the cheaper the prices and more likely it will be authentic. 

8:00 pm - Grabbed Gelato at SuSo Gelatoteca, the best gelato in Venice and our 2nd favorite of the whole trip

8:30 pm - Finished off the day eating gelato, while watching the sunset on the Rialto Bridge overlooking the Grand Canal

 View of Basilica Santa Maria della Salute from a Vaporetto.

View of Basilica Santa Maria della Salute from a Vaporetto.

Day 2: venice, Italy

We ran out of our leftover Euros from a previous trip the day before, so our first priority was to withdraw Euros at a local ATM using a debit card.  Before our trip, we made sure to inform the bank of the trip and acquire our PIN (we rarely use debit cards and had forgotten the number).  However, for some European ATMs, PIN numbers are 6-digits instead of the 4-digit PIN we had.  We went back to our Airbnb to call the bank to acquire a 6-digit PIN, but due to the time difference, Capital One's call center was not open (we have since gotten a new bank account with a 24/7 call center).  The call center would not open until after noon our time and we had a tour scheduled before then, so we had to skip breakfast and got a late start to our day.  We managed fairly well during the first half of our day only using a credit card, but we did have to skip the San Giorgio Maggiore bell tower.  In the end, the solution to using our 4-digit PIN was to put 00 at the end.

10:00 am - Took a Vaporetto to San Marco Square

  • Vaporettos are Venice's public water buses.  These are operated by ACTV transit company and tickets can be purchased from newspaper stands and machines throughout Venice.  We bought a 24-hour pass.

11:00 am - Doge's Palace Secret Itineraries Tour 

  • Amazing tour of the hidden and locked rooms of the Doge's Palace.  You are guided by a historian who provides background into the palace and the important events that went on in the administrative offices and the prison.  You see a torture chamber and the cells where Casanova was locked up.  Truly a romantic excursion!  You have to book this tour in advance and it occasionally sells out.  The guided tour is just of the hidden rooms; after, you are free to explore the public parts of the palace.

2:00 pm - Ate lunch

2:45 pm - Walked to Basilica Santa Maria della Salute

  • Along the walk, we ran into a free glass and bone exhibit by Jan Fabre for the Venice Biennale.  If you are visiting during the Biennale, be sure to check out the locations of these unique art galleries.  We fortuitously came across 4 different galleries while walking around Venice, with themes ranging from human bone to undersea statues, all free of charge.  

3:45 pm - Vaporetto to San Giorgio Maggiore Island

  • This is a small island directly across from Piazza San Marco.  It provides the amazing and popular views of Venice and the lagoon.  It is also a lot less busy than the main islands of Venice and allows some respite from the crowds.

4:30 pm - Vaporetto to Piazza San Marco

  • We had planned to go to St. Mark's Basilica at this time, hoping that some of the crowds died down.  Upon looking at the line to get in, we skipped it.  We knew we would see many more cathedrals during our trip.  Instead, we walked around Piazza San Marco and along the waterfront promenade, or Riva degli Schiavoni. 

5:00 pm - Vaporetto back to Airbnb

  • We changed for the evening and got cash from the ATM.

6:30 pm - Gondola Ride

  • Nowadays, gondola rides are a set price, which increases after 7 pm.  There are gondola stations at various points around Venice.  We waited at a station in the Cannaregio neighborhood until a gondolier came from finishing up a previous ride.  There was no need for price negotiation and we paid him the official rate for our 40-minute ride when it was finished.  The gondolier had a set path through the more residential canals, passing Marco Polo's house, and a short journey on the Grand Canal.  
  • We highly recommend getting a Gondola ride away from the more popular area such as St. Mark's Square and Rialto Bridge.  Along our ride, we only came across 1 other gondola. 

7:30 pm - Dinner at Pizzeria Ristorante Al Faro, which was recommended by our host

  • Great service and good food.  We did not have a single bad meal in Italy.

 

 
 Ended our second day in Venice with more gelato watching the sunset on another bridge just outside our Airbnb.

Ended our second day in Venice with more gelato watching the sunset on another bridge just outside our Airbnb.

 View of Florence from Giotto's Bell Tower in Piazza del Duomo.

View of Florence from Giotto's Bell Tower in Piazza del Duomo.

 

Day 3: Florence, Italy

9:00 am - Grabbed pastries for breakfast at a nearby bakery and spent our remaining couple hours people watching on the canals

10:45 am - Walked to Venezia Santa Lucia train station

11:33 am - 1:40pm - Train: Venice to Florence

  • For our major train journeys, we pre-purchased train tickets through Trenitalia online before arriving in Italy. They often run 2 for 1 sales on tickets if you purchase in advance.  During busy times, trains can sell out or can be difficult to find seats together.
  • We were on the fairly-new high-speed Frecciarossa 1000 train.  Compared to the older trains we took later in the trip, this train was nicer inside and definitely faster.  The train made 3 very quick stops.  For a few dollars more, we were in Premium economy.  Compared to standard, this coach provides leather seats, a bit more room, a newspaper and a drink. 

1:45 pm - Arrived in Firenze S. M. Novella train station and dropped off bags at Deposito Bagagli a Mano

  • We could not check into Airbnb until later, so we dropped off our suitcases to allow us to explore Florence.

2:00 pm - Walked to Galleria dell' Accademia

  • I highly recommend pre-booking admission to all museums you visit in Italy.  Most monuments and museums often have long lines that stretch down the block and can last an hour or more.  If you are on a tight schedule or want to get the most out of your trip, pre-booking tickets can mean you can fit an extra sight or two into your itinerary.  
  • Galleria dell' Accademia is known for housing Michelangelo's David.  The David statue was magnificent, but that was the only thing worth seeing, in our opinion. This museum can be skipped if short on time or if you are even less interested in art than we are.

3:00 pm - Walked to the Duomo Complex

  • Pre-book tickets to the Duomo Complex in order to arrange a time to climb the Dome.  You must schedule a time when buying tickets.  The ticket includes all five monuments, including the cathedral itself.  Make sure to print and bring all of your forms with you.  They scan your overall ticket when accessing each monument, not the individual tickets you may get for your reserved time at the Dome and Bell Tower.

3:30 pm - Brunelleschi’s Dome Climbing

  • If you are in average shape, we highly recommend this.  The views from the top of the dome are spectacular, but half of the experience is actually climbing the dome.  Half-way through you get to see the frescoes on the inner shell up close.  Past that, you climb up stairs in tight passage-ways that are meant for one-way traffic but have people going in both directions (to and from the lookout at the top).  The final stairs are quite steep, eventually turning into a ladder.  However, once at the cupola, it is all worth it.  

5:00 pm - Giotto’s Bell Tower

  • Just to torture our knees a bit more, we walked up the bell tower right after climbing the dome.  The views from the bell tower, allowed us to get photos of Florence with the Duomo in it.  There are multiple levels to the bell tower allowing for frequent stops to rest or get photos at different heights.

6:00 pm - Walked back to train station, retrieved bags, and checked into Airbnb

  • Great Airbnb within walking distance to all major Florence sights and monuments.  It is in a great piazza by the central market (great for breakfast) and amazing restaurants, and close to the train station.

7:30 pm - Ate Dinner at Trattoria Zà Zà

  • Amazing restaurant with a very large menu that is translated into multiple languages.  We ate here twice while we were in Florence.  They are also known for their many truffle dishes.  When in Tuscany - eat truffles
 Watching the sunset from Piazzale Michelangelo overlooking Florence.

Watching the sunset from Piazzale Michelangelo overlooking Florence.

Day 4: Florence & Pisa, Italy

10:00 am - Train to Pisa

  • We bought one-way tickets at the station the day of to allow more flexibility.  Trains to Pisa are frequent and you can check the schedule in advance. 

11:00 am - Walked to the Leaning Tower of Pisa

12:30 pm - Ate lunch a few blocks away from the Leaning Tower

1:30 pm - Train back to Florence

2:30 pm - Walked to Duomo to see rest of Duomo complex, including the cathedral and monastery

  • Florence's Duomo still ranks as my favorite cathedral around the world.  The outside and the way it stands out from the rest of the city is breath-taking.  The inside of the cathedral, aside from the frescos, is pretty standard of Italian cathedrals.  

4:00 pm - Mid-afternoon break in Airbnb

6:30 pm - Walked to Piazzale Michelangelo to watch the sunset

  • Along the way, we passed Piazza della Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio, and Ponte Vecchio
  • This is an absolute must do while in Florence!  You will definitely not be alone while viewing the sunset, but it is the best sunset view we saw in Italy!

8:30 pm - Dinner at Trattoria Zà Zà (again)

Day 5: Siena, Italy

 View of Tuscany from the roof of Siena Cathedral.

View of Tuscany from the roof of Siena Cathedral.

9:30 - 11:00 am - Bus to Siena

  • Bus station or Autostzione, is located at Via Santa Caterina da Siena.  We took bus 131R which travels directly to Siena.  Check the schedule in advance, there are typically multiple buses a day to and from Siena.  We bought round-trip tickets at the station in Florence the day of.  You must validate the tickets in the machine as you board the bus.  Right before you arrive in Siena, we had an authority get aboard the bus to check everyone had validated tickets.  Bus ride may take longer or shorter, depending on traffic.  There is a train into Siena, but drops off quite far outside the city and costs more.  

11:00 am - Walked to Piazza del Campo, Palazzo Comunale

  • This is the famous town hall square, where they still have their famous horse races in July.

12:00 am - Ate Lunch at a small pizzeria

1:00 pm - Bought tickets to Siena Cathedral - Porta del Cielo (Gate of Heaven)

  • We purchased day-of for the cathedral, as it is not known to have long lines as in larger Italian cities.  We bought the Porta del Cielo ticket to access the cathedral roofs.  The tour to the cathedral roof is guided and easier to get up and around than the Duomo in Florence.  When purchasing the tickets, we scheduled a time for later in the day.

1:30 pm - Walked to the small park, Orti dei Tolomei.

  • This park has a country-side feel with many olive and fruit trees but is in the middle of the city.  It has beautiful views of the Tuscan countryside beyond the city.

2:30 pm - Explored the inside and museums of Siena Cathedral

3:00 pm - Tour of Cathedral roof

  • Highly recommend this tour!  Picturesque views of Siena and surrounding area.  Similar to the Duomo climb in Florence, it includes views inside the cathedral from above.

5:00 pm - Ate gelato, bought souvenirs, and walked around the main streets of Siena

6:00 pm - Bus back to Florence

  • To avoid being stranded in Siena, do not get the last bus back to Florence.  The bus we took at 6 pm had 2x the amount of people waiting for the bus than could fit on it.  We got to the bus station 15 minutes before it was scheduled to depart, but when the bus arrived (10 minutes late), the line turned into a mob pushing to get onto the bus.  We luckily were still able to get on, but a good amount of people had to wait for the next bus.  This ride back to Florence took over 2 hours, due to traffic.

 

Day 6: Rome, Italy

9:00 am - Ate Breakfast from Florence Central Market

10:30 am - Walked to Firenze Santa Maria Novella train station

11:24 am - 12:55 pm - Train from Florence to Rome Termini

  • Pre-purchased train tickets through Trenitalia online before arriving in Italy.

1:00 pm - Metro to Airbnb

  • We loved this Airbnb!  Marco, our host, was fantastic and had homemade muffins for us for breakfasts.  Very unique place with an awesome shower!  It was not as central as our other Airbnbs, but nearly all areas of Rome will require the use of metro to get to all of the sights.
  • The machines to buy metro tickets do not take large bills, so make sure you have smaller bills on you to buy tickets.  We bought single-use tickets as we went.  Calculate how many times you will use the metro a day to see if a standard ticket or a 24,48,72 pass is cheaper.

2:00 pm - Metro to Spanish Steps (Spanga stop)

2:30 pm - Lunch near Spanish Steps

3:30 pm - Walked to Trevi Fountain

  • Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain are both quick picture spots and will likely too busy during peak times to want to stay at for any length.

4:00 pm - Walked to the Pantheon 

4:45 pm - Gelato at Gelateria Giolitti

  • This was our favorite gelato in Italy!  We managed to go twice during our 3 days in Rome, and it was packed both times.  You first go to the cashier and pay for how many scoops you want and they give you a receipt which you take to the counter.  They had a very wide selection of flavors.

5:00 pm - Explored Villa Borghese park

  • This is a huge park, similar to Central Park in New York, that is filled with elegant gardens, statues, large lakes, fountains, and many mature trees.  It is huge, so one great way to see it is by renting a bike or a 2-seater electric bike at one of the many stands throughout the park.  When renting a bike, they often require you to leave an ID for security.  There are some bad reviews of these bike rental companies online of fraud or losing IDs, so we gave them an old school ID instead of a credit card or passport just in case.  However, we had no problems and thoroughly enjoyed the electric bike.

7:00 pm - Metro back to Airbnb

 
Our Italy Honeymoon Itinerary - A Happy Passport #italy #honeymoon #travel
Our Italy Honeymoon Itinerary - A Happy Passport #italy #honeymoon #travel
 

Day 7: Rome, Italy

8:30 am - Public Bus to Fori Imperiali- Campidoglio

  • Unlike many other European capital cities, the metro (or subway) system in Rome is lacking. This is not without trying.  The amount of underground ruins in Rome, often prevents expansion of their transit system. For this reason, you will likely need to use a public bus or two while in Rome.  These use the same tickets and passes as the metro and are just as easy to use.  While on the bus, make sure to be aware of the stops that are going by to get off at the right time. 

9:00 am - Took a Segway Tour around Rome

  • Yes, we were those dweebs on Segways moving around crowds at the major sights.  It allowed us to visit a lot of places, with a guide who knew the history of what we were seeing.  Eric absolutely loved being on Segway.  I, on the other hand, was a bit more anxious while riding on it but it was manageable and the guide does a great job making you feel at ease. 

1:00 pm - Walked to the Vatican

1:30 pm - Tour of Necropolis under the Vatican

  • Even if you are not religious, a tour of the necropolis, or ancient underground cemetery under the Vatican, is fascinating.  You not only see a glimpse of Saint Peter's tomb, but many other unique archeological artifacts and crypts.  A small group of 12 or so people is led by someone who works at the Vatican and tickets sell out months in advance.

3:00 pm - Saint Peter's Basilica 

4:00 pm - Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel

  • Museum and Sistine Chapel were impressive but were extremely packed!  Most of the rooms you were shoulder to shoulder with other visitors, waddling along.  In our opinion, it was not worth dealing with the large crowds inside the museum to see the Sistine Chapel.

6:00 pm - Metro back to Airbnb

7:00 pm - Dinner at Pizzeria da Simonetta

  • Very fast and tasty authentic Italian food recommended by our Airbnb host.  If you are staying in the area, check it out.

Day 8: Rome, Italy

10:45 am - Walked to Colosseum

11:20 am - Underground and Third Ring Tour

  • This tour takes you to spots in the Colosseum only accessible with a guide. We booked the tour through the Colosseum, which is cheaper than other independent tours and uses a guide that works at the Colosseum.  The guide explains all the many uses of the Colosseum throughout the years.  Tickets go on sale quarterly and sell out quickly after they get put up on the site.

1:00 pm - Lunch nearby the Colosseum

2:00 pm - Palatine Hill & Roman Forum

  • Just like the Colosseum, these spots, which are included in your ticket, are not to be missed.

The rest of the day we did laundry, repacked, and relaxed before our early morning the next day to catch a cruise to the Greek Isles!

 

Just a few final tips:

  • We loved staying in various Airbnb (link includes a $40 credit on your first trip) houses throughout our trip.  We booked accommodations under the "entire place" category to allow for privacy and let our hosts know we were on our Honeymoon.  Some of our hosts gave us chocolate or cookies, or even covered the bed in rose petals.  
  • Try to pack as little as possible.  If you are frequently using trains, the fewer bags you have to manage, the better.  We were able to pack everything for our 3-week honeymoon in 2 carry-ons.  We specifically chose airbnbs with in-unit washer and dryers and re-wore clothes a few times on our trip, often mixing tops and bottoms.
  • Watch every sunset.  The best moments of the honeymoon were relaxing for that 15 minutes to watch the sun go down on overlooking the beautiful city we were in that day.

 

Check out the video we made of our honeymoon:

 
 

Our 8-Day Italy Honeymoon Itinerary - A Happy Passport.  Plan the perfect honeymoon in Italy that includes Venice, Florence, and Rome. #italy #honeymoon #rome #venice #florence

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