Last Updated on October 1, 2023
Italy is a place to fall in love – with your partner or yourself. Exploring this wildly beautiful country, from its untamed landscapes to storybook towns, makes it easy to romanticize your life. Whether you’re preparing for the ultimate honeymoon, itching to experience a fairytale in hidden gem locations, or wanting to recapture self-love amid jaw-dropping scenery, these are the most romantic places in Italy to do it in.
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Is there anything more romantic than sitting in the warmth of a cozy trattoria, in a valley cuddled by soaring mountain peaks, while the snow falls on the pine trees and alpine houses?
The cold may not be your particular idea of romance, but Courmayeur will change your opinion on that. If you’re searching for a winter-in-Italy honeymoon destination, this is the perfect place for you. This ski resort town is anything but tacky and touristy. The setting is intimate: charm oozes from its stone streets, the dramatic Western Alps hug it from all sides.
What to Do
Outdoor sports in the spring, summer, and winter are Courmayeur’s typical draw but the most romantic things to do are exploring the natural valleys of Val Ferret and Val Veny, strolling the downtown area, and visiting Monte Bianco, the highest mountain in the Alps.
The Skyway Monte Bianco is a must-do experience for those seeking romance and adventure. This cable car takes you to new heights: the highest point in Italy, to be exact.
Verona, home of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, might be the official most romantic place in Italy. The city is intimate, from the winding, narrow streets to the Adige River swirling through its center. Not to mention its rose-tinted buildings and characteristic cobblestones set the tone for romance – no wonder it is called the City of Love.
The city is also very walkable, so you can cover it in as little as a day to fit more into your northern Italy itinerary.
What to Do
Starting on one end of the city and making your way across, your first stop must be the Castelvecchio, or Scaligero Castle, built in the 13th century. The fortified structure is incredible from the inside, but the place to feel the love is along the Castelvecchio Bridge, with magical glimpses of the riverbank through its “windows”.
Verona is fairly small but overflowing with beautiful things to see and unique things to do.
Walk to the center and visit the Verona Arena, Piazza dell’Erba, and Juliet’s House. In these central areas, you will often find markets full of artisanal products. And while the plazas may be all hustle and bustle, the best part of Verona is taking notice of and exploring the quiet, charming side streets.
Fall even more in love with Verona on a food & wine tour, tasting the region’s famous Amarone della Valpolicella.
End the day viewing the sunset from Castel San Pietro, overlooking the rose-gold city and flowing river below. Get there early for a spot along the walls!
3. Borghetto sul Mincio
Italian villages don’t get much more storybook than Borghetto sul Mincio. Nestled in the Veneto countryside, not far from Verona, Lake Garda, and the busyness of the A4 highway, this town is a pocket of quiet peace straight from a fairytale.
Get the full breakdown on how to spend a perfect day in Borghetto sul Mincio.
What to Do
It may be small, but Borghetto sul Mincio is bursting with charm. The first thing you must do is walk through town (full walking itinerary in the post linked about). Stop for a coffee or, better yet, lunch at the Caffè Visconti, a picturesque restaurant nestled between the village and the flowing river.
After exploring the town and crossing the central wooden bridge, turn left to have an intimate walk among nature along the river and into the quiet. If you visit Italy in summer, there is a sweet lady who rides her bike/gelato cart to this area – and the gelato is the perfect complement to a walk.
Return to town and head toward the Visconti Bridge – you’ll find a few ways to get lost, but it is for the best. Walk along the various paths surrounded by vineyards, with views of the Castello Scaligero, and eventually find your way up to the Ponte Visconteo, dating back to the early 1300s. It’s at this point you’ll have to pinch yourself to believe the fairytale setting is real.
Where to Stay: The most romantic place to stay in Borghetto sul Mincio is Corte Regia Relais & Spa.
If Borghetto sul Mincio wonders you with its charm, Portovenere will take your breath away with its vast and unimaginable landscapes. While it too is a small village, Portovenere boasts larger-than-life scenery that can only be described as a piece of romantic heaven on Earth.
Often referred to as the “sixth Cinque Terre”, Portovenere is a true hidden gem on the Ligurian coast, a stone’s throw away from those famous riviera towns. It’s a best-kept secret, which is what makes it one of the most romantic places in Italy.
Read more about Portovenere, Italy to plan your trip to the fullest.
What to Do
The theme of this post may as well be small towns that boast a lot to see and do because Portovenere also fits that description.
Starting from the charming town center, stroll past the fountain and over to a set of steep, untamed steps. Ascend the mysterious path to reach the Castello Doria and an unbelievable view over the Mediterranean.
Making your way back down the unforgiving stairs, don’t stroll to the harbor just yet – turn quickly to the right and squeeze through the Porta del Borgo, the entrance to the narrowest main street potentially ever seen in an Italian town. Wind your way past artisan shops and the attractive scent of traditional Ligurian pesto. Before you know it you are thrown out the other end of the street with a larger-than-life view of the Chiesa di San Pietro (St. Peter’s Church) and Lord Byron’s Grotto – one of the most incredibly beautiful corners on Earth, where the sun dances on the crashing waves.
It will be hard to leave the view, but as night falls, that is the perfect time to finally stroll the harbor, as the town center along the water is aglow with tiny lights across every colorful building.
5. Cinque Terre
Known around the world, the once unassuming fishing villages of the Cinque Terre now attract millions of visitors. And while the crowds can dampen the romance, visiting on the shoulder season of early June or September means you can have the beautiful weather and views all to your loved up self. (Maybe not all to yourself, but with significantly fewer people.)
It’s more romantic to visit the Cinque Terre over a few days, but on a packed Italy trip, many will opt for a one-day Cinque Terre itinerary.
Where to Stay
Check out this guide on where to stay in Cinque Terre.
What to Do
There are many things to do in Cinque Terre but the most romantic are:
- Stroll the Old Town of Monterosso al Mare
- Take in the view at St. Mary’s Terrance in Corniglia
- Picnic in Manarola above the Nessun Dorma restaurant (see the guide above on how to reach this hidden spot)
- Watch the sunset from the Riomaggiore rocks or from the water on a sunset cruise
- Hike the Blue Trail from Monterosso al Mare to Vernazza
- Relax at one of the many Cinque Terre beaches
When people think of Italian luxury and romance, the first place that comes to mind is Lake Como. From exclusive, ornate villas to the sparkling deep blue water to the peaks of the Alps touching the sky above, the atmosphere dazzles.
But Lake Como’s most romantic spot is not showy Bellagio or one of the gigantic designer villas – it is the quiet town of Varenna, ever-so-slightly perched on a peninsula on the west shore. The amenities of a parking garage, but the charm of a sleep lakeside town at arguably the most beautiful intersection of the lake make Varenna a must-stop on your itinerary.
Learn more about visiting Lake Como in one day.
What to Do
Varenna, like some of the other towns on this list, is small but full of hidden gems waiting to surprise you around every corner.
The town sits on a bit of a hill and makes a steep descent to parts of the lake’s shores. Get lost in the streets, many of which lead to openings along the water that seem uniquely discoverable to you.
Somewhere you must walk? Varenna’s Walk of Lovers. It’s a short, suspended path above the water, winding along the curves of the mountainside, which takes you to Varenna’s pier, where you can catch a ferry for other towns on the lake.
The other two can’t-miss locations in Varenna are right beside each other, off of the Old Town. The first is Villa Monastero, a botanical garden and museum that oozes romance and spectacular views. A visit to Villa Monastero costs 8 euros, but there’s a best-kept secret below the villa that is free. If you weren’t paying attention, you would easily miss the sign written: “Most romantic view in 200 steps”, pointing down a long, cascading stone staircase.
Bergamo is a hidden gem Italian city in the northern region of Lombardy. Bergamo’s medieval Upper Town soaring above its modern Lower Town creates the unique feeling of traveling through time.
It also happens to be where I reside as an expat in Italy, so instead of writing thousands of words about the best way to see the city, I have created a separate post overflowing with information about things to do in Bergamo. Discover all my local secrets, my recommendations on where to stay, and learn more about the city’s history that makes it oh-so-romantic.
Sirmione is one of the best towns to visit on Lake Garda. Perched on a peninsula on the south end of the lake, Sirmione embodies romance in the form of quiet luxury: 360° water views, a castle fit for royals, and quaint, shaded walking paths through olive groves and side streets.
What to Do
The Castello Scaligero is Sirmione’s main attraction situated in the very center of the town’s activity; you won’t miss it. Explore the peninsula by following the wrap-around boardwalk, as well as the paths that head up the hilly cape. At the very end of the peninsula are the Grotte di Catullo, the ruins of a Roman villa dating back to the 1st century BC, which you can visit for 14€.
You can’t visit Sirmione without being tempted to explore Lake Garda by boat. Luckily there are unique tour options that let you experience Sirmione from the most romantic spot, the water.
9. Val di Funes
While the Dolomites themselves are one of the most romantic places in Italy, Val di Funes sets itself apart with its intimate atmosphere: unspoiled beauty, from the pristine green pastures to the wild mountain peaks.
Where to Stay
Check out this in-depth guide on where to stay in the Dolomites.
What to Do
Check out my guide to Val di Funes about what to do and see, as well as practical tips for visiting.
Venice is at the top of any romantic Italy trip bucket list. Walking through the winding alleys of Venice, something new surprises you around every corner. Outside of the Piazza San Marco, the city feels like your own personal undiscovered paradise, quiet passageways revealing intimate canal openings.
What to Do
Besides the famous places to visit like the Doge’s Palace and the Rialto Bridge, there are plenty of unique things to do in Venice that add to the feeling that the city is your own intimate maze of canals and alleys to explore.
Start with the best view of the impressive and intricate Basilica Santa Maria della Salute from the Ponte dell’Accademia, then enter the maze of canals in the San Marco neighborhood. But before running straight to the tourist hubs, visit the Libreria Acqua Alta, a unique bookstore situated on one of the picture-perfect canals.
Any corner of Venice’s streets, where stone passageways meet canal, can be an intimate spot for romance, but the hidden gem spot at Piscina S. Moise 1459-1461, 30124 Venezia is particularly charming.
Two of the best (and lesser-known) viewpoints in the city are from the Scala Contarini del Bovolo, a romantic winding staircase, and the rooftop of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi department store. Both require a reservation, but the department store view is free. (The Scala Contarini del Bovolo admission costs 8€.)
Florence is the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, the country’s hub of culture and art. Not too big and not too small, the city can be both quaint and metropolitan: a perfect compromise between romance and adventure.
What to Do
Florence is a place for lovers, but most of all, lovers of history and cultural experiences. From the Uffizi art gallery to Michelangelo’s David at the Accademia, the world’s most famous artworks are at your fingertips. (You won’t be able to actually touch them though.)
The most romantic part of Florence lies in the Oltrarno, south of the Arno River, away from the Duomo. The neighborhood of San Niccoló is particularly intimate and quiet. Plus it’s on your way to one of the best views of Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo.
Along the way to Piazzale Michelangelo, stop at the Giardino delle Rose for another pinch-me view: this time surrounded by roses. Does it get more romantic than that?
Get started planning your visit by checking out your ideal 2 days in Florence itinerary.
Good to know: Florence is the perfect place to base yourself for part of your itinerary. From Florence, you could easily take day trips to many of the other most romantic places in Italy.
12. Val d’Orcia
Val d’Orcia is an area in southern Tuscany, an UNESCO World Heritage Site and its the ultimate romantic getaway. Its breathtaking hilly landscape and overt italianness are now Insta-famous. It doesn’t get as “pinch me, I’m dreaming” as slowly exploring the peaceful rolling plains of the world’s most famous vineyards and frequenting historic hamlets that feel stuck in time.
What to Do
Val d’Orcia makes for a perfect day trip from Florence, being just a couple of hours from the city. While you should make time for one day in Siena, strolling the small town of Pienza and soaking up its hilltop views over the Tuscan countryside is a must-do on any romantic Italian itinerary.
The same goes for Montepulciano, an idyllic medieval village terraced on another characteristic Tuscan hill. The region is world-famous for its wine, so going on a wine tour through Pienza and Montepulciano is a rite of passage.
You’ll wind through the valley seeing many worthy viewpoints, but the most beautiful is the Podere Belvedere near San Quirico d’Orcia.
Rome, Italy – that’s amore! The Italian capital is innately romantic. Being surrounded by centuries-old buildings, incredible food, and distinct neighborhoods, all characteristic in their own way is an invigorating experience.
While Rome may be well-trafficked, it’s actually in its busyness that you find intimacy – the closeness of a moment shared just between you and the one you love amongst the beautiful chaos.
What to Do
Rome requires at least a few days of your trip itinerary to experience all of its glory. The Coliseum, Trevi Fountain, and Spanish Steps are perfect examples of Rome’s beautiful chaos to fall in love with.
But some of the more intimate spots include the gardens of Villa Borghese and the characteristic neighborhood of Trastevere, throughout which you can find cozy trattorias and some of the best food in Rome.
The impressive structures and breathtaking interiors of St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel make visiting the Vatican City another must-do.
Up the romance: The most romantic way to experience one of the most romantic places in Italy is by Vespa!
14. Amalfi Coast
When you think about “la dolce vita,” those cascading colorful towns perched above the deep turquoise Mediterranean instantly come to mind. Positano and the Amalfi Coast are famed for being romantic places in Italy, marked by the luxurious hotels, the iconic wedding venues, and the exclusive surrounding islands like Capri and Ischia.
And while you’re looking for romance, why not fall in love with Italy alongside friends? The Amalfi Coast is an incredible Italy girl’s trip destination.
What to Do
The Amalfi Coast encompasses a slew of towns and islands: Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi, and Capri, just to name a few. So there is no shortage of amazing things to do, famous & hidden gem alike. Here are some highlights:
- Visit the Blue Grotto near Capri
- Boat cruise near Positano
- Beach in Amalfi
- Visit the Amalfi Cathedral
- Take in the view from Villa Cimbrone in Ravello
- Tour the islands of Capri, Ischia, and Italy’s 2022 Cultural Capital, Procida
- Day trip to Pompei and Paestum
Now we’ve arrived at the northern coast of Sicily. Visit in early-summer time to Cefalù, a seaside town that immerses you in unspoiled beauty and culture, two of the main reasons to visit Sicily, with its crystal-clear waters and jaw-dropping architecture.
What to Do
In Cefalù, the most romantic thing to do is a toss-up: lying on the beach, dipping into the Mediterranean Sea ever so often, or exploring the narrow, lively streets of the town center.
The town center’s must-see attraction is Cefalù Cathedral, a Norman church with architectural elements unique to Sicily’s long history of invaders, and the plaza in front of it, lined with palm trees and full of vivacious markets and people.
And don’t miss out on slipping away to the Bastione di Capo Marchiafava. It is a hidden overlook, accessible from the town center, with a panoramic view of the sea and the houses of Cefalù, built as one with the rocky coastline.
The last but not least of the most romantic places in Italy brings us to Matera, the third oldest city in the world and the oldest city in Europe.
Matera is magic: the 8,000-year-old city of caves, the Sassi di Matera, gives off wonder and timelessness.
It exudes romance in such a different way from any other place on this list. The element of curiosity is such an adventurous kind of thrill between a couple discovering the ancient city.
What to Do
The historic area of Matera is called Sassi di Matera. It is where roads and cave dwellings were as they were thousands of years ago. Discover rock churches like the Rupestri church St. Mary’s of Idris.
Get one of the best views of Matera venturing out to eh Parco della Murgia Materana.
For a romantic aperitif, check out Zipa Café, a cool bar that utilizes the elements to the fullest, making seating out of the rocks using an eclectic mix of pillows and blankets.
Travel Tips for Visiting the Most Romantic Places in Italy
A few helpful tips to keep the love alive and enjoy these destinations to the fullest:
- Visit during the off-season. Nothing kills the intimacy of Italy like big crowds of tourists. At times, they are unavoidable and you’re a visitor too, so you can’t get too mad about it. But when you can, to keep your trip the most romantic, visit during Italy’s general shoulder season of May-June and September-October. Research your particular destinations because certain regions have different peak seasons than others.
- Avoid basic tourist mistakes. Next best thing to make an Italian vacation a lot less romantic? Getting pickpocketed, luggage getting lost and having no clothes to wear, not having local currency on you, etc. Avoid tourist mistakes in Europe for a flawless trip.
- Consider bringing shoes to the beach. Jump in the Med’s shimmering waters, but avoid getting your feet get torn up by the tiny sharp rocks. Wincing in pain with every step on an Italian beach isn’t so romantic, so bring some swim shoes.
- Definitely wear comfortable shoes when out exploring. Speaking of staying comfortable to stay romantic, you’ll do lots of walking no matter what part of Italy you visit. Cobblestone streets nor wild hiking paths lend themselves nicely to cute shoes. Instead, wear comfortable walking shoes so you can focus on loving Italy and whoever your with (or yourself!) and not on your blistering feet.
Which one of these romantic places in Italy are you dying to visit?
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I hope this mix of famous and hidden gem romantic places in Italy has inspired you to fall in love with all the unique and stunning parts of the country.