When daydreaming about your perfect romantic getaway, I’m sure you’ve imagined jet setting off to Italy with your sweetheart, at least once or twice.
, and it’s no wonder why. I had quite a romanticized idea of Italy before I traveled through the country, and let me tell you it wasn’t too far off from reality. Traveling alone is one thing, but when you explore
with your significant other, the experience is truly magical.
Let’s take a step back from the daydreaming for just a moment though. Everyone loves to take a romantic holiday with their partner, but not everyone is so eager to give up the comforts of their abode just for an authentic experience. What if there was a new way to travel?
If you could take an authentic, eco-friendly escape on your next romantic holiday in Italy
without compromising your comfort, wouldn't you choose this option over anything else? It seems like a no brainer for me. When many people hear sustainable travel
, their mind immediately paints a picture of a granola bar munching hippy, cold showers and berry picking. Well, let me tell you from experience, this is highly inaccurate. You can focus on conscious travel
without sacrificing all your comforts.
Since Italy is one of my most beloved countries to travel to, I couldn’t help but share this list of Eco-Friendly Escapes of the Top 15 Romantic Places in Italy!
Here’s a snapshot below (continue reading for more info on each place)
1. The Island of Ischia, Naples (Best Romantic Escape)
2. Gulf of Poets, Ligurian Riviera (Lover’s Lane)
3. Matera, South of Italy (City of Caves)
4. Val di Nan Valley, Trentino (Nature Escape)
5. Metauro Valley, March (Rural Seclusion)
6. Taormina, Sicily (Lover’s Cave)
7. Spoleto, Umbria (Medieval Feel)
8. Lucca, Tuscany (Charming Walled Town)
9. San Gimignano, Tuscany (Medieval Wonder)
10. Monterosso al Mare, Liguria (Beach Paradise)
11. Positano, Campania (Picturesque Coves)
12. Portofino, Génova (Honeymooners Hangout)
13. Lake Como, Lombardia (Stunning Views)
14. Costa Smeralda, Sardinia (Crystal Clear Waters)
15. Bellagio, Lombardia (Pearl of the Lake)
Before diving in, let's define a few terms:
Simply put, eco-travel is conscious travel. It is about making more conscious choices when deciding how you get around, where you stay, what you eat, and generally, where you spend your money. With every choice, you want to be creating a positive impact on everything around you. The concept goes past the focus on preservation of nature while traveling to conservation areas or natural parks. Eco-travel is fully encompassing and focuses on low impact travel. Eco-friendly escapes are also referred to as, eco-tourism or green travel.
A tourist accommodation that abides by the strict standards and Bio Hotel guidelines (these vary from country to country). In a nutshell, Bio Hotels are ones that support the practice of using eco-friendly energy, buying locally, and overall, contribute to a sustainable economy in all possible areas.
Translating to “scattered hotel.” The idea is that traditionally styled rooms are scattered across different buildings in a town, and ran by one manager. You can compare it to a holiday apartment. An Albergo Diffuso offers all the essential services a hotel would while allowing you to immerse yourself in the middle of village life. These accommodations are just a reconversion of an existing room, which eliminates the need to build an entirely new hotel.
Romance in Italy
If you were expecting me to define this for you, sorry but this one is up to you. I can say that the romantic places in Italy I’ve featured here, all fit the bill no matter what your thoughts and interpretations are of romance.
Romantic Places in Italy
1. The Island of Ischia, Naples
I’ll start here as this was the first place in Italy, I not only felt romance in the air but unexpectedly found it as well. I’m sure you have heard of the Island of Capri, 32 km off the coast of Napoli, but what about Ischia? I have experienced both places, and I can say with 100% certainty that Ischia is one of the most romantic places in Italy that also happens to be off the radar of many tourists. Visiting around October/November when temperatures are mild is the optimum time!
Romantic Highlights: Spend your afternoon taking a short hike to the top of Mount Epomeo. Dine at the best restaurant on the whole island, La Casareccia; I can vouch for its tasty dishes and amazing staff!
Eco-friendly Factor: Many local sustainable restaurants exist, all serving up local ingredients from no further away than around the corner.
2. Gulf of Poets, Ligurian Riviera
Even the name sounds dreamy! What could be more romantic than enjoying the intimate coastal vibes of the Gulf of Poets? Not a whole lot I’d say. The wide bay on the Eastern tip of the coast of Liguria offers lovers plenty of quaint villages to explore. Portovenere, La Spezia, and Lerici all have their unique touch of romance, mixed with either a medieval feel, drastic landscape views, cliff sides or all of the above!
Romantic Highlights: Follow the sea along Lover’s Lane; the pathway perched high above the cliffs, and connecting the villages along the Cinque Terre.
Eco-friendly Factor: The area boasts many eco-friendly accommodations, including small B&B’s, and camping spots overlooking the turquoise sea.
3. Matera, South of Italy
There’s an indescribable feeling when you enter the city of caves. Almost unknown to foreign visitors, Matera is one of the oldest continuously inhabited places on Earth. Once with a dark reputation, lover’s from all over are now discovering its beauty. Matera is one of those places with such a deeply rooted past, still visible in the present that you feel an instant connection to it. There’s an almost spiritual feeling among the caves. Matera is without a doubt one of the most unassuming romantic destinations in Italy. Allow the network of caves to connect you are your sweetheart on a subterranean level. Yes, that may sound cheesy, but seriously plan your visit, and see for yourself.
Romantic Highlights: Stroll along the road of the Sassi for panoramic views and the best look over the caves. Wander the labyrinth-like alleyways or walk through the ravine for an incredible vantage point over the city.
Eco-friendly Factor: When you travel to Matera, you are visiting a place where the tourism industry hasn’t yet taken over. Traveling to lesser-known destinations not only opens up your eyes, but it also helps fuel the economy for destinations that would have otherwise been passed over. Remember, Matera is a bit difficult to get to, and many people opt to drive there. In this case, reduce your carbon footprint by renting an energy efficient car on your eco-friendly escape.
4. Val di Nan Valley, Trentino
One of the best places to travel to for some romance in Italy is the Val di Nan Valley. The enchanting scenery, peaked mountains, glimmering lakes and surrounding quaint villages with incredible local food are going to take your breath away. There’s something so beautiful about a nature escape with your loved one. Trips like this get me every time, and I guarantee they’ll spark something in you too. The Val di Nan Valley is the perfect starting point for a day hike.
Although not difficult to find, if you hope to arrive with ease, you and your partner do require some good navigation and communications skills. For the more adventurous couples, pack your tent and hike into the mountains for your nature escape. Spending a weekend or longer with your partner, living the mountain life, is one of the best ways to deep dive into your romance.
Are you looking for a little more luxury than pitching a tent? Try your hand at glamping
, aka, fancy camping/luxury camping/camping with comfort. If you’re a nature lover that wants to be close to the sea, the #5 destination I’ll share is one of the most romantic in Italy for you!
Romantic Highlights: Spend your mornings enjoying quality time with your partner on a hike through the calm and tranquil valley. Explore surrounding villages, and join a local cooking class where you learn how to make traditional Alpine cheese. Finish the night by camping under the stars in the Val di Nan Valley.
Eco-friendly Factor: Visit the local orchards, where you have the opportunity to learn all about sustainable apple cultivation. Spend one of your romantic eco-friendly escapes in Italy, exploring nature while limiting your carbon footprint by hiking or biking across the valley.
5. Metauro Valley, Marche
One of the best places for romance in Italy is in the relatively undiscovered Metauro valley. You won’t find any mass tourism here. Instead, enjoy a romantic holiday amidst the rural seclusion. If you ask me, visiting uncharted valleys, exploring hilltop towns or discovering nearby hidden beaches, makes for the perfect romantic countryside getaway. Also, if anywhere in Italy has mastered the Albergo Diffuso philosophy, the Metauro Valley sure has!
Romantic Highlights: There’s plenty of walking trails that go past the treelines into clear meadows, offering stunning views over the whole valley. These are great places to stop for a picnic with your love. Alternatively, explore the perched villages like Castello della Pieve, and dine in one of the local restaurants!
Many of the beaches in the area are only accessible by foot which means, getting there is a low carbon footprint mode of transport. You and your partner can also stay at an Organic Agriturismo and Educational Farm such as Pieve Del Colle
. Places like this not only offer somewhere to relax while surrounded by unspoiled nature, but you can also take part in a number of activities. Cooking classes, horseback riding, organic farm demos, or excursions to pick fresh herbs.
6. Taormina, Sicily
Labeled by many traveling couples as the loveliest place in Sicily. Taormina is a popular Italian holiday destination of wealthy Europeans and artists. Don’t worry if you don’t fall into either of those categories; I sure don’t but, that won’t stop me from visiting. Although I haven’t been here yet, it’s definitely on my radar for an upcoming romantic holiday.
Romantic Highlights: Book your stay in a historic hotel overlooking the Ionian Sea. Dare to dive into the traditional gastronomic delicacies while dining with views of Mount Etna. Take a small boat trip inside the mouth of Grotto Amoretta (Lover’s Cave).
Eco-friendly Factor: Buying local is incredibly easy! Taormina is a fertile oasis full of orchards, grapevines, and olive groves, all of which you can visit to sample the local products. Learning about agricultural production is a green activity you and your partner can enjoy on your holiday.
7. Spoleto, Umbria
The old city of Spoleto is one of the most beautiful medieval towns of the entire region of Umbria if not all of Italy. What’s more romantic than visiting a city as ancient as the Roman empire? Not a whole lot I’d say. On top of all the rich historical sites to explore and monuments to meander past, the city of Spoleto is home to a yearly summer arts festival.
Romantic Highlights: Watch the sunset from atop the Duomo or climb the Torre dell'Olio and sit for hours admiring the medieval views.
Eco-friendly Factor: There’s no shortage of eco-friendly accommodations here. When searching for a place to stay, look for the eco-friendly B&B title, villa ecological, slow tourism, or farmhouse villa.
8. Lucca, Tuscany
Lucca is by far one of the most charming towns I’ve ever visited in Tuscany. Its status as a UNESCO world heritage site says it all. From Florence, Lucca is roughly an hour away, and only 20 min from Pisa, making it the ideal couples day trip from either of the two places. To make the most of your visit, head out early; the walled town is tiny, but there’s so much beauty around to soak in. Stroll the cobblestone streets of the historical center, or take a romantic walk hand in hand with your partner along the renaissance era walls that surround Lucca, designed by Leonardo Da Vinci.
Romantic Highlights: Attend a Giacomo Puccini Opera, Enjoy Lucchesi wine at a nearby winery, Soak in the panoramic views from the Guinigi Tower, or find tranquility in the Palazzo Pfanner garden.
Eco-friendly Factor: The historic center is closed to traffic, and thus, the best mode to discover the town is on foot.
9. San Gimignano, Tuscany
If you’re planning a romantic holiday in Italy, you won’t want to miss Florence
! Then again, in my opinion, there are so many gorgeous gems nearby that are well worth discovering. The medieval village of San Gimignano is a prime example. Surrounded by castle walls, you’ll feel as if you are stepping back in time
in this charming village, overlooking the Elsa Valley. The Unesco World Heritage Site is one of my top picks for romantic destinations in Italy.
Take a wine tasting tour
and sample the local wine, Vernaccia di San Gimignano. Stroll the vibrant plazas, stop in a local restaurant for a candle-lit dinner or book a couples spa treatment in a thermal spa.
Eco-friendly Factor: Romantic farmhouses are scattered across the town and its surroundings. Choosing one of these smaller accommodations over a hotel, ensures you are contributing to sustainable travel.
Day Trip to Siena, San Gimignano and Monteriggioni with Wine Tasting
10. Monterosso al Mare, Liguria
Maybe you haven’t heard of Monterosso, but I’m sure you know about Cinque Terre
. The five coastal towns along the Cinque Terre are stunning and make for the perfect romantic Italian getaway. Monterosso is the largest of the villages and by far the one with the greatest selection of hidden romance.
Romantic Highlights: Spend an afternoon wandering up Cappuccini hill or visit the monastery and admire the panoramic views from the top. Finish the night by dining at the most romantic restaurant in the town, L’Ancora della Tortuga. Restaurant Da Eraldo also ranks high on romance.
Eco-friendly Factor: When visiting Monterosso al Mare, you can participate in conscious travel by packing light. You really won’t need a lot of luggage while traveling throughout Liguria, especially when the weather is mild throughout the year. Also, this is a great destination to buy locally made products. Visit local shops and food establishments that support organic and sustainable practices like Wonderland Bakery!
I decided to highlight the most hidden Romantic places in Italy, in the beginning, before going into the more known destinations. The final five romantic destinations in Italy are ones you’ve most likely heard about or already know. Therefore, I’ll cut straight to the chase and jump right into their romantic highlights and eco-friendly factor.
11. Positano, Campania
Romantic Highlights: Admire the spectacular views of the sea while wandering Lover’s walk. Explore the hidden coves, and snorkel in the deep blue waters. Stoll hand in hand, by the pastel-colored houses to close off the night.
Eco-friendly Factor: The seaside town along the Amalfi coast is fit for strolling or cycling. There’s no reason for motor transport here!
12. Portofino, Génova
Romantic Highlights: Honeymoon on the Italian Riviera and explore Portofino by foot. Stroll through the pine forest to the lighthouse lookout point.
Eco-friendly Factor: This is a destination that is currently experiencing an influx of tourism. What this means is that if you do plan to visit, go in the offseason, and choose sustainable accommodations to reduce your carbon footprint.
13. Lake Como, Lombardia
Romantic Highlights: Use the funicular to head up to Brunate for a romantic candlelit dinner or visit the Castle.
Eco-friendly Factor: Hike the surrounding hills and mountains while enjoying the romantic views. Also, join an eco-friendly boat tour to explore the Orrido di Bellano gorge.
14. Costa Smeralda, Sardinia
Romantic Highlights: Bring your sweetheart to Costa Smeralda, for some fun in the sun. Lounge on one of the stunning sandy beaches along the coast or swim the crystal clear waters.
Eco-friendly Factor: It may be tempting to hop in a speed boat or on a jet ski. However, neither of these options are very eco-friendly. Choose activities like swimming, snorkeling, or wind sailing.
15. Bellagio, Lombardia
Romantic Highlights: Create your love story in Bellagio, the pearl of Lake Como. Wander down the cobblestone lanes and explore the many terrace gardens.
Eco-friendly Factor: Throughout the colorful lanes are many local craft shops and artisan sellers. Buying from these local shops support the Bellagio economy.
Best of Cinque Terre Tour
Florence Fiat 500 Tour to Chianti at Sunset