Our honeymoon in Rome kicked off our incredible European honeymoon tour. While some might have seen our trip as too much of a whirlwind, this was my husband’s first trip to Europe – and I wanted to whet his appetite for everything that we could enjoy on future trips. It worked! My husband really enjoys Italy now, which is a relief since it’s such a special place to me, too.
We loved our Rome honeymoon so much that we’ve been back multiple times since 2015 and even spent Christmas in Rome in 2019! This post hits the high points of some of the things we did on our honeymoon – as well as some of the things that we have done on subsequent trips. American Airlines now offers direct flights between DFW and FCO, so we start and end a lot of our trips in Rome!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links for tours and products I love at no additional cost to you. You can read my full disclosure policy here.
More about Our European / Italy Honeymoon Itinerary:
Before we jump right in, if you’re in the middle of Italian honeymoon planning, I’ve added the rest of our itinerary and recaps to this post.
Generally speaking, I recommend pairing larger Italian cities with smaller towns and villages to get a better sense of Italian culture. That said, I knew my husband would want to hit the highlights. There’s nothing wrong with staying on the beaten path of Italy!
Our honeymoon was designed around places I loved and places that I knew he would want to visit, including his dream destination of the countryside in Ireland. You could spend your entire honeymoon in Italy and not get bored though, even with as many days as we had for ours.
- 4 nights in Rome
- 3 nights in Florence, including a separate look at how our honeymoon was made extra special by the St. Regis Florence! I could have stayed there forever!
- 3 nights in Venice
- 4 nights in Paris, including a honeymoon photo session in Paris. We were actually supposed to head to London for part of this. Tom fell in love with Paris and we dropped London entirely.
- 2 nights in Ireland (We flew out of Dublin but didn’t spend any time in the city at all.)
Best Time to Visit Rome
We took our honeymoon in mid to late April and the weather was a absolutely perfect. It wasn’t too hot, the evenings were balmy, and no jacket was required. This was ideal for me because I wanted to wear cute sundresses and sandals. (I always take cardigans for entry to the churches!) We also planned for shoulder season because the crowds would be less, hotel rooms would relatively less expensive, and the heat would not be unbearable.
In subsequent years, we visited Rome in early April and it was a little more chilly. My sundresses needed to be longer and accompanied by cardigans or light jackets in the evening. It is amazing what a difference a couple of weeks can make in Rome.
We spent Christmas in Rome in 2019. It was quite balmy and I got by with a cashmere sweater, Wolford velour leggings, suede boots, and a light jacket in the evenings. It was quite comfortable, if not absolutely perfect.
Check out my Italy packing list for more ideas on how I dress when we travel.
Getting to and around the Eternal City:
Because of work, we were not able to take our honeymoon immediately after our wedding. We took a brief mini-moon to the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay and went back to work… for the next 1.5 years. While I understand why we made this decision at the time, I wish we had not done that. There was something different about our relationship right after we got married, and I think that our honeymoon would have been extra special during that time. I know a lot of couples that waver on this, but I want to encourage you to take that time together right after your wedding. It is different.
We finally left for our honeymoon right after I presented at a state-wide conference for the first time. Since it was our honeymoon and I didn’t know if we would be back in Europe, I wanted to make sure every detail was perfect and memorable.
Is Business Class Worth it for Your Honeymoon?
Worth it. We flew British Airways, and I picked seats on the upper deck of the 747. Not only was this cabin so much smaller, but it also was SO QUIET. We managed to sleep from Houston to London. We didn’t drink, eat dinner, or anything – we just put our lie flat seats down and went to sleep. I woke up a couple times, but I forced myself to lay flat and rest. When we got to London, we had access to the British Airways lounge where I was able to take a shower (GLORIOUS!!), get a free 15-minute chair massage (AMAZING!), and have a little something to eat and drink during our layover. I wouldn’t splurge on British Airways business class for short haul flights (they are basically the same as economy but with the middle seat blocked), but yes, transatlantic flights are way better in business class.
Transportation from FCO Airport to Rome City Center
The great thing about the Rome airport is that it is well connected to the city. You can arrange ground transportation, take a train, or hire taxi from the airport. Our flight landed around 6:00pm and we were dead tired from the long layover in London. We opted for a taxi, which was fairly fast. We don’t regret the extra dollars spent, even though Rome Termini was right around the corner from our hotel.
On subsequent trips, we’ve taken the Leonardo Express train from FCO and it beat the taxi by a landslide in terms of efficiency and cost This is an especially great option if you do stay at the Palazzo Naiadi since it is such a short walk from the train station. You can walk it, even with luggage.
When we arrived in Rome on Christmas Eve, we took a taxi because it was a more efficient way to get to Le Meridien Visconti. We’ve also had them arrange taxis for us for early morning flights. It’s more efficient that taking the metro back to Termini and then taking the Leonardo Express. If you are especially tired, opt for a taxi – just to be safe.
Pro Tip: Always make sure the taxi turns on its meter. We had a rather unfortunate experience with a taxi in Rome on our way to dinner where we grossly overpaid for a short trip. Don’t let this discourage you. Taxi drivers generally know good restaurants, so always engage them in conversation – and make sure they turn on the meter.
Romantic Hotels in Rome
I will start with the truth: Rome hotels are expensive. Generally speaking, the closer you are to the action, the more expensive the rooms get. We have stayed at Palazzo Naiadi twice and the Visconti Palace twice (as well as at some hotels that are further out). I prefer the boutique hotel feel of the Naiadi, but I like the location of the Visconti Palace a little more for exploring. (The walk is certainly more romantic.) To be clear, these are not the most romantic hotels in Rome for a honeymoon. There are certainly a few other hotels on my bucket list to try for a more romantic trip to Rome. These are solid options though, and if you’re a Marriott member, it could be a free option using points. (We did not receive any complimentary upgrades at either hotel on any of our stays. We did utilize a Suite Night Award to upgrade our room at the Visconti Palace when we spent Christmas in Rome; I don’t know that it was worth it.)
If you are looking for a hotel with easy connections to and around Rome, Palazzo Naiadi is absolutely worth it. We found it very easy to walk anywhere we wanted to go in the old city, though the walk isn’t the most beautiful. The most we paid for a taxi was 10 euro from anywhere (except the airport). There is a metro station right outside the front door and the train station is two blocks away. I was a little nervous because I had read about the prevalence of gypsies due to its proximity to Termini, but we never saw any and we felt very safe coming back late in the evening.
Palazzo Naiadi Superior Room:
The exterior of the hotel is gorgeous and it’s in the middle of Rome’s beautiful but busy squares. We had a superior room on the top floor (no view). We never heard any traffic or outside noise. Our room offered a nice entryway to the room, which housed a decently-sized closet, a safe, and minibar. The bathroom had a bath/shower combo with good water pressure, dual-sinks, and a private toilet area. The ETRO bath salts smelled absolutely divine. I was obsessed with all the toiletries.
The room is fairly average size by European standards and small by American standards – but the bed is comfortable, the A/C works, and the staff is friendly – what more could you ask for – and letsbehonest, even on your honeymoon, how much time are you spending in your room in Rome?!
Other Honeymoon Hotels in Rome to Consider
- If you’re looking for a hotel with views of another Roman monument, consider the Pantheon Iconic Rome. We’ve stayed here a few times, and we’ve always had a great stay!
- I adore Relais & Chateaux hotels for their local character and incredible staff so Hotel Raphael is definitely on my list. It’s in the heart of ancient Rome. We’ve stayed here twice, and while the rooms are small, you can’t beat the location!
- Palazzo Manfredi overlooks the Colosseum. The location of the Colosseum is removed from the rest of the old city, which makes it ideal for a honeymoon in Rome! I think there will soon be a Metro station nearby, so you could cover the distance between Rome and Piazza Navona a little easier. There is nowhere in Rome more beautiful than the Colosseum at blue hour. It is absolutely magnificent.
- If you’re looking for a different location and true luxury hotels in Rome, the Portrait Roma, Hotel de Russie, Hotel Hassler, and the JK Place Roma are all located near the quieter Borghese Gallery and the more lively Spanish Steps. I think any of these hotels would be the epitome of romantic hotels in Rome.
Tips for Eating in Rome:
I’ll be honest. Despite many trips to Rome, we have struggled to find romantic Rome restaurants. It’s not to say that food in Rome is bad, but it can be a tough nut to crack if you don’t plan your meals in advance. I’ve put together a few tips for eating in Italy that we’ve learned over multiple trips to Rome and included a few places that we love, too.
Pro tip #1: Take a food tour of Rome. I could have saved myself so many bad meals in Rome if we would have done this first. We have taken two food tours in Trastevere, and they were both exceptional. We’ve also taken a food tour in Testaccio, which introduced us to the Testaccio market. I think that Trastevere tour is great for a first trip to Rome and the Testaccio tour is better if you have a bit more adventurous palate.
Pro tip #2: Avoid any restaurant where the waiters are begging you to come in. Empty restaurants are not usually a good sign, though you can find pleasant surprises. (Mastro Ciccia is one of those pleasant surprises! He was not outside begging for business.) I tried to teach my husband this in advance but failed. Learn from our mistakes.
Pro tip #3: Expensive doesn’t mean better. All of my favorite meals in Rome have been the least expensive meals. The chefs at Che Pasta may make pasta to go in the shadow of all Rome’s landmarks, but the pasta and presentation were incredible. Visiting Eataly isn’t a bad option either. We love hitting up markets and grocery stores and making our own meals. It’s cheaper, more delicious, and gives you a sense of local culture. (We’ve brought many a souvenir home from Eataly!)
Pro tip #4: Don’t expect to find any traditional romantic restaurants in Rome on my list. I haven’t found many of them. If you do, shoot me an email. I’d love to find a delicious restaurant with ambiance. If I have to choose (as I’ve had to do thus far), I choose delicious food. This article about where taxi drivers eat in Rome is one of my favorites. Elise has an extensive restaurant list for Rome on her blog, too.
Where to Eat Pizza in Rome:
Da Remo Testaccio
After getting ripped off by a taxi driver who refused to turn on the meter and deposited us at his favorite (closed) restaurant, we wandered the streets of Testaccio until we found Remo.
I prefer Remo to Montecarlo, but it is a bit off the beaten track for a first trip to Rome. If you have a limited amount of time on your first trip to Rome, it might not make sense for you.
Remo is only open for dinner, and if you sneak in early, you can grab a table without the wait. (It is worth the wait though!) It is a lively and energetic place when it gets going.
The pizza is wood-fired with perfectly thin crust, and delicious when paired with the (cheap) house wine. We felt more like family than tourists at this simple, delicious restaurant. Despite our experience getting there, we’re so glad that we tried it.
I read about Montecarlo on several blogs, and it did not disappoint. We tend to walk her on our first night as the best way to combat jet lag. The long walk forces you to get outside and keeps you from napping. On our first trip, Tom was convinced that I was lost because it was such a trek from Palazzo Naiadi – but it was worth every step.
La Montecarlo is cheap, lively, and staff is friendly. You can try all kinds of delicious things here, but my favorite is the pizza. It’s also a great option for a late-night eat. That is definitely the benefit of Rome – there are quite a few tasty places that are open late. This is a good one!
Bonus points if you can snag a table outside and enjoy the beautiful weather.
Gelato in Rome
It’s easy to get scammed on gelato. Good gelato should not be piled high, it should not be unnatural colors, and it shouldn’t be expensive. I’ve tried a lot of gelato in Rome and I have two tried-and-true places that I can confidently recommend on both sides of the Tiber River. (Truly – in 5 years, neither one of these places have disappointed me.)
This is near Vatican City. One of my friends asked me to have this for her on our honeymoon in Rome. It definitely lived up to her hype. It was super cheap, too. It’s almost more of a gelato stand than shop and you’ll know it by the line. The lines get long at the end of the day when the museums close, so plan your visit accordingly.
I’ve never been disappointed by any of their flavors, but bacio is my favorite – unless you’re going for the sorbetto – then all bets are off. I put three flavors in it and call it delicious.
Bonus points for the sitting area nearby that overlooks the imposing walls of the Vatican.
There are few places that truly live up to the hype. Giolitti is one of them. I remember being completely skeptical about their gelato when I studied abroad – who makes you pay before ordering?
You’ll stand in line to pay, then stand in line in front of the gelato case in the back, completely overwhelmed by the flavors, and then suddenly, it’s your turn and you’re quickly trying to rattle off your order. Don’t overthink it – anything you get will be delicious.
Like Montecarlo, I love that they are open late. Giolitti is just a few blocks from all the most famous sites of Rome, so you can easily enjoy your gelato with a view. If you need to rest your feet, they do have tables, but the prices, of course, are different. You can’t just sit because you order a cone.
Fun fact: there is also a Bar Giolitti in Testaccio. It is less touristy and feels far more local.
Things to Do on Your Honeymoon in Rome
Is Rome a good place for a honeymoon? Yes, if you like to be active and busy, but also if you like to take time to appreciate long walks and beautiful places. I wasn’t really a tour person before our honeymoon, but I’ve come around. We’ve had some incredible tours in Rome. Don’t discount tours on your honeymoon. They will make your cultural experience so much more rich.
There is no shortage of things to see in Rome. I know that we have exhaustive lists of places that we want to visit (and revisit) in Rome. I’ve been to Rome more than six times and I have yet to see everything.
The best places to visit on your honeymoon in Rome will depend on what your interests are. For our honeymoon, I focused on my husband’s interests: the ancient Romans and his Catholic upbringing. No one loves the Romans as much as my husband does. The rest of our honeymoon was spent doing what I love – roaming cities with a camera.
This allowed us to balance our trip between structured tours and down time. We hit all the must sees in Rome while also taking time to sit in piazzas and watch the world go by. (There’s no better place to do that than Italy.)
If you are looking for a traditional itinerary for Rome, Isa has a great post about 3 days in Rome for beginners and first-time visitors.
The Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel Tickets
After a very crowded experience visiting the Sistine chapel when I studied abroad, I am a believer in paying for early access to tickets to the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel. Our guide was AWESOME and she did a really fantastic job telling us the history of the Sistine Chapel. (The story I knew of it is completely false. Sad.)
We basically had both the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican museum to ourselves. Without out a doubt, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that is perfect for your honeymoon in Rome. It is such a special moment to be able to enjoy seeing the Sistine Chapel without the crowds. Booking an early access tour also allows you to skip the ticket line that often snakes around the building. This tour is absolutely worth the money. I’ve put together a few additional tips for visiting Vatican City, too.
Yes, the meeting time is early, but it is 100% worth the wake up time. We got a little more sleep by opting for a taxi versus the metro. Although our hotel was near the metro, we opted for a cab from Palazzo Naiadi to the meeting point. It was approximately 8 euro and there was no traffic.
Colosseum Guided Tour
If your husband loves 300 (or anything related to ancient Rome), you have to take this half-day Colosseum tour. Though I wasn’t as interested in the Romans as my husband, our guide (Igor) wove stories about ancient Rome that were very captivating, even for me. Igor was extremely interactive as a tour guide; he encouraged questions as he led us through the multiple levels of the Colosseum and then through the Forum. Like any good tour, you skip the line at both attractions, which saves you both time and any frustration. This is particularly important on a honeymoon, right?? 🙂
Pizza Making Class Rome with a Walking Tour
This Rome walking tour and pizza making class started off a little rocky for us with multiple changes to the start time and difficulty finding the guide. However, it ended up being a fantastic experience.
The walking tour starts at the Spanish steps and retraces the steps through ancient Rome, before ending at a trendy restaurant near Campo dei Fiori for the cooking class. (We enjoyed it so much that we ended up having dinner there on Christmas Eve in 2019! Their pasta is just as good at their pizza, if not better!)
While it wasn’t quite as extensive as some of our other cooking classes in Italy, we did get to create our own customized pizza and learn more about what makes Italian pizza so delicious.
Tom opted to make a quattro formaggi (four cheese) pizza while I opted for diavola (spicy salami). The chef surprised us with a delicious nutella pizza for dessert. (I’ve never said no to hazelnut chocolate and this was no exception.)
I highly recommend this walking tour and cooking class if you’re short on time but want to explore Rome and learn to do something together!
Bonus: you can make pizza together when you return home. Isn’t that the best souvenir?
Visit Tivoli and Hadrian’s Villa
Remember my husband’s fascination with ancient Rome? Well, what better gift on our honeymoon than to take him on a tour of Hadrian’s villa? (He wants to name our non-existent future child Hadrian. I think not.) Our tour guide was a little difficult to understand, but the villas (both Hadrian’s and Villa d’Este) are incredible. This tour left my mind reeling with all sorts of questions about architecture, mosaics, and Roman life. The tour of Villa D’Este was my favorite part, even though I didn’t get the Lizzie McGuire experience. I could happily live there and wander the gardens. If you’re looking to get out of Rome but not travel as far as Pompeii to see more about ancient Roman civilization, this tour is a great opportunity to do so!
Experience Rome by Night
On the last night of our honeymoon in Rome, we sat in St. Peter’s Square for an hour after the crowds left when the basilica closed. It was peaceful and beautiful. We watched the sun set over St. Peter’s, then watched the sky change from blue to purple, to inky black over the Castel Sant’Angelo and the Tiber. On other nights, we experienced the fading sunlight light over the Roman Forum before wandering down to the Colosseum. The Colosseum is magical at night. Similarly, the Pantheon takes on a completely different appearance under the orange glow of the city lights. The Trevi Fountain is (insanely) crowded and glows beautifully under the stars. Piazza Navona is filled with musicians, romantics, and yes, rose salesmen.
None of these moments should be missed.
If you aren’t sure where to start, this evening walking tour of Rome is a great overview of the city. I would book a night tour of the city on the first day or two to get a sense of where you want to spend your evenings later.
While Rome feels like a large, frantic city during the day, it slows to a most romantic pace in the evenings. Most everything is within walking distance, so stroll the streets. Duck down back alleys. See all the piazzas, squares, and fountains of Rome. You can start at the Piazza Popolo, wander to the Spanish Steps, and then hit all of the monuments in a single evening.
Pro Tip: If you don’t want to do an evening walking tour of Rome, try and find a different location to catch the sunset every evening. It’s worth it.
Rome Trip Planning Resources:
I swear by the the Day by Day Guide to Rome and the Top 10 Best book. These books are small enough to fit into a pocket and they don’t take up too much space in a carry on. Both breakdown the city by neighborhood, so no matter where you find yourself, you’ll always have some ideas on where to go and what to see. The Rick Steves app has great self-guided walking tours of Rome, the Vatican, and other parts of ancient Rome. Tom loves these. I pulled a lot of inspiration from Sara’s blog, too.