Italy has a reputation for romance and romantics. From Romeo and Juliet, to Puccini’s operas, to the legendary Casanova, Italians are clearly a passionate lot. And Italy is packed with romantic locations too. Historic hilltop towns look out over rolling hills dotted with vineyards and olive groves. Spectacular mountain ranges give way to mirror-flat lakes. And azure seas gently caress sandy beaches whilst craggy cliffs offer dramatic sea views. Italy has romance in every bowl of spaghetti, every drop of prosecco, every cobblestone and corner. So if you’re planning to pop the question to your beloved Valentine, Italy is the perfect destination. Here are just a few suggestions for some perfect places to propose. I hope the answer is yes!!
For many Venice is THE most romantic place in Italy with her network of quiet canals and narrow alleyways in which to lose yourselves.
The classics include afternoon tea in Florian’s in St Mark’s Square, gliding down the Grand Canal on a gondola or under the Bridge of Sighs, atop the Rialto Bridge, or watching the sun set over the city from the top of St Marks bell tower.
All are tried and tested firm favourites but if you want a more personal, private proposal you need to be a bit more creative and get off the beaten track.
The city’s districts of Castello or Cannaregio offer quieter canalside corners to pop the question. Or why not take a trip over to the rainbow island of Burano for a quieter, colourful setting ideal for an artistic soul?
Ultimately there are plenty of hidden places for a romantic kiss. Or pick a classic spot and get a built in crowd of cheerleaders for your special moment! You can’t go wrong!!
Tuscany is probably one of the most recognisable regions of Italy. Think Cypress tree-lined roads, rolling green hills and fields of sunflowers. Its also the home of some of the best red wines in Italy including Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano so if you need a bit of liquid bravery why not take your special someone out to one of the many vineyards that dot the region.
Alternatively take a trip to the beautiful medieval hilltop town of San Gimingnano for a fabulous stroll through the ancient streets or views out over the countryside from one of the original skyscraper towers.
Siena’s Botanical Gardens also offers great views out from the medieval city whilst relaxing in the shade of its wooded paths. And if you want a more local atmosphere call into the little park just down the road for a picnic with the Tuscan plains as your backdrop. Beautiful!
Or if you like a spot of myth and mystery, why not call into the San Galgano Abbey near Siena. St Galgano is said to have been the original inspiration for the English legend of King Arthur. And there is even a sword embedded in a stone! Proposing in this simple ruin, with grass beneath your feet and blue sky above might just be the stuff that makes legends!
Then again, if day to day life is hectic and you want a peaceful spot to propose, why not take your Valentine to one of Tuscany’s hot springs, to bathe in their therapeutic, thermal waters. Spots such as Bagni San Filippo, a tiny village in the Val D’Orcia near Monte Amiata, offer a soothing soak or mud bath for free. Or you can take a thermal bath at one of the better-known resorts like Saturnia, famous since Etruscan and Roman days for its natural pools, waterfalls and totally tranquil atmosphere. A perfect spot to propose!
Italy’s south western coastline twists and turns around the craggy cliffs and inlets of the Amalfi province. It is definitely one of the most romantic destinations you could pick with old fishing villages hugging the hillsides, exhilarating coastal roads clinging to the clifftops, and romantic restaurants offering stunning seaviews.
Classic destinations include the clifftop hotels of Sorrento with stunning sunsets over the Bay of Naples, as volcanic Vesuvius sits quietly on the horizon (hopefully!) and you sip the delicious local limoncello.
From Sorrento you can wind you way round the thrilling coast road to Positano, where the pretty town clutches onto the almost vertical cliff face. But if you’ve got good sea legs, I’d recommend taking the sea route as it offers unrivalled views of the lovely little villages dotting the rugged coastline with their pastel palettes.
Carry on round to Amalfi, an old maritime republic set below steep cliffs that was once the seat of power for the province. Its stripy Byzantine cathedral is worth a visit and offers a beautiful religious backdrop to pop the question.
Or take a detour inland to the Terrazza dell’infinito, Terrace of infinity, at the Villa Cimbone in Ravello. The breathtaking panoramic view at dusk will be a wonderful memory for the rest of your lives together!
And finally, there is Capri, nicknamed the Island of Dreams and its Blue Grotto, an enchanting destination since ancient times, where sunlight delves deep into the darkness lighting the cave with a spell-binding azure glow. Share a kiss as you pass under the Arch of Love and propose in the cobalt light. Blue-tiful!! (sorry!!!)
Wherever you choose on the Amalfi coast, you’re bound to find a captivating combination of simple seaside beauty, dramatic trekking trails and romantic clifftops. The weather is pretty mild for most of the year so this could be a Valentine destination. If the answer isn’t yes here, I’ll eat my hat!!
The Northern Lakes
Italy’s lakes offer a bit of everything. Snow-capped alpine mountains plunge down to pretty little villages perched around the lakesides. Lemon groves, wisteria-draped buildings and spectacular scenery surround vast lakes, their shorelines dotted with villas and formal gardens. And most of the lakes offer watersports, sailing or bathing so there is pretty much something for everyone!
Lakes Como and Garda are probably the most popular but why not try Lake Maggiore, just an hour from Milan for a romantic getaway in the old spa resort of Stresa overlooking the pretty Boromean Islands. Isola Bella, meaning Beautiful Island and the larger of the 3, is world-famous for its wedding cake gardens that rise out of the lake in tiers of fountains, flowers and fantasy. Add to that the albino peacocks strutting round the grounds and you have a wonderful, peaceful spot to ask your all-important question!
Cascate delle Marmore in Umbria
If you’re an outdoorsy couple why not drive out into the Umbrian hills to the Cascate delle Marmore. Heralded as the tallest man-made waterfall in Italy and constructed nearly 2000 years ago by those clever Romans, this idyllic spot offers dramatic scenery, trekking, kayaking or simply a wonderful viewing gallery from which to enjoy the awe-inspiring view as the powerful waters cascade over the cliff.
For more information on how to get there, check out my recent post here
Romeo & Juliet’s Verona
“Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?”
English playwright William Shakespeare used Verona as the setting for his tragic story of star-crossed young lovers Romeo and Juliet and since then it’s held an alluring fascination, drawing romantics from the 4 corners of the world.
Sounds a perfect spot to propose doesn’t it? And it works too as the so-called Casa di Giulietta, Juliet’s House, in the city centre sees several engagements each year. Indeed you can even have a civil ceremony in the hall of the house, surely one of the most romantic of settings from romantic literature even if we now know that it’s all fiction.
If Juliet’s balcony surrounded by coach-loads of tourists is not your cup of tea, why not climb up to Piazzale Castel San Pietro overlooking the city and propose with the fabulous view over the river and beyond down below you. It is without doubt the best view over Verona, the Roman arena and bound to win your Valentine’s heart!
Or what about an opera in Verona’s 2000 year old Roman arena during the city’s classical summer season. The open-air arena is a perfect venue for concerts and a superb spot for a romantic evening below the star-studded night sky. Tickets sell out fast so you need to be on your toes for the best ones!
Italy’s southern region of Sicily has been a top travel destination since the days of the Grand Tour as voyagers take in the heady mix of ancient Greek history, ancient Roman architecture and old Arabic influences left over from centuries of invaders and conquests.
One of Sicily’s gems is Taormina, an old medieval town with castle ruins, beautiful coastal views and a spectacular ancient Greek amphitheatre, still in use for plays and concerts. Sicily’s tempestuous Mount Etna volcano also overlooks the town giving the occasional impromptu fiery display to add to the romance. And luckily the weather stays pretty mild all year with the best times to visit being spring and autumn to avoid the sticky, busy summer months!
If you prefer a quieter life by the sea, the old fishing village of Cefalù on Sicily’s north coast offers a perfect beach getaway with shallow, sandy beaches and warm waters for swimming. Take on of the town’s old waterfront houses and enjoy breakfast on your own private balcony as the sea laps gently beneath you.
The eternal city of Rome, like Venice, offers a multitude of proposal options but don’t be tempted to re-enact Anita Ekberg’s iconic Dolce Vita swim in the Trevi Fountain unless you fancy a night in the cells!
Fabulous views over the city can be found from the top of the Spanish Steps, the gardens above Piazza del Popolo or the Giardino degli Aranci in Parco Savello where you’ll find one of the most striking panoramic skylines of the city. Oh and if you find the keyhole, you’ll catch a glimpse of St Peter’s Basilica, but I’ll leave that little treasure hunt to you and your beloved!!
Lesser known alternatives might include Campo dei Fiori fruit, veg and flower market where you could shower your lover with roses from the florist stalls. Or Tivoli Gardens outside the city confines where Emperor Hadrian entertained his guests with phenomenal fountains and formal gardens
Liguria, the Italian Riviera
The curved coastline of Liguria in northern Italy is a year-round destination for medieval ports, maritime republics and one of Italy’s most beautiful coastline walks.
Named for romance the Via dell’Amore, or Road of Love, along the Cinque Terre coast enables visitors to take long coastal walks together dropping down into the beautiful multi-coloured towns along the way for some local seafood. It’s a perfect setting to go down on one knee but avoid peak season if you don’t fancy pedestrian traffic jams!
Liguria’s Gulf of Poets once attracted some of the original romantic poets including Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, Henry James and writer Charles Dickens. And Italian poets Dante and Petrach wrote of the beauty of the bay. So dive in for a swim in the salty Mediterranean waters before soaking up the sun in one of the coast’s hidden sandy inlets that are made for private proposals!
Or follow the glitzy celebrity route and pop into Portofino for the designer shopping and designer restaurants, after a swim in the crystal blue waters. This picturesque little port will provide the perfect romantic backdrop to make you feel like superstars!
And finally, Florence
Florence, Firenze in Italian, was at the centre of Italy’s renaissance bringing some of the most renowned artists to the world including Michelangelo, Da Vinci and Botticelli. Their paintings and sculptures of love and lovers still adorn the city making it one of Italy’s best loved destinations.
Classic proposal spots include Ponte Vecchio, the old bridge over the River Arno, at the feet of Michelangelo’s magnificent statue of David or even in front of Botticelli’s Venus in the Uffizzi Museum.
But if you want a striking alternative climb to the top of the Boboli Gardens or clamber up the “Poggi ramps” from Piazza Giuseppe Poggi to Piazzale Michelangelo’s terrace. Both offer visitors unrivalled views across the river to Florence’s historic heart. Take in Forte Belvedere, the Ponte Vecchio and beautiful dome of the Duomo as you ask your all-important question and link your lives together forever. Trust me, Florence won’t disappoint!
So there you have it. I’ve only listed a few ideas but I could go on and on. I’ve not even mentioned Sardinia’s idyllic coastline or skiing amongst the craggy peaks of the Dolomites. Or what about Puglia’s whitewashed trulli villages, or Milan’s gothic cathedral rooftop, or the Veneto region’s prosecco vineyards, or a hot air balloon over Tuscany’s vineyards?
You see, Italy really does have it all and it’s hard to find a bad place to propose! So with a little bit of thought you can make sure that your proposal will be one of the most memorable moments of your life together. If you proposed in Italy and got a yes, why not let me know where you chose? Oh and if you want to say I love you or Will you marry me in Italian, pop over to my Italian 101 posts for some hints and tips! I wish you the best of luck and a long, happy and healthy life together!!! Or as the Italians would say In bocca al lupo, Good Luck!
Venice’s Caffe Florian can help with your secret plans if you drop them an email in advance here!!
Many other locations will also give you a helping hand if you ask. And make sure you enrol the help of your hotel concierge to make sure your day goes smoothly – they’ll love the chance to join in with the romance!
For more inspiration pop over to my DreamDiscoverItalia Instagram page.