When we started thinking about our honeymoon, we turned to Katie of Ever After Honeymoons for some serious guidance. We got married in March but our honeymoon wouldn’t be until mid June. It’s not too often that two adults with full careers, an MBA program (for Peter), and a child are able to take 2 weeks off… from it all! So we felt pretty lucky. Of course, our budget wasn’t unlimited, so we had to do some careful planning. With Katie’s help, we decided we’d go to Italy and Greece and stay in 3 cities.
First Stop: Amalfi Coast, Italy
With Katie’s guidance, we opted for the stunningly gorgeous Palazzo Avino in Ravello. We spent 4 nights and 3 full days there. Immediately upon arrival, despite a torrential downpour outside, we were greeted with an extremely warm and helpful welcome by Antonio and his staff. I thought that the rain would ruin our trip, but it was just the opposite. The colors sparkled and this magical little town felt almost even more dreamy.
After an incredible breakfast, we headed down to their private beach club. The hotel provides a free shuttle to the beach club which is about 15 minutes down, down, down and around the windy roads. (How people drive here is beyond me!) The gorgeous views down below at the sea of Minori and Maori were as spectacular as the ones from above. It rained towards the afternoon but nothing a little wood fired pizza and Italian beer can’t cure.
That evening, we happily took our umbrellas with us and strolled into town. One of the reasons we chose Ravello over Positano was (Palazzo Avino. Period) because it’s known to be a lot less crowded and “touristy” than other towns like Positano. This was absolutely true for most of our stay. As we headed towards the piazza, along the cobblestone streets, it was like we had our own medieval village. It was gorgeous and everyone was very friendly, especially at the family-run Cumpo Cosimo. One of our best meals the entire trip! “Mama” literally comes out of the kitchen and greets you. So fun!
The off and on rain for our first two days was gorgeous, but waking up to a beaming sun over the mediterranean was extraordinary! We ate breakfast on the terrace outside of Rosselini’s (Palazzo Avino’s acclaimed Michelin rated restaurant).
We were thrilled for sun because we arranged for a private boat ride along the Amalfi Coast that day with a special lunch stop at Lo Scogglio da Tommasso, located in the tiny seaside bay of Nerano. We were picked up at the hotel (literally, everything was arranged for us without having to blink), and taken into the town of Amalfi. There we were greeted by our boat driver and the fun began… To say we felt like a king and queen would be an understatement. It was one of the most special days of our lives. From the boat, we saw the towns of Maori, Minori, Praiano, Positano, Nerano… and the inside of a gorgeous grotto!
I found this restaurant very randomly… but very luckily. Once we decided on staying at Palazzo Avino, I headed to Barnes and Noble to buy a book on the Amalfi Coast. In the travel section, a man noticed I was looking at a book on Amalfi and started up a conversation… He and his wife had been going there for 25 years etc etc. For the next 20 minutes or so, he gave me so many wonderful tidbits and ideas for excursions, including the idea of a private boat up and down the coast and a MUST SEE/ MUST STOP/ MUST EAT for lunch… Lo Scogglio da Tommasso. The family-run restaurant is known to be farm to table and fish to table. The vegetables come from the garden and the fish comes from the sea. Like in front of your eyes.
In a full food coma, the boat ride home was lovely and serene. Before heading back to the hotel, we had a chance to walk around the town of Amalfi which was fun and gave us that full “tourist” town vibe that we realized we were definitely NOT missing.
Believe it or not, after that insane meal at Lo Scogglio, we still ventured out for dinner. Please, you think I was willing to skip a meal? No way! It’s Italy and there’s always room for more! Mangia, mangia!
Before heading to dinner, we wandered through the piazza and small town again and headed to Villa Cimbrone. The garden and views there were breathtaking and some of the foundation and sculptures date back to 11th Century AD.
With Rome and Santorini next on our agenda, it was hard to feel too terribly sorry for ourselves on our final day. But wow, Palazzo Avino is not an easy place to say goodbye to! We started our last day off by the pool. As soon as we put our towels down, however, it started to pour. The weather was always warm though, so it wasn’t that unpleasant. Plus, eating more olives, drinking a fabulous bloody mary, and playing Scrabble with my husband (note* we played a total of 42 times on the iPad the entire trip. I won 27 of them) as the weather subsided, is not the worst way to start your day.
Once the weather calmed down we soaked in the sun by the gorgeous pool.
Later in the day, we decided to head back to the beach club for one final dip and, of course, the incredible pizza.
When we got back to our room that afternoon, we were greeted by the most spectacular rainbow just outside our terrace. I mean if this isn’t an indication of our 4 days in heaven, I don’t know what is!
I can’t wait to share with you details about Rome and Santorini. But I have to say, if you’re ever in Italy and considering a stay along the Amalfi Coast, I would without hesitation recommend Palazzo Avino for a five-star, once in a lifetime experience. Of course, I hope this isn’t it for our lifetime. I couldn’t think of a better place to come back to for a special anniversary… One year too soon???
*Special thanks to Katie for a wonderful start to our trip!*
Going back next year.
Ravello is a must.
The first 2 days at PA, are on our own, then our travel agent booked a luxury boat tour for 8 hours on the coast. She said we will feel like Rock Stars...just like you said! :) Then the next day we have a driver to take us sightseeing for 8 hours. We have a guided stop in Positano on our way back to Rome.
I've really enjoyed your blog!
Happy anniversary! Have a great trip