Italy has to be my top tip. Ridiculously I had never been there prior to last year, so to those of you who have been I guess I’m preaching to the converted. To those of you who have never been there, go there – I love the country. Although I’ve always loved Paris I much preferred Rome as it is so intimate and so easy to get almost anywhere on foot. We stayed at the Spalletti, a glorious family villa, now a marvelous and perfectly located hotel, although you should know there is no pool. There is a lot to do but you can certainly see a lot of the city in 3 days. Everyone knows the must sees but the key to my mind is having the right guide and our Scott Dunn guide Fabio is just that person – jumping queues, judging just how much history you can take and knowing when it is time to call it the end of the day. After visiting the Vatican, and I suggest going quite early, go to the Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere and have the best orange juice at Caffe della Arance – you can recognise it by the orange table clothes and oranges on display. Then go to Gli Amici for lunch which is around the corner in Piazza Sant’Egidio. Where to eat? Lunch at Aroma on the top floor of the Hotel Palazzo Manfredi, overlooking the Colosseum, is wonderful but expensive – it would be a better dinner option where the seven course tasting menu with different wines could be highly enjoyable for an ultra-special treat. The Colosseum looks fabulous at night but it will cost you €195pp including a different glass of wine with each course. Settimio All’Arancio is the true Italian experience – the waiters don’t speak much English and it is predominantly frequented by locals. Book a table outside on their narrow terrace.
Inside the Vatican museum
If Rome is lovely from a cultural and food perspective then the Amalfi coast is gloriously romantic and utterly intoxicating. My wife and I stayed at the Monastero Santa Rosa which is, as you might guess, an old monastery. The rooms are lovely but smallish in that two nuns cells have been knocked together, one area being the bedroom and the other the bathroom – which is rather nice. However after the tiny surprise at the size of the rooms you will love this place as it is so utterly peaceful. The infinity pool is tremendous and I have to say I enjoyed the spa which is one of the best small spas I’ve come across. Amalfi itself is great and well worth aimlessly wondering around. I didn’t like the main beaches although when we moved to Ravello and stayed at the Palazzo Avino they do have a great beach club set up. Walk from Ravello down to Minori which is very worthwhile, however given there are over a thousand steps it’s sensible to get a lift back up.
Lastly my top tip would be to charter a boat and cruise the Amalfi coastline, circumnavigate Capri and lunch at La Conca del Sogno in Nerano before returning to Amalfi.
Monastero Santa Rosa infinity pool
Dawn at Monastero Santa Rosa
For more information on Italy, head to our website or call a European specialist on 020 8682 5080.