Honeymooning in Italy Pt 1: Rome and Casacau | UK WEDDING BLOG

facebook-profile-picture By Rebecca

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Where do you dream of honeymooning? If you hadn’t considered Italy then you must must must add it to your list. Within 2 hours you’ll be in one of the most romantic countries of the world. Italy has a bit of everything, incredible food and wine, beaches, countryside, a lot of culture and old cities to wander, gelato in hand. SYGM went on a whistle-stop tour of Italy last week with Mr & Mrs Smith to fill you in on some of the hottest places to honeymoon out there. It was such an incredible and magical week. Our first stop was Rome and a stay at Casacau.

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Rome had always been on my list to visit. The capital of Italy and home to the Colosseum, Rome contains as many perfect backdrops for romance as it does gelato shops and ancient ruins. I hadn’t realised quite how much I’d love it until we got there and discovered all the cobbled, ancient streets and felt like we were walking through one huge open air museum. Before I go on too much about the city, for any good trip, you need somewhere lovely to stay. And who else to turn to but Mr & Mrs Smith?? I’ve used Smith Hotels for years and one of the things I love most about them is having a curated list of boutique, luxury accommodation that you know you can trust. Every property is hand picked and reviewed with expert tips such as what to pack and which room to choose. They have high standards as do I and it saves me hours of research trawling through TripAdvisor/numerous booking sites. There are eleven Smith properties in Rome but we loved, and stayed at, Casacau.

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Cascau is a cross between a boutique hotel and apartments, giving you the best of both worlds. There are six one bedroom apartments with mini kitchens that are housed in a 17th century building literally steps away from the famous Trevi fountains right in the centre of Rome. As you step through the big wooden door you instantly lose all the city hustle and bustle and step into calm. All the apartments have been individually designed with some quirky touches like vintage typewriters or designer light fittings alongside the white washed beams on the ceiling. As well as the old, you get the benefits of the new. Each room gets an iPad to use for your stay with maps and Rome guides preloaded onto it. At check in we were also given some favourite picks for the city which we appreciated. It’s hard to choose which apartment to stay in as they all have their individual charms. We stayed in Apartment 3 which has it’s own sauna {which was amazing for relaxing in after a busy day walking all over the city} and they all have mini terraced balconies for a bit of fresh air. You’ll get a lot more space than you’d get in a hotel and having the kitchen which is stocked with supplies for you to cook with if you feel the urge is a great option with all the fresh produce the city has to offer. Perhaps my favourite part was having breakfast in bed each morning. When you wake up, you’ll find a bag left on the outside of your door with a little wicker basket which is filled with the most delicious pastries filled with chocolate, custard and jam. We quickly discovered how it’s the Italians who make the best croissants and not the French! There was fresh yogurt and fruit in our mini fridge so we had a feast each morning. The location was perfect too for walking the city and there are pizzerias, trattorias and gelaterias right outside your door.

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Fuelled up from a yummy breakfast, it was time to explore Rome.

We’d heard that Rome is such a walkable city so I’d bought a folding pop-out map {here from amazon} and circled the main places that we wanted to visit/good restaurants/gelato stops on it so that we’d have a rough idea where we were aiming for out there. We then used google maps, without data it still shows where you are if we got lost and needed to work out where we were on the map.
Our first stop was the Colosseum. I prebooked tickets online from the official website and printed them out which meant the only queue we had to stand in was the bag search. It saved us a lot of time especially given we only had a couple of days in the city. Just the walk down to the ancient Rome part of the city from Casacau was incredible and unlike anywhere else we’d ever visited. Everything is just so so old and you can just imagine the days of the Romans chariot racing or fighting lions in the massive stone amphitheatre.
Tickets to the Colosseum will also get you into the Roman forum opposite and Palatine Hill, again a plethora of a look into the past of Ancient Rome with crumbling pillars and old relics. We found that the Forum was actually the best place to get photos in front of the Colosseum too as you’re a bit higher up so we did this before going inside.
The Colosseum was incredible. We decided not to get an audiobook or a guide but we still found it fascinating. It’s all been so well preserved considering it’s nearly 2000 years old {!!}. That night as bedtime reading we looked up more about the history of it all.
After a couple of hours we were off in search of gelato. We walked out the back of the Colosseum along to the Circo Massimo and down to Aventine Hill. Wherever you walk it’s like you’re in a huge open air museum, there’s just so much to see on every street.
Hot and with our feet starting to ache we found a pretty rose garden to sit in for a while. It looked over the city and to my delight there was a heart shaped opening covered in roses! You should also visit the Giardino degli Aranci for a garden surrounded by orange trees that overlooks Rome. A romantic little spot to while away an afternoon.

The roses, and most of the flowers in Italy, were at their peak and most Italians said that the end of May is the best time to visit. There were oranges and lemons hanging off the trees and scented jasmine covering walls.
We spotted our first vintage fiat 500 that first afternoon in Rome, much to my delight. They’re just so classic and soo tiny! I fell in love and also loved the way that it had Roma on the numberplate. {In the days that followed we added different colours to our collection!}

Before our trip I’d researched the ‘best pizza in Rome, the best gelato’ etc etc and marked a few restaurants on the map. Li Rioni was a name that kept coming up and it was fairly near the Colosseum so I’d emailed ahead and booked a table. Most pizza restaurants only open from 7pm as it’s the time they start their wood ovens. It was about 5pm at this stage and we were starving and tired from getting up so early with the travelling. So we decided to go to sacrifice Li Rioni and eat at a restaurant nearby that was open instead. It was still amazing, I think in Rome unless you go somewhere really touristy you’d be hard pushed to find a bad pizza!


After walking so much we were starving and ordered two big pizzas to share. The fiori di zucchini {courgette flowers} was a favourite.

As the sun began to set, we wandered back down the Via dei Fori Imperiali, one of the most impressive streets in Rome and marvelled at it all with light from the magic hour. There were guys playing live music which echoed across the street and it just felt like one of those evenings you’d remember for a long time.
The next morning the streets were quiet as we headed out early to Campo de’ Fiori, the famous and one of the oldest markets in Rome.
We passed the Pantheon which again blew us away with the history and architecture of it all. It’s a Roman temple with a hole in the ceiling and one of the most preserved and influential buildings of Ancient Rome.

I loved this building covered in ivy. And see those pillars? It’s all just soo old and crumbly with something to see around every corner.
Another vintage fiat to add to our colour collection!
And then to the market, which was full of the most colourful produce as well as PEONIES!
I mean, peonies in Rome, what could be better??
It was all so beautiful. A feast for the eyes as well as to eat. The food was definitely a highlight in Italy.
From there we walked down Via di Monserrato towards the river.

We crossed the bridge and then saw a huge church at the end of an impressive street. Naively we walked along it and then realised ‘OMG that’s the Vatican’! It had seemed so far away on the map that we’d decided not to walk over that way but without even realising the city was smaller than we thought.
It’s a city in it’s own right, the Vatican City and of course home to the Pope and HQ of the Catholic world. We’re not religious and whilst it was impressive we decided not to pay for a tour or a visit. It was definitely worth a look though although very crowded as you’d expect.
Instead, we slowly made our way back to our apartment choosing a different route back to see more of the city without any agenda. We walked our way across the river, towards the Spanish steps and then down the famous shopping streets of Rome. Passing a few more Fiat 500’s on the way.. {are you bored of these car pics yet?!}
Back at the Trevi fountain we made lunch in the apartment and got back on the wifi to look up a few more places on the map. It was the worst city we’d been in for public wifi by the way which meant we had to have a plan or addresses before we went out. Having a lack of wifi is perfect for old fashioned romance and adventuring though.

Grom was first on our list that afternoon, it’s known for some of the best gelato and has branches all across Italy. It was the first of many Grom visits that week. The shop we went to was right in the heart of the Italian parliament and we laughed as serious city guys in suits went in for a post lunch gelato. You don’t really see that in London. We found that week that Italians of alll ages seriously love their gelato.
We were heading towards the Trastevere region of Rome across the river and passed the Piazza Navona en route which was well worth a stop. It’s a big square with gorgeous shuttered buildings and lots of buzzy cafes.
Trastevere is known as Rome’s favourite neighbourhood. I guess it’s like London’s Hampstead or Notting Hill in a way. A bit more authentic and villagey than the rest of the city with untouched buildings, cobbled streets and ivy covered trattorias. I’d heard that it’s the place that the Romans come to eat and there were so many good restaurants to choose between. It comes alive at night so visit in late afternoon or early evening for the best atmosphere.
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With full tummies from dinner in gorgeous old Trastevere and achey feet for a second day of crazy walking we walked back to the apartment.
Saying goodbye to the Colosseum and all the amazing streets and getting some sleep before an early train the next morning. I hadn’t been on a city break in ages and I’d forgotten just how incredible the good ones are. Rome, we really really loved you.

 Next up, Tuscany and Florence for some R&R! {romance and relaxation for you honeymooners}

You can find the website for Casacau here.

And more Smith hotels in Italy here.

R <3 xx

p.s. Have you been to Rome? Or is it on your list? I can’t believe it’s only 2 hours away!

{I was a guest of Smith Hotels and Casacau but you know that I’d never ever promote something which I didn’t love. I’ve used Mr & Mrs Smith for years}.

  • Love this post so much! Visited Rome 2 years ago and it is my favourite city. This has really made me want to go back! I can’t wait to read the posts about Florence and Tuscany! xxx

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