I’ve spent the last two weeks blogging our entire wedding day, but the fun isn’t over yet! Now I’m back to recap our HONEYMOON!! 🙂 We traveled to Italy for 10 days after our wedding day, and it was the trip of a lifetime. I’ll be breaking the honeymoon recap into two parts: our stay in Amalfi and our stay in Florence!
I really don’t even know where to begin on recapping how truly amazing this trip was. For background, Hayden spent the entirety of our dating relationship studying for a huge, 3-part finance exam called the CFA. So, between work, studying and life – we never really got the chance to travel together. Actually, we realized we had NEVER traveled together for more than a 48 hour trip that wasn’t for a family holiday! Hayden is Italian and has been to Italy before (he even speaks some Italian!)…but it had been a dream of mine to travel to Italy my entire life. Needless to say, this trip was a dream come true for us for so many reasons!
Hayden did the majority of the honeymoon planning (he’s an angel), and we agreed we wanted the first few days of our honeymoon to be nothing but RELAXATION. We got married on a Saturday and took one day to rest – so we flew to Italy on Monday, May 8th. I’m SO glad we did it this way! If we had left the day after our wedding, we would’ve been so dead tired. And half packed. Hahaha! We had an afternoon flight that took us overnight to Rome, then took the train to Amalfi. From there, we had a private shuttle to our hotel in Ravello! Hayden’s dad is an American Airlines pilot, and while we couldn’t logistically find a way for his dad to be the one to fly us there…I’ll never forget them announcing we were on the plane before we took off! Everyone clapped for us because his dad made a call to make our ride extra special 🙂 It was so sweet! We even got champagne!
With relaxation in mind, we decided that we would splurge on a nice hotel for the first 3 nights of our stay – then hop between lower-cost Airbnbs after that. We used the help of a travel credit card to rack up points while wedding planning, and we decided to stay at the Belmond Caruso Hotel in Ravello. We did a LOT of research to find the perfect place to kick off our honeymoon, and we heard nothing but the most INCREDBILE things about Caruso. We went in with high expectations…and, oh my goodness…every single one of them was blown out of the water. More on that in a minute!
We landed in Rome and had about two hours before we needed to catch the train, so we decided to find something to eat. But, the tricky part is that Hayden has celiac…and the airport has very few gluten free options in Italy 😉 So, after roaming around a bit…we found a Five Guys. And, we are both embarrassed to admit that our first meal in Italy was a bun-less burger. HAHAHA! Gotta do what you gotta do I guess!
After our (very sleepy) train ride, we arrived in Amalfi to catch our ride up to our hotel! It was about an hour drive from the train station to the top of the mountain in Amalfi where the small town of Ravello sits. It was a GORGEOUS drive, and I’ll never forget the view when we first walked into the hotel. There are double doors at the end of the lobby that make you feel like you are standing on the edge of the world looking over Amalfi, and they offered us fresh lemonade right when we walked in. From that moment on, I knew it was going to be a GREAT stay!
We kicked off our honeymoon adventures with my wedding gift to Hayden: a private “chef’s experience” dinner! Hayden absolutely loves to cook, and I wanted him to get to experience something extra special in Italy. Our dinner was supposed to be outside overlooking the mountains, but it was sadly pouring rain. So, they moved us into a private room inside and we got to have an 8-course meal that is unlike ANYTHING I will ever experience again in my life. I worked with the chef to custom-build a menu for this dinner that was gluten free and full of Hayden’s favorites…and the chef went above and beyond to add even MORE courses (and dessert!) and treated us like family. We both still consider it one of the best parts of our honeymoon!
The next two days in Ravello were also very rainy, but it didn’t phase us. We spent most of the time cozied up in our room, sitting on our patio or exploring with umbrellas in hand. We got SUPER lucky on the last day and had a few hours of sun – so we soaked it up by the infinity pool! We spent 80% of our time in Ravello at our hotel to really relax and rejuvenate after all the wedding festivities. It was exactly what we needed and could not have been more peaceful.
All of the staff at Caruso learn your name, your favorite foods, your allergies, your routine and more…we have truly never experienced customer service like this (and I’m not sure that we ever will again!) They even had a PILLOW MENU (!!!) by your bed so that you could pick the pillow that would make you most comfortable. And little baby mattress pads for your feet so you didn’t have to touch the cold tile floor when you woke up in the morning. I’m not even kidding. It was UNREAL.
Now for the best part…the PHOTOS! Going to share all of the photos I took on my phone…and end the post with some I took on my “real” camera! 🙂 These were from our travel day to Rome!!
The second we arrived at Caruso! You can tell that rain was comin’ in hot!
Note the fresh lemonade!!!! I’ll never forget it!
The most plush robes and cutest wooden room keys.
This is how they presented all of the activities available at the hotel!
We took a quick (and much-needed) nap then rallied for dinner! Our private garden/patio is on the right 🙂
The PILLOW MENU (!!!) Told you I wasn’t kidding.
Drinks and snacks before dinner! One of my favorite things about traveling in Italy was that you ALWAYS got a little plate of snacks when you ordered drinks!
I was a little sad that the rain ruined the original plan of having the chef’s tasting in the garden…until we saw THIS room they put us in instead (!!!) We had it all to ourselves!
The presentation of all the food was UNREAL.
This was caprese risotto… and I ordered it 3 more times while we were staying here. LOLLLL.
This blurry pic was a complete surprise from the chef. He found a way to make his grandma’s gnocchi recipe GLUTEN FREE so we could both try it! I’ll NEVER forget how incredible this was!!
The rain stopped, so they offered to move us outside for dinner and brought us the most luxurious cashmere blankets and gluten free desserts as a surprise!
Lemon cake!!! With real gold on top!! And it was gluten free!!! I swear I can still taste it.
I’m pretty sure we slept until about 11am on day 2. An insane travel day will do that to you!!! But we woke up SO rested and ready to explore (despite the pouring rain)!
We ended up back at our hotel for lunch and I honestly LOVED that we got to spend so much time at Caruso. The food, staff, views and overall experience were just one of a kind.
The prettiest sunset thanks to a break in the rain!
We went back out to grab gelato and gluten free pizza, then ate on our balcony!
We documented our entire honeymoon on this polaroid camera and I LOVE that we have this!! We filled a whole album that we keep in our memory box!
Finished the night with drinks in the lobby!
Room service breakfast was included each morning, and we forgot to sign up for it the day before. But, YA’LL. Oh my goodness. They even came and set it all up on our patio for us!
The kitty friends were one of the best parts 🙂
The SUN WAS OUT!!! We finally got a pool day!
This was called the strawberry fields cocktail and I’ll never forget it.
One of my favorite days of our whole honeymoon. Not a care in the world except which lemon-based cocktail I’d order next.
The sweetest old woman offered to take these photos for us and I absolutely adore them 🙂
Exploring the lemon groves!
Our grand finale dinner in Amalfi before heading to Florence the next day!
One last morning in the best slippers ever.
I don’t normally take my professional camera out on personal trips, but I am SO glad I did this time. These are all photos I grabbed on our sunny pool day and we have a few printed as artwork in our bedroom!
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