I'm in the process of trying to plan a honeymoon to Italy for May 2014. Departing from NYC on Sunday, May 18th and returning on Friday, May 30th. I'd like to keep the total budget on the lower end of $8k to $10k. I've been to Rome and Florence before but my fiance has never been to Italy. We aren't interested in visiting north of Rome or spending time in the AC during this trip. We'd like to find unique hotels that have some special character that sticks out whether it be the view, location, or amenities.
The itinerary looks like this so far:
Day 1 (5/19) - (ideal hotel is located at the base of the Pantheon) Check in to hotel, grab an espresso at Tazzo D'Oro and then proceed to visit the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, and Spanish Steps.
Day 2 (5/20) - Wake up early for a guided tour of St. Peter's (including a climb of the dome), Sistine Chapel/Vatican Museum.
Day 3 (5/21) - Victor Emmanuel Monument, guided tour of the Colosseum any good suggestions for a thorough tour?), and Roman Forum. Ideally, I'd like to see the Colosseum in the evening when it is all lit up.
Here is where I'm having trouble...
Day 4 (5/22) - Rent a car then drive to Monte Cassino and Pompeii. Spend the night in Naples.
Day 5 (5/23) - Day trip to Capri and another night in Naples (recommendations for pizza in Naples?)
Day 6 (5/24) - Morning flight from Naples to Catania then make our way down to Siracusa. See the Dumono di Siracusa in the afternoon and have a relaxing dinner on the sea (open to hotel suggestions)
Day 7 (5/25) - Another night in Siracusa; nothing but a relaxing day at the spa/pool/beach.
Day 8 (5/26) - Wake up early and make our way to Taormina (open to hotel suggestions; my initial thought was The Ashbee), see the Teatro Greco and spend the afternoon by the pool.
Day 9 (5/27) - Mt Etna guided hike (recommendations?)
Day 10 (5/28) - Winery tour with driver (recommendations?)
Day 11 (5/29) - Spend our last day relaxing at the Parco Comunale di Taormina or beach (recommendations?)
Day 12 (5/30) - Head back to Catania for flight home.
We might be able to be swayed into swapping out the nights in Naples for additional nights in Rome or Sicily. I know the 1st half of the trip is quite busy but I think we'll balance it out with a more relaxed 2nd half.
Please let me know what you think of the itinerary and how it might be improved. Any suggestions or recommendations are welcomed. We'd like avoid tourist traps for dining so any recommendations on authentic food is greatly appreciated.Edited: 03 September 2013, 02:56