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5 of the best destinations for romance

Take a romantic stroll along Rome’s Tiber River to the Ponte Sant’Angelo

Take inspiration from history’s most intriguing women, from Elizabeth Taylor to Sylvia Plath, and embark on your own passionate love affair at these clandestine destinations. By NATALIE EVANS-HARDING

Lifestyle

LA POSTA VECCHIA, Rome

The metaphor of an eternally orbiting planet perfectly describes the epic love affair between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. The couple were perhaps the most famous star-crossed lovers of the 21st century – they went on to marry and divorce each other twice – and the tabloids couldn’t get enough of their diamond- and yacht-filled lifestyle. They first laid eyes on each other in Rome in 1962, on the set of Cleopatra. Both married at the time to other people, their ensuing romance caused a scandal around the world and was even denounced by the Vatican. Relive their decadent escapades in La Posta Vecchia, on the outskirts of the city, getting lost in the huge 17th-century art-filled halls of this Italian mansion before strolling through the perfectly manicured grounds.

Insider tip: Take your seat at dusk in front of the dramatic sea view at the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant. lapostavecchia.com

You are as distant as Venus…and I am tone-deaf to the music of the spheres. But how-so-be-it…I love you and I always will
RICHARD BURTON TO ELIZABETH TAYLOR
Clockwise from left: Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton; a view of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City; the 17th-century La Posta Vecchia
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SALT HOUSE INN, Cape Cod

It’s the well-known romance of a poetic pairing that ended in tragedy. While Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes met at Cambridge University in England, it was in Cape Cod that the pair made some of their happiest memories, spending seven weeks in 1957 writing, fishing and sunbathing on these quaint American shores. It’s also where Plath wrote Mussel Hunter at Rock Harbor, her first poem to be published in The New Yorker. Reserve your room at the Salt House Inn; a chic hotel with stripped-back, beach-house décor in the chocolate-box seaside town of Provincetown.

Insider tip: Enjoy your homemade, seasonal breakfast in the peace of the rustic gardens and breathe in the fresh sea air. salthouseinn.com

I love you more than the whole gibbering world which owes its existence & worth – if it has any – to your being in it
SYLVIA PLATH TO TED HUGHES
Clockwise from right: Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath; the airy Loft at the Salt House Inn; picture-perfect Cape Cod

WYTHE HOTEL, New York

A love so strong it threatened to break up The Beatles – that was Yoko Ono and John Lennon. Yet their infatuation wasn’t introspective but outward looking, with hopes of spreading peace and love across the world. In the spring of 1979, they penned a joint love letter to their fellow New Yorkers, which was printed in The New York Times. Take inspiration from the duo and stage a bed-in protest under the luxuriously comfy duvets at the Wythe Hotel. It’s located in hip, musician-friendly Williamsburg, where you can look for John and Yoko’s ‘message in the sky’ from its impressive private terraces.

Insider tip: Look out for artist Vadis Turner’s installation Eighteen Hours in the hotel lobby. wythehotel.com

Still the sun is shining and we are here together, and there is love between us, our city, the country, the earth… Remember, we are writing in the sky instead of on paper
JOHN LENNON AND YOKO ONO
Clockwise from right: John Lennon and Yoko Ono; a chic corner of the Wythe Hotel; the Manhattan skyline as seen from the hotel’s bar, The Ides

WHAT TO WEAR IN MANHATTAN

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HOTEL TRESANTON, Cornwall

Despite being married to other men, literary heroines Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West embarked on an ardent affair in the mid-1920s. While Woolf wrote To the Lighthouse, recalling often painful childhood memories of summers spent in Cornwall with her late mother, she was comforted by Sackville-West. Check into the charming Hotel Tresanton, spread over a constellation of ’50s Cornish houses with clotted-cream-colored walls and furniture in nautical blues. A labor of love by designer Olga Polizzi, the eclectic and homely details have rendered it a favorite seaside refuge for creative types, including director Richard Curtis.

Insider tip: Steal away in The Lost Gardens of Heligan, in nearby Saint Austell, for kisses by moonlight. tresanton.com; heligan.com

Look here Vita — throw over your man, and we’ll…dine on the river together and walk in the garden in the moonlight
VIRGINIA WOOLF TO VITA SACKVILLE-WEST
Clockwise from top: The Lost Gardens of Heligan; the cozy interiors of Hotel Tresanton; English writer Virginia Woolf

WHAT TO WEAR IN CORNWALL

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CHÂTEAU DE CHISSAY, Loire Valley

On December 11, 1936, the British public turned on their radios to hear Edward VIII’s heartfelt abdication of the throne. Five years earlier, he had met American socialite Wallis Simpson who, as a divorcée, was considered an unfit love match for a king. The couple married in the Loire Valley, with none of his family in attendance. Book a room at the Château De Chissay and prove that love conquers all (even the monarchy). The grand castle is full of royal history, hosting everyone from King Charles VII to King Louis XI.

Insider tip: Float over the dreamy Loire Valley in a chartered hot-air balloon, which you can book at the Château’s front desk. chateaudechissay.com

I love you more and more every minute and no difficulties or complications can possibly prevent our ultimate happiness
EDWARD VIII
Clockwise from right: Wallis Simpson and Edward VIII; the imposing Château De Chissay; the Château is located beside the idyllic Cher River

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