A European Honeymoon: Florence + Tuscany

honeymoon-tuscany-02

We spent some time in Italy for our honeymoon and fell in love, I guess who doesn’t?! So, we knew we wanted to go back but wanted to see some new areas. For our honeymoon we visited Cinque Terre (our most fave Italian towns), Venice, Rome, Milan and Lake Como. Since we didn’t get to Tuscany the first time, that was a must see for this trip (and if you missed the rest of our European trip, you can also read about our stops to Paris, Belgium and Berlin). We decided to stay in Florence as our base city for the 5 days and then do day trips to some of the smaller Tuscan towns. This worked out great for us, but something to keep in mind is that Florence is a very touristy town and crowded! If I was planning a trip back or making suggestions for your trip, I’d recommend staying in Florence for a few nights, then also staying in one of the smaller Tuscan towns – the best of both! :)

Our first day in Florence rained, but luckily Katie (from Ever After Honeymoons) raved about this wine + cheese bar (Il Santino) near our hotel, so we decided to stop in and give it a try. By US standards, this place was tiny (we almost missed it!) but offered really great cheeses + wines for not a lot of money. Totally recommend it. After a few hours, the rain stopped and we decided to explore a bit. On our map, we saw the landmark Piazzale Michelangelo, which promised great views of the city, so we walked up + up a giant hill (it is quite a hike!) but TOTALLY worth it. The most amazing views of Florence. We went at sunset and it was stunning. I was so bummed I didn’t have my good camera, but it is breathtaking.

florence Piazzale Michelangelo

Florence

We loved walking around Florence – but since the streets were so crowded, we decided to take a day trip to the smaller town of Siena. I heard great things about the town and was super excited to check it out for myself. There’s a bus that can take you there direct from Florence (it’s a 1 hour trip) and so worth it!

Siena

When we arrived in Siena, we had no idea where to go, but that’s also what made it so fun. We just started walking and then quickly began smelling the most amazing food. We stopped at this tiny restaurant for lunch, Osteria la Piana, and it was one of our fave meals of the trip. Pappardelle with wild boar meat (a Tuscan specialty), gnocchi and red wine –so tasty we had a bit more than we originally planned on having, but we were on vacation :). Delicious. After lunch we walked around the town and soon found the town center. Such a great town center that is was declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site, a must see! (photo above from this site) We took a nap in the sun and just people watched for a while. Then, after a yummy cappuccino, we walked around the town to soak up more of the amazing views of Tuscany – so gorgeous and a perfect day…

Siena food

And if you love the idea of getting married in Siena – or anywhere in Tuscany – look up Erin from Tuscany Destination! She helps couples who aren’t from Tuscany with their wedding plans for the area. :)

tuscan views

Thanks again to Katie at Ever After Honeymoons for the help with our lodging! The first three nights we stayed at the Hotel Gallery Art. It was right near the famous Ponte Vecchio – so it was nice and central. Awesome modern design + loved the art that was displayed in the hotel. It was fun staying at such a modern hotel in such an historic city.  A great breakfast was also included in the rate.

hotel gallery art florence

They had a rad bar and restaurant there also – highly recommend both. We usually ended the night with a drink at the bar where they had the most unusual drinks (see below!). The restaurant is great too, since it is more asian influnced and a nice break from all the Italian food (I know I didn’t think I would need a break, but we did love to mix it up a bit!).

hotel gallery art florence cocktails

The last two nights we moved away from the center of Florence to the Four Seasons Florence. The Four Seasons is a bit outside the main area of Florence, which provides a nice break from the crowds – it is actually an old palace! Our room was pretty amazing, as were the grounds and the rest of the hotel. We also spoke with the wedding planners there and learned that it’s a popular spot for weddings. Super fun to hear that they share the GWS love of making your wedding day personal as they cater each wedding to the couple – no wedding packages here!  The planners told us a bit about a wedding they were in the middle of planning and it included training birds to fly in and out of the ceremony, it sounded pretty incredible. If you’re planning a wedding in Florence and have even the most extravagant requests, I’m sure this is the place that can deliver.

four seasons florence

four seasons florence

One of our favorite meals of the trip was at Il Santo Bevitore. They had the most delicious burrata, pasta and steak tartare. It’s owned by the same people as the cheese + wine shop we stopped at a few days before (we actually wanted to go here for dinner that night but they were booked, so recommend a reservation – totally worth it!) Something to also keep in mind when traveling in Italy – most of the best restaurants aren’t in the middle of the tourist areas, so venture away from all the tourists to where the locals ear. Also, don’t go anywhere with tourist menus that have photos (that is a big no for me anywhere, but espcially when travling in Europe).

burrata from florence

We also took a day trip to Lucca, which is a walled in city about 2 hours from Florence. We found some great pizza there and had a lovely walk around the city. Another tip to rememeber – we were there on a Sunday and they really do close down most shops and restaurants for the afternoon – something to keep in mind! It was a bit chilly that day, but lots of people were riding bikes around the walls of the town which looked super fun.

florence

florence

All in all we loved our time in Florence + Tuscany! Can’t wait to go back and explore more of the smaller towns around the area. Is anyone planning a trip to Tuscany for their honeymoon? Or have you been and have a tip to leave? Would love to hear in the coments. :)

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Comments

  1. Ohhh so jealous of your Siena day trip! We just got back last month and didn’t make it to Siena, it looks absolutely incredible!

  2. I went to Tuscany with my mom a few years ago and my fiance lived in Florence for 4 months in college. We are planning out honeymoon to stop at Rome, Volterra, and Santa Margharita Ligure en route to Venice…sadly missing Florence this trip but I am writing down the cheese recommendation!

  3. HEY! WOW Siena made it to the GWS! I LOVE IT!!! I live in Siena! right next to the Piazza del Campo (in the pictures)!!! Let me know if you need pics. I LOOOOOVE IT!!! Many greetings from Siena!

  4. We went to Tuscany for our Honeymoon last summer and LOVED it! We actually rented a car in France and then drove to Italy (someone told us renting a car as Americans in Italy can be difficult). We stayed here (http://www.castellodibibbione.com/) and loved how easy it was to get to Florence, Pisa, Siena and San Gimignano. If you do rent a car be sure to read Rick Steve’s Tuscany tour book for parking since you can get parking tickets for driving in the wrong areas of Florence. Italy Honeymoons For the Win!

  5. Hi Jen!

    We just got from our first European vacation for 2 weeks. One of our stops was Florence. And out of all the cities we visited (Rome, Venice, Paris and Barcelona) Florence was our favorite! We loved the ability to walk everywhere and all the couture shopping. One of our favorite restaurants were Trattoria Zaza and Trattoria Anita. I have more details of our trip on my blog http://www.karlacamador.com in case anyone else wants Europe tidbits.. :)

  6. Florence & Tuscany as some of the most stunning parts of the world i have seen, beautiful people and so much to see

  7. I had the pleasure of living in Florence for 3 months and taking a painting class. I rented my own apt. and lived my own Under the Tuscan Sun experience. My recommendation to anyone going to Italy (Tuscany) for the first time is to take in Florence first!!! How many people see the Museo de Pietra Dura, the Museo de Scientifico, Vasari Corridore? The little villages in Tuscany are a short train ride outside of the city. Florence is the most romantic and artistic filled city in the world.

  8. If you didn’t hit Lucca, you should definitely go next time! It is a little Tuscan town that we stopped at for the day on our way from 3 days in Florence to 3 days in the Cinque Terre, and I wanted to move there! We did Siena too, but it was at the end of a long day, we were sick, and there was a really crowded festival so we did not have a good day trip. You’ve convinced me to give it a second chance! We also stopped at a little town called Orvieto on our way to Rome and it was my favorite small town stop (aside from the Cinque Terre). HIGHLY recommend. I have a great B&B to recommend. Cheap for the nicest accommodations of our trip, and the most authentic Italian experience by far.

  9. Just saw you did hit Lucca…Oops! We did do the bike riding on the wall arond the city and had a picnic on it – so fun. Oh, and I totally second Karla and her rec of Trattoria Zaza! It is amazing! And the Piazzale Michelangelo is totally worth the hike. I lost 10 lbs while in Italy from all of the walking and climbing to the top of every tower and dome. And trust me, I ate my weight in Italian food everyday! You’ve really made me miss Italy…

  10. HI , i m silvia and I m a florentine lady who love this blog. Should you need any info, or suggestions for your visit to Tuscany or Italy in general i will be pleased to share with you my preference and hidden locations in italy, cioa cia silvia
    silviacalosi@alice.it

  11. I want to get married just so I can have my honeymoon there!

  12. This location looks perfect! Romance style gosh it’s gorgeous, thank you for sharing

  13. Beautiful! We are going there for our belated honeymoon at the end of May. I can’t wait!

  14. I have grown up going to Florence to visit family my whole life. This past semester I got the opportunity to study abroad there. It is the city that holds my heart. Next time you take a trip to Tuscany you must go to San Gimigniano! It is the best city in Italy next to Florence and Cinque Terre!

  15. You’ll never go wrong when you pick Italy!!!! :) such a beauty!

  16. My husband and I met in Florence where we were both living at the time.
    As for anyone visiting, spend only a few days in Florence unless you are heavy into Renaissance art, but spend a few weeks in Tuscany.
    Also, avoid November through late February unless you really love rain.

  17. Oh my goodness, this brings back so many memories! I spent some time in Tuscany with my family when I was 15 and it was lovely. San Gimigniano, Cinque Terre and Siena are definately my idea my idea of the PERFECT honeymoon. Unfortunately, a trip to Italy is out of the budget right now. Maybe somewhere down the road…

  18. oh how my heart yearns for Italy seeing these – beautiful xxxx I’ve visited all these places – its my ambition to return one day – with my camera! Thank you for sharing this xx

  19. Last time I was travelling around Italy one of my favourite stops was Chianti in Tuscany. Stunning views and fantastic vineyards and wine tasting!

  20. Tuscany is for me one of the most beautiful regions of Italy and of the world. Arts , culture and nature are harmoniously united in this land. Deciding to stay in Tuscany was really rewarding !
    In this fabulous context we stopped at Borgo San Pietro . That’s a really wonderfull place , where we passed unforgettable moments.
    http://www.borgosantopietro.com/

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