Florence & Siena Italy Travel Diary

If you follow GWS on Instagram, you might remember our European travels this past fall. I already shared about our 48 hours in London, the Lake Como workshop we were a part of and our week in Puglia, and today I’m sharing about our stays in Florence + Siena – both in the Tuscany region of Italy.

Getting to Florence, Italy

Before Florence, we were in Puglia, so we flew from Bari to Florence. Once you arrive at the airport, the train is easy to take if it’s just the 2 of you…if you are traveling with young children, we hired a car (which I recommend since you’ll need car seats and we found this the easiest). You can also grab a taxi from the airport. I don’t recommend renting a car in Florence, but if you plan to later explore Tuscany (outside of Florence), a car is nice to have but not a must have (more on this later).

Where to stay in Florence, Italy

Jason + I were in Florence a few years back and stayed at the Hotel Gallery Art.  (located right by the famous Ponte Vecchio) as well as the Four Seasons Florence and had a great time (more from that Tuscany trip here). This time we were looking for something a bit more relaxed and decided to stay at the Belmond Villa San Michele. We love the Belmond brand (we stayed at one of their hotels in Mallorca, Spain as well as Portofino, Italy) and always have an amazing stay at their hotels. The Villa San Michele is up on a hill overlooking Florence, so it’s not right in the city, but has the most AMAZING views of Florence. They also have a shuttle from the hotel to the center of Florence that leaves once an hour, which is helpful to explore the city.

Florence Travel Diary

The grounds of the Villa San Michele are STUNNING! We arrived the first day late in the afternoon and enjoyed a relaxing dinner with drinks on the veranda. I mean those views were everything. Not a ton of food options up here, but honestly you are staying here for those views. :)

We enjoyed the breakfast each morning (included in the room rate) with a great selection of eggs, yogurt, fruit, pastries, coffee and insane views each morning. Perfect way to start the day!:)

It was a bit cooler during our stay (we were here in late October) but we still had to take advantage of that pool!! It was refreshing and a great way to start the day….

Florence Travel Diary

Florence Travel Diary

Wearing our GWSxMumu Sophia Wrap Dress – perfect for a date night in Italy :)

For our first full day in Florence, we took their shuttle into town. Since we had been to Florence before (and we only had one day here to explore the city), we pretty much knew where to go. We of course wanted to take the short hike up to Piazzale Michelangelo, (this is where you can see the best views of the city – photo below was taken there). It’s a bit of an uphill hike (esp when you are wearing a baby carrier with a heavy baby – ha!) but it’s TOTALLY worth it. The most amazing views of Florence.

Florence Travel Diary

After enjoying the views we back walked down to Piazza Santo Spirto for some lunch. And something amazing happened. Both our girls feel asleep!! A dream. Jason and I enjoyed a nice relaxing lunch on the patio at Borgo Antico with some yummy pasta and lots of wine. It was perfect. Then since I promised Sienna a heart shaped pizza, we walked over to Gusta Pizza for the infamous heart pizza :)

Heart Pizza

Florence Travel Diary

After that we wondered around the city a bit more, found a playground for the girls, then walked around the Duomo. The Duomo is definitely something to see – and the area around the Duomo has lots of great shopping + restaurants, so lots to explore here as well. We enjoyed dinner at Trattoria Dalloste before heading back to the hotel.

The next day we packed up and took the bus to Siena. The bus from Florence to Siena is the easiest way to get there and takes a little over an hour.

 Siena, Italy

When Jason + I were traveling around Europe many years ago (about 6 years ago), we took a day trip to Siena, Italy. The town is magic. We had an amazing afternoon and fell in love with the city. So much, that we named our first daughter Sienna after the city (yes, we added the extra n, as a very visual person, I just liked that spelling better.) But it was this town she was named after, so we were very excited to take her here to experience the city. I honestly thought she would be much older when we would get the chance to take her here, so this was very special to us…. :)

Where to stay in Siena, Italy

There are a few hotels in Siena, but we decided to stay in an Airbnb here. We found this gem – it had some great design elements (lots of rad tiles!) and was just a short walk from the center of Siena. Great location and would highly recommend this apartment for sure. It was nice to have our own place to enjoy an easy breakfast before starting the day and of course since this stop was during a 3 week long trip, we needed to do laundry and they had laundry here. Very important for traveling in Europe longer than a week! :)

Siena Travel Diary

We spent 3 nights in Siena. It was perfect for us, but you could easily spend more time here. We loved walking around the town and just seeing where we would end up. One must do?Enjoying a wine or beer in at one of the cafes in the Piazza del Campo. Just such great atmosphere there!

Siena Italy Travel Diary

Siena Italy Travel Diary

Siena Italy Travel Diary

During our trip we found the CUTEST restaurant, Zest. Great food (and wine!) and we really loved sitting in the alley with the view of the town (it’s the restaurant above on the left).

Siena Italy Travel Diary

Siena Italy Travel Diary

I’d also recommend a wine tour – or perhaps village hopping. It wasn’t really in this trip for us since we had our kids with us, but you are in Tuscany so a wine tour is a must! If you just want to relax in a cute village with great food + wine as well as shopping, this is a great town to add to your next Italian trip :)

Dreaming of Tuscany? Please also check out this Tuscany & Cinque Terre feature as well as this Tuscany Travel Guide. Happy Exploring!