Romantic Florence

Day 1 – Retracing the Great Love Stories

florence art tour

Many of the works that make Florence unique in the world were designed for love. Retrace some of these stories through a route that takes you to the most important artistic places in the city.

During the Renaissance, Florence was the most flourishing center for arts and culture in the world, thanks to the Medici family and other dynasties of wealthy merchants. Cosimo I de' Medici married Eleanor of Toledo in a political marriage, but their love grew and deepened - so much so that Eleanor was even active in city government. As a sign of his love, Cosimo ordered the construction of the beautiful Boboli Gardens, Florence's most famous and beloved park. The elegant gardens lie behind the Pitti Palace, purchased to serve as the Medici family residence. Boboli is one of the most important Italian garden, "beautiful and grand as you" (said Eleanor about them to Cosimo). Visit the Pitti Palace complex, located in the Oltrarno district of Florence – it hosts important exhibitions and the luxurious Royal Apartments, displaying furniture and memorabilia, as well as a number of priceless works of art, such as important masterpieces by Raphael and Titian. Lose yourselves in the gardens between paths and fountains, take time for photographing the spectacular views over the city. Stop at the beautiful Buontalenti Cave, where a kiss for your love is part of the experience!

florence renaissance tour
The Buontalenti cave was the scene of another love story – that of Francesco I, son of Cosimo and Eleonora, and Bianca Cappello. It was a turbulent relationship: Francesco married Johanna of Austria, sister of Emperor Maximilian II, the most prestigious wedding ever to have taken place in the Medici family. But Francesco was madly in love with Bianca Cappello, a Venetian noblewoman. He had an illicit relationship with her for some time, and introduced her in court despite being married. Following the death of Bianca’s husband first and then that of Johanna, Francesco married Bianca in secret and moved his residence to the Palazzo Vecchio. He commissioned Vasari to build his studiolo (open to the public today, not to be missed!), adjacent to the bedroom, and with a secret exit to the street. The couple died in 1587 of malaria, but their remains do not rest together: Francesco is buried beside his first wife at the Medici Chapels (another must-see pearl of Florence), while Bianca's burial place is unknown.
Among the preparations for the wedding of Francesco I belongs also one of the greatest works ever built at the time, and a must-see in the Florence of today: the Vasari Corridor. Built as a safe passage for the Medici family and guests, the corridor leads from the seat of city government (Palazzo Vecchio) to the Palazzo Pitti residence, and passes the current Uffizi Gallery (which you'll visit on your exclusive tour), the corridor offers secret views of the city. Its construction was necessary to safeguard the bride and groom from conspiring citizens, and led to the renewal of the Ponte Vecchio, where its historic butchers were replaced by goldsmiths, offering more pleasant smells and sights. Retrace this once secret route, gain a deep cultural experience of the city, and relive the splendor of the Medici and their immense collection of art works!

 

It's dinner time! You'll exit the Vasari corridor in the Oltrarno district where you will find many family-owned restaurants ideal for a romantic dinner. We recommend the Trattoria 4 Leoni (Piazza della Passera, very close to Palazzo Pitti): enjoy pure “Florentinity” with traditional dishes such as Ribollita (a hearty vegetable soup). We also recommend Ristorante Filipepe (Via San Niccolo 39/r), with its refined furniture, delicious seafood menu and creative dishes, such as gnocchi with liquorice and 'nduja (a spicy pork sausage from Calabria). End your day with a walk along the river bank, pause on the Ponte Vecchio, and admire the magically reflecting lights on the Arno, the windows with handcrafted jewelry. If you are looking for a precious memory, here you will find the best of the old Florentine goldsmith tradition!

 

Day 2 - Sweet Tenderness & Art

discover secret florence

Take the time to pamper yourself with the kindnesses of the town during your romantic weekend! Alternate your discovery of the artistic wealth of Florence with gourmet breaks full of curiosity, while perhaps looking for a special souvenir to remember the trip. A great start to the day can be a sweet breakfast in Piazza della Signoria. In front of Palazzo Vecchio, Rivoire is more than just a chocolatier, cafe, or pastry shop – it is an institution! Let yourself be seduced by chocolate treats and cappuccino, sitting directly on the most famous square of Florence. Here you will find the traditional horse carriages, a classic experience perfect for celebrating an anniversary. Enjoy the view from a different perspective, accompanied by the amusing anecdotes of the coachmen, part of the folklore. We recommend our expert coachman for the Horse and Carriage Ride (from the nearby via Lamberti), after which you will receive a free bottle of fine Tuscan wine!
Back in the square, visit the Palazzo Vecchio if you have not done so the previous day. The visit to the Monumental Quarters will introduce you to the most beautiful halls and works by Donatello, as well as the curious dressing room of Bianca Cappello, for whom a fine studio was created in view of her passion for collecting. Another Palazzo Vecchio Itinerary is the Secret Passages Tour which will take you to the hidden places and the most beautiful treasures, such as the scale of the Duke of Athens, the studio of Francesco I and the trusses of the ceiling of the Salone dei Cinquecento, with the gold-encrusted designs by Vasari. Looking for an even more curious tour to share with your love? During the Life at the Medici Court the "Nurse of the little princes" will be your guide and take you through the rooms of the palace and the real life of the ducal family for a true insight into the Renaissance every day.

florence guided tour
Are you ready for another mouthwatering break after all this culture? No tour could be more romantic than the Chocolate Artisans of Florence. Discover the work of the master chocolatiers with sensuous artisan chocolate tastings, including a lunch at the Ristorante Gastone. However, if your palates prefer savory sensations, we suggest you taste the finest meats and cheeses in Florence with the Florence Wine, Oil, and Cheese Tasting.

Spend the rest of your day at the Uffizi, the most important Italian art gallery and one of the most prestigious museums in the world. Book your preferred entry time, so you can organize your day and jump the perennial waiting line at the entrance! Among the many wonders on display, we recommend you stop in rooms 10-14 for two iconic paintings that tell a story of love: The Birth of Venus and Primavera, also known as Allegory of Spring by Sandro Botticelli. The lady in the paintings is always the same: Simonetta Vespucci, known as "La Bella Simonetta", probably the platonic love interest of Giuliano di Piero de' Medici. Simonetta was once appointed queen of a jousting tournament which Giuliano fought and won, the prize being her portrait by Botticelli, with the inscription "The Unrivaled." Simonetta died at age 22 of tuberculosis, but Botticelli, in love with her, continued to paint her face everywhere: he painted Primavera six years after her death, and the Birth of Venus at least nine years after her passing. When Botticelli died 34 years later, he asked and obtained to be buried at the feet of the beloved in the church of Ognissanti. 

To close the day, here is a fabulous romantic Concert and Dinner in the heart of Florence. A wine bar nestled into a characteristic "buca" (meaning “hollow”, an old cellar), under arches and vaults of the 1200s, will be the backdrop for your Tuscan dinner by candlelight accompanied by excellent Chianti wine. A short walk from the restaurant you'll be welcomed into the intimate atmosphere of an Anglican church with exceptional acoustics, where fine singers will perform for you the most beautiful opera arias by Puccini, Verdi, Rossini, and other renowned Italian composers as well as Neapolitan songs.

Day 3 - Panoramic Views and Ideas out of the Ordinary

florence panorama romantic tour

One of the classics for lovers is to admire views from above, to impress unforgettable moments upon the memory and take spectacular photographs. Florence has some of the most precious views, true pearls of beauty. Enjoy the top view of the city from the tallest building: the Cupola of the Duomo. Not only is it the tallest building in Florence, it will forever stay so, as decreed by the city! Erected by Brunelleschi, it is the largest brick structure ever built. The inside was frescoed by Vasari, who portrayed a breathtaking Last Judgement – it is the largest fresco ever painted with its 3600 m2. To admire the dome, discover the challenges in building it and its history, and to enjoy the best view from the center of Florence, book your visit! We highly recommend the Guided Tour of the Terraces of the Duomo, which will allow you to literally "float above Florence"! Equally spectacular is the view from the Bell Tower – enjoy the Dome and the Baptistery from an unusual angle. The inside of the latter is decorated with golden mosaics that will leave you breathless. Experience the Museum of the Opera del Duomo, full of a close view of ancient relics and original works of art (Michelangelo for example), including the extraordinary Gates of Paradise, which were originally at the baptistery, and are newly restored to their former glory.

Leaving the cathedral, take a walk through the “commercial living room“ in the center of Florence: Via dei Calzaiuoli, the area of Piazza della Repubblica and the surrounding streets, dedicated to quality shopping for fashion and accessories, and surrounded by historic buildings. You will find the most important names, ideal for a classy gift to celebrate an anniversary, for example. Taking Via Tornabuoni, you'll arrive at the massive Palazzo Spini Ferroni, purchased by Salvatore Ferragamo in the 1930s. The historical building is now the seat of prestigious shops and the Ferragamo Museum since 1995. From the Ponte Santa Trinita you'll have the most beautiful view of the Ponte Vecchio. And to taste a rich and delicious gelato, cross the bridge: the Gelateria Santa Trinita awaits you with a wide variety of imaginative and traditional flavors.

florence oltrarno guided tour
From here continue to the Oltrarno district. Are you looking for a special gift? You'll find it in one of the artisan workshops that populate the most authentic neighborhood of Florence. You will find cobblers, tailors, art objects, and souvenirs out of the ordinary. Buy them directly from the artisans at work, and enjoy meeting a world made by hand. If you love this historically rich universe of skill, heart, and precision, discover it more deeply on one of the fascinating Meet the Artisans Tours. Also in Oltrarno, Piazza Santo Spirito - full of bars and cafes - is ideal for a refreshing break. One of the most romantic stories of the city is told here, the story of to Dianora de' Bardi, daughter of a wealthy family, and Ippolito Buontalenti. The two fell in love, but family rivalries forced them to live their love in a clandestine manner. The legend speaks of stolen kisses, houses climbed under cover of night, open windows, arrests, and so on – right up to the wedding.

 

For a unique romantic experience, why not a Boat Ride on the Arno? But if you really want to surprise your loved one, here are some ideas out of the ordinary. What's more spectacular than to declare your eternal love in a Hot Air Balloon floating above the Chianti? Does your man love custom-built cars? Then how about a ride in a Ferrari through the Florentine hills? If you love nature, there's nothing like diving into the beautiful Tuscan countryside on horseback! And if your accommodation includes a kitchen, try a Tuscan dinner at home: you won't have to do anything, just welcome the chef who will serve you a delicious meal!

It might be time to leave, but you cannot leave Florence without a visit to Piazzale Michelangelo: seal your holiday with a romantic walk in the moonlight, and ignite your desire to return soon to the many wonders Florence offers every day...

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