I’ve been thinking about writing a post on planning a romantic getaway to Florence for awhile. I know that we spent part of our honeymoon in Florence, but it was my husband’s first time in my favorite city, so it wasn’t exactly the same. We’ve been back for the past few years, and this year, we spent a week there. I think our trip this year was my favorite, but maybe it’s just because it’s the most recent trip.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
Where to Stay for a Romantic Getaway to Florence
We stay at the St. Regis Florence. (This should be a given by now.) Whether it’s one of their incredible suites or a river view room, each room is beautiful and different. This past trip, our room seemed extra cozy and romantic. I always talk about how much I love the location of this hotel, but I think it’s because I really enjoy the walk along the Arno – in both directions. Whether it’s early in the morning or late in the evening, the river is always beautiful.
The other thing that makes me love this hotel is the staff. Somehow, Stephanie cultivates such a warm and welcoming staff. Viviana’s emails always make me feel welcome and excited to return. As soon as we arrive, Park is always ready to help with any detail. But, truth be told, Andrea always makes our stay extra special. Each year, he leaves recommendations and suggestions based our interests. This year, he directed us to the less busy Bardini Gardens, and I was able to recreate one of my favorite photographs from my study abroad semester (with a much, much better camera). Since he also enjoys photography, he gives me recommendations on where to find the best views! The St. Regis commitment to personalizing each and every single romantic getaway to Florence is something I don’t think we would find anywhere else.
Avoid the Crowds on a Romantic Getaway to Florence
I don’t think you can (or should!) take a romantic getaway to Florence and skip the iconic sights. Whether it’s watching the sunset from the Piazzale Michaelangelo or wandering the Boboli Gardens, you should have those experiences. That being said, there are a few secrets to make it a bit more enjoyable.
Keep Climbing to San Miniato al Monte
Jockeying for a spot at the Piazzale Michelangelo stresses me out. This year, we skipped the piazzale and made our way up to San Miniato al Monte. We had a front row seat for the sunset and way less people to deal with. We might have even been able to sneak a few kisses without an audience. (The year before, we took photos with Facibeni Fotografia near sunset and we had a audience. We definitely made it into some people’s vacation photos.)
Early Mornings are Made for Gardens
I know it can be hard to pull yourself out of bed on vacation but getting to the Boboli Garden before 12:00 ensures that you’ll feel like you have the place to yourself. (The light will be softer and more beautiful, too.) We arrived around 9:30, and we had the place to ourselves. (Actually, there was a school group but we went in the other direction and never saw them again.) We found the same to be true at the Bardini Gardens.
Skip the Lines at Museums
The Uffizi and the Accademia shouldn’t be missed, and if you’re not an art person, booking a tour will ensure that you get the most out of it. It also ensures that you can skip lines if you don’t book your museum tickets far enough in advance. We’ve done both early access tours and enjoyed them equally. I think we’re particularly looking forward to visiting the Accademia again since I forgot my camera the first time. (The David really is that impressive.) If you’re looking to just book tickets in advance, I suggest the earlier the better.
End the Day at the Duomo
Confession: I’ve never stood in line to get into the Duomo. Since my apartment was a block away from the Duomo, I watched the line constantly. There’s a line when it opens (both in the morning and the afternoon), but there’s never a line towards the end of the day. Going in the late afternoon meant that I could spend as much time as I wanted staring up at that dome.
Ponte Santa Trinita vs. Ponte Vecchio vs. Ponte alle Grazie
I’m always confused when I see people staking out a spot before the sunset on the Ponte Vecchio. While it’s beautiful to watch the sunset over the Arno from any perspective, you can’t see it if you’re on the bridge. Personally, I tend to gravitate to the Arno from wherever I am at that moment. If you want to see the sun set with the Ponte Vecchio, you need to be on the Ponte alle Grazie. It’s a little further away, so bring your zoom lens if you want photos. If you want to watch the blue hour descend on the Ponte Vecchio and still be able to appreciate the sunset, you want to be on the Ponte Santa Trinita. (Don’t forget to turn around to see the brilliant colors of the sunset though!)
Unique Experiences for a Romantic Getaway for Florence
Get Out of Town (briefly)
My husband probably has PTSD from the time we did a Fiat 500 tour (and Nico, the most patient tour guide ever, probably does, too). I, however, choose to remember golden hour in the Tuscany countryside, what it felt like to snap this photo (and others) from the side of a hill, and watching the sunset while drinking delicious wine and snacking on tasty prosciutto. The tour departs from the hills outside of Florence, and you’ll be back in time for dinner or a stroll along the Arno.
If driving a double-clutch Fiat 500 isn’t on your bucket list, take the No. 7 bus up to Fiesole and plan lunch with a view of Florence. We sat up there for at least an hour just enjoying the view.
Learn to Make Pizza and Gelato
One of the first cooking classes I ever took abroad was in Florence, and I fully intend to take a pasta class. It’s a fun way to spend an evening, and you’re basically bringing home a souvenir that you can always enjoy. Since then, I’ve learned to make pesto in Cinque Terre and apple strudel in Salzburg. It’s a fun and delicious way to spend an morning, afternoon, or evening!
We started this trend while we were on our honeymoon in Paris. Not only do I always have pictures for our Christmas cards, but it’s a fun way to commemorate your romantic getaway to Florence. I cannot recommend Cristiano with Facibeni Fotografia enough. I love looking back on our photos… and I make photo books for our parents when we get back. What better way to commemorate a trip?!
Photo Credit // Facibeni Fotografia