Travel

What to See and Do in Tuscany and Florence, Italy

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The list of places I’ve traveled to isn’t especially long, but I feel confident saying that Tuscany may be the most perfect place on earth. It’s that dreamy combination of those rolling hills, tiny little towns, old buildings, and all that Italian wine. Here’s a recap of our time in Tuscany and Florence, Italy. 

What to See and Do in Tuscany and Florence, Italy

I was sure Florence would be my favorite place in Italy and maybe the world, and while I loved it, I loved Tuscany even more. I didn’t take very many photos but wanted to highlight a few moments from the trip–mainly hot air ballooning over Tuscany, which was one of the most fun, peaceful, and beautiful things I’ve ever done. There was this big plan to take notes and provide a mini guide for you, but at the end of the day, I just wanted to relax and enjoy my trip.

What to see and do in Tuscany

Hot Air Ballooning in Tuscany

I am terrified of heights and loved every moment. I just had to not think about the fact that I was hanging from a balloon in a basket at a very irrational height. If you ever have the chance to do this, I can’t recommend it enough. Pure magic.

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Wine Tasting in Montepulciano

There was a wine tasting and lunch at Avigonesi in Montepulciano. This photo was taken before I tripped and spilled red wine down the front of my shirt and the back of Conor’s shirt. Good thing we were both wearing white.

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Where to Stay in Tuscany

As you may know, we were in Tuscany for Conor’s sister’s wedding. The reception was held at Castello di Casole, right outside Casole d’Elsa, the smallest and most charming little town in Tuscany. 

The hotel’s infinity pool overlooks the hills of Tuscany and was the perfect setting for a pool party. Music, an aperol spritz or two,  and this view.

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What to See and Do in Florence, Italy

The day after the wedding, we drove to Florence which was about a 30 min drive from Tuscany. This was my first time there, and I enjoyed 3 nights of good food, museums, sight-seeing, and gelato. The city is beautiful. I think my one piece of advice would be go to early or mid-fall. I’m not a big fan of humidity and the crowds were sort of insane.

We each bought a Firenze card which got us into all the museums in Florence, and lets you bypass really long lines. It’s definitely worth the investment!

It took forever to get to the top of the Duomo but was worth the hike for that view. I’d recommend going before the sun is high and hot, because climbing 463 stone steps is no joke.

David at the Accademia Gallery
Birth of Venus at the Uffizzi
Santa Maria Novela

Where to Shop in Florence, Italy

Intimissimi
Borsalino
Santa Maria Novella for perfume
Max Mara–I bought a gorgeous camel coat for less than half the cost in the US
There are endless sunglasses shops that sell designer glasses at a discount

Where to Eat in Florence, Italy

Olio e Convivium: Looks like a butcher shop and the tasting menu was affordable and delicious.
Pandemonio: Food was fantastic and everyone calls the owner “mama”
Il Santo Bevitore : The burrata and bread were incredible
Buca dell’Orafo: The tiniest little hole in the wall with the best pasta

Where to stay in Florence, Italy

Hotel Continentale is beautiful and located in the heart of Florence. We were a few steps from the water and in the center of lots of shops and museums–I’d definitely recommend it.

 

 

 

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David at the Accademia Gallery

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Birth of Venus at the Uffizzi

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So that’s it. The least comprehensive guide to Tuscany and Florence that there ever was.

If you have any questions about the trip, leave them in the comments below!