Romantic Things to do in Tuscany

Though Tuscany is now known as the city of love, there are plenty of romantic things to do while in Tuscany that is sure to spark the romance in your relationship. Many couples come to Tuscany expecting to see some great architecture and history, which they will get, but they are pleasantly surprised with just how romantic Tuscany can be. So what should you do in order to fan the fire in your romantic relationship while in Tuscany? Here are some great suggestions!

  1. Take a Dip in the Hot Springs

This is nature’s hot tub, and they are often a go to place for everyone. However, they can be rather romantic when you go with the person that you love. There are hot springs in towns all over Tuscany, and they are many that are connected to luxury spas and hotels that are going to be a romantic stop over while in the area.

  1. Make Her a Queen

castles in Tuscany

Every woman wants her partner to treat her as though she is a queen, and while you are in Tuscany you can make this possible with a night spent in a castle in the area. There are several castles that are open to travelers interested in renting a room for the night. In many cases, these castles have become their own little area providing restaurants, extracurricular activities like walking path for a moonlight stroll, and many even offer classes aimed at couples, like a couples cooking class.

  1. Stroll Along the Beach

When most people travel into Tuscany, they are more absorbed with the beautiful greenery and hills that make Tuscany. However, the coast line is something that you are not going to want to miss. Once the sun has set, throw on a light jacket, and stroll hand in hand along the beaches. You will find it to be amazingly peaceful and a way to kindle your romantic fire.

  1. Rent a Carriage for the Day

Many cities within Tuscany offer horse and carriage rides, what better way to see the city while also adding in a dose of romance? Rent one of these horses and carriages for the day and soak in what the area has to offer.

  1. Hot Balloon Rides and a Champagne Breakfast

hot balloon ride Tuscany

If the weather is cooperating, sign up you and your significant other for a hot balloon ride. These rides top the entire area, allowing for a birds eye view that you would not normally see. In addition, many of these rides are catering to couples by offering a champagne breakfast. It can be a highly romantic moment and one in which many couples before you have had.

When you decide to visit Tuscany, you are going to find that when it comes to romance, there are many options. These are just a few suggestions that you can easily arrange before arriving into Tuscany. Tuscany has beautiful sites, but the atmosphere of the area is what makes most couples never forget their trip… and be ready!

Pisa

Pisa is one of the provincial capitals of Tuscany. It is situated a few kilometres from the mouth of the Arno river, which flows through the city, and around 100 kilometres from Florence.

The open air museum otherwise known as the Piazza dei Miracoli is an UNESCO World Heritage site.  The Piazza’s famous Leaning Tower along with all the artistic treasures contained in its churches and museums, makes Pisa one of the most attractive cultural destinations in Italy, certainly not to be missed for fans of Tuscany.  The city reached the height of its splendour during the period of the Maritime Republics. Birthplace of Galileo Galilei, one of the fathers of modern science (1564-1642), today its pride is the Scuola Normale Superiore, one of the most famous educational and research institutions in Italy.

The city can be visited at any time of the year, but it is during the spring that it shows its sweetest and most charming side. Pisa’s vicinity to the sea makes its climate mild, and therefore also pleasant in winter. A stroll through the churches and buildings that flank the two banks of the Arno, or a visit to the city’s museums – such as Museo delle Sinopie (fresco sketches) and Museo dell’Opera del Duomo (artwork from the Cathedral complex) and Museo Nazionale di San Matteo – is a pleasant way to spend time in the winter months.

The best place to start a visit to Pisa is in the Campo dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles), a metaphysically harmonious square and home to the city’s three most emblematic monuments. The most famous of these is the Leaning Tower, actually the bell tower of the adjacent Duomo, which, since  its construction in 1173, has defied the sloping land and law of gravity. The white marble of the cylindrical tower stands out against the green lawn in the piazza, where its arched base starts. It continues to rise for six floors of small loggias that mirror the external decoration of the Cathedral. The Duomo, also in white marble, boasts engraved bronze doors which open onto a bright interior, containing various important works, including a 14th-century Gothic pulpit by Giovanni Pisano and a large 13th-century mosaic in the apse basin. The Baptistery, an impressive circular building in Romanesque style, dates back to the 12th century. Pisa’s tower is a symbol of the wealth and power of the former Maritime Republic. After its decline, which began with a defeat by its rival Genoa, and no longer on the sea due to natural phenomena, the city rediscovered its greatness under the Florentine Medici family, who made a center of Renaissance art and a prestigious university city.

Fittingly, most of the rest of the city bears the mark of the Renaissance style. Piazza Cavalieri, the old heart of the Maritime Republic, contains harmonious 16th century buildings, mainly commissioned by the Medicis and designed by Giorgio Vasari, including Palazzo Cavalieri, home to the Scuola Normale Superiore and the Palazzo dell’Orologio (Clock Building), with its façade characterised by a large arch uniting the two separate buildings. From here, along the porticoed streets such as Borgo Stretto, visitors will encounter the ambience of Renaissance Pisa.  The Chiesa di San Michele in Borgo impresses its powerful Pisan Romanesque-Gothic façade, and continuing on across the Arno by way of Pisa’s oldest bridge, the Ponte di Mezzo,  the Medici part of the city beckons.  As an added bonus, the view of the buildings which flank the river is wonderful.

Special Events

Pisa was an important Maritime Republic in the Middle Ages. Over the centuries a great deal of sand was carried away by the Arno, permanently moving the city away from the sea. But the Pisans do not bear a grudge against the river; every year they light its course, its bridges and the buildings that flank it with more than 70,000 tiny lanterns, to celebrate the renewed relationship between the Arno and the city. The Luminara di San Ranieri is celebrated on the evening of June 16th, which in addition to being the feast of the city’s patron saint, also celebrates Pisa’s symbolic marriage to the Arno. Other special events include the Regata Storica of the Maritime Republics (every four years) and the Gioco del Ponte, featuring two opposing sides in 16th century costumes competing on Ponte di Mezzo on the last Sunday in June.

Lucca

In the heart of northwest Tuscany, just a few kilometres from the coast of Versilia and less than an hour’s drive from Florence, Lucca is situated on a flat area called the Lucca Plain, surrounded by the Apennines and the Apuan Alps.

The 15th- and 16th-century walls surrounding the city are still standing today: almost 5 kilometres enclosing the Medieval town centre, which brims with history, art and a maze of streets where the tradition of old master craftsmen lives on. Lucca is referred to the “city of 100 churches” due to its host of religious buildings, many from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, in addition to an abundance of the bell towers and convents inside the city walls.

No matter the season, Lucca offers tourists a wide variety of delights aside from its many churches and city buildings: in winter, you can spend time shopping in Via Fillungo, which has always been the commercial heart of the city. In warmer weather, you can cool off in the shade of the green vegetation of the hills on the Plain, amid parish churches and villas. Autumn is a time for flavours and good food, while a visit to the city Botanical Gardens or the grounds of the many villas surrounding the city are ideal activities in spring.

Lucca still has its Medieval heart, which has withstood the transformations of its urban fabric, alongside the network of streets created by the Romans during the 2nd Century BC. Artefacts of both periods overlap and intertwine: if you visit the site where the Roman amphitheatre once stood, you will find the Market square and its perfect elliptical shape which reflects the original layout, surrounded by buildings built close to the city walls. Admiring the façade of the Pisan Romanesque-style cathedral of San Martino also means looking at the former location of the forum. The façade is distinguished by a large portico and three rows of loggias, while the portals are adorned with 13th-century reliefs. Inside, the building guards impressive funeral monuments, including that of Ilaria del Carretto, a masterpiece created by Jacopo della Quercia in 1408, along with 17th-century frescoes of immense value. Another typical Pisa-Lucca style church is San Michele in Foro, which also has a façade adorned with loggias and marble: on the outside, huge arcades look to the bell tower decorated with small arches. Among the most popular streets of Lucca, Via Guinigi boasts original Medieval buildings, with their characteristic towers, constructed in the 14th-century. Starting with Piazza San Michele, the lively city centre, wanderers enter the 17th-century section of the city. A splendid example of architecture from this era can be seen in Palazzo del Podestà, with a large portico on arcades, and Palazzo Mansi, which hosts the national Pinacoteca art gallery, exhibiting period furniture and the Camera Degli Sposi (bridal chamber), furnished with precious silks and embellished with gilt stuccoes. Other rich Renaissance or Baroque buildings include Palazzo Pfanner, whose large outdoor staircase lead to some of the most suggestive grounds in Tuscany, adorned with statues and lemon trees. Don’t forget to visit the church of San Frediano, built during the 12th century and modified during the 13th century. The façade is embellished by a Byzantine-inspired mosaic portraying the Ascension; inside, you will find marble works by Jacopo della Quercia. Art Nouveau lovers will be delighted with the decorated shop windows along Via Fillungo.

Don’t miss:

Unlike many other Italian cities, Lucca still has its 16th-century walls, which are now the symbol of the city and of its history, marked by resistance to external threats. The huge city walls are almost 5 kilometres in length; consider that the bottom of the walls are 30 metres thick. Early in the 19th century, Maria Luisa di Borbone transformed the upper part of the walls into a path, planting hundreds of tall trees along it. Today, the city walls are a public park, affording a unique view of the city and the surrounding hills.

Day Trips

The city is surrounded by the Lucca plain, an extensive area of flat land enclosed by hills. The terrain here is mostly farmland and it is dotted with over 300 villas and centuries-old parish churches. The villas, summer residences of Luccan merchants and nobles, built around the 15th-16th centuries, are enclosed in luxurious grounds and gardens, decorated with fountains and surrounded by walls and elaborate wrought-iron gates. Don’t miss a visit to Villa Oliva, Villa Grabau and Villa Mansi. The countryside around Lucca also features a large number of parish churches – Christian places of worship to celebrate communion – prevalently from the High Middle Ages, which were built along waterways, where at that time the busiest roads met, in an attempt to spread Catholicism outside the city walls.

Special Events

An unusual time to visit Lucca is when Lucca Comics is held, the most important Italian comics fair, which takes place every year between late October and early November. In July, Piazza Napoleone hosts its Summer Festival, with performances by international music stars. In spring, the eighteenth edition of the Lucchesia Old Camellias Exhibition Market is held between 17th March and 1st April, with exhibitions, conventions on the theme, performances and visits to the gardens of the Lucca Plain.

Arezzo

Arezzo, the capital of the province with which it shares its name, lies between the Val di Chiana, Casentino, Valdarno and Valtiberina valleys.

Arezzo has an incredibly rich artistic heritage. Among the eminent figures born in Arezzo are the Roman Caio Clinio Mecenate, the fourteenth century poet Francesco Petrarch and the famous sixteenth century architect Giorgio Vasari.  Still, the city succeeds in keeping old traditions alive, maintaining a perfect balance between the past and present.

Whatever the season, Arezzo is full of surprises. June and September present the Giostra del Saracino (Saracen Joust) and the Arezzo Wave Festival in July is ideal for lovers of rock music.

Originally an Etruscan town, Arezzo experienced periods of splendour during the Roman age and then again in the middle ages and during the Renaissance, as can be seen from the city’s layout and architecture, dominated by a Medici fortress. The focal point of the city centre is the massive, trapezoid Piazza Grande (also known as Piazza Vasari). One of Italy’s most beautiful piazzas, it is characterised by a unique mix of ages and architectural styles. The elegant 16th-century public fountains in the centre of the piazza are surrounded by magnificent buildings, notably that of the Fraternita dei Laici, completed in 1460. The Gothic lower part of the facade combines with a Renaissance style upper part, while the apse of the nearby Santa Maria parish church is Romanesque. This church also contains a valuable polyptich by Pietro Lorenzetti, which dates from 1320, and the facade is decorated with impressive mediaeval reliefs. The church is on Corso Italia, the historical spine of the mediaeval town. The impressive five-storey bell tower “of the hundred holes” gets its name from the before windows.

Farther along, the Via dei Pileati leads to the spire-decorated facade of Palazzo Pretorio, a 15th/16th-century building which was widened in the twentieth century. A little further along is the 16th-century house where the poet Francesco Petrarch is said to have been born on July 20, 1304. The Duomo of San Donato is an impressive building with an attractive staircase in front. This Gothic style cathedral (although it was completed in the 16th century) preserves many important artworks, including the multicoloured stain glass windows by Guilaume de Marcillat (17th century), the gothic arch of San Donato and the famous fresco by Piero della Francesca portraying Mary Magdalene. A short distance away is the Romanesque – Gothic church of San Domenico where Cimabue’s 14th-century masterpiece, the Crucifixion, can be admired. Nearby is Casa Vasari, the elegant sixteenth century home of the artist Giorgio Vasari, which he personally decorated. Going back down Via Garibaldi, t is worth visiting the Gothic-Tuscan style church of San Francesco (13th – 14th century) with its incomplete stone and brick facade and 15th-century bell tower. The church contains the extraordinary History of the True Cross fresco cycle painted by Piero della Francesca (15th century) which has recently been brought back to its former glory thanks to advanced restoration techniques.

The many museums in Arezzo include the Mecenate Museum of Archaeology in the former Olivetan Monastery of San Bernardo, which was partly built on the ruins of the 2nd-century Roman amphitheatre, of which the stalls and remains of the ambulatories are still visible. The museum houses many valuable Etruscan artefacts including the Attic red-figure krater depicting Hercules fighting the Amazons by Euphronios (500 BC), the amphora by the well-known Meidias painter, a large number of coralline or “sealed earth” vases – ceramic pottery made in Arezzo and painted in brilliant shades of coral, and numerous examples of worked gold found at burial sites, such as the Poggio del Sole necropolis near Arezzo.

The Museum of Mediaeval and Modern Art in what is known as the Palazzo della Dogana (Customs Building), contains paintings and sculpture which best represent Aretine, and Tuscan, art from the 14th to the 19th century.

Arezzo is home to some of the finest pieces of 15th-century Italian art: Piero della Francesca’s fresco cycle (an artist who is also famous for his treatises on figurative art and the theory of perspective) inside the basilica of San Francesco is the jewel in the crown of this “cultural gold-mine” and truly unique historical centre.

Don’t Miss:

The city’s tradition of working with gold stretches back to its Etruscan roots and for centuries has been a by-word for high quality Aretine products. Today this artistic tradition is on display in the city’s workshops and jewellery shops. Jewellery is also on sale in the large and bustling Antique Fair held in Piazza Grande on the first weekend of every month. The fair is one of the largest in Italy and its stalls offer all kinds of items as well as the occasional bargain.

Special Events

The Giostra del Saracino dates back to at least the 13th century and is held every year in Piazza Grande. The official festival takes place on the first Sunday in September and is preceded by other displays on the second-to-last Saturday in June: the competition, which begins after the reading of the joust announcement and parade in traditional costume, consists of four pairs of knights (representing the city’s four rival districts) who compete by charging “Buratto, King of the Indies”, an armoured figure on a stake representing the Saracen enemy. The winning pair is awarded the “Golden Lance” which is forged each year by the master goldsmiths of the city.

In September the tradition of gold working is honoured with the International Gold, Silver and Jewellery Trade Exhibition.

Florence

Florence is Tuscany’s busiest city, once which never ceases to amaze. In the words of Stendhal, it is a city of “subtle charm” that is not depleted by the importance of its most well-known treasures. It is the birthplace of some of modern history’s greatest poets and artists , and continues to attract visitors from all of the world with its beautiful panoramas and its exquisite wines and cuisine.
Florence’s temperate climate makes spring and autumn the best seasons to visit the city.

Ancient Florentia is an outdoor encyclopedia of history, architecture, painting, sculpture and literature. It is here that the “supreme poet,” Dante Alighieri, was born in 1265, to whom the city is indissolubly tied. The basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore (better known as the Duomo) dates back to the end of the 13th Century, with renovation taking place during various periods. Located nearby is the church in which Dante first caught sight of Beatrice and, walking down the alleys, one can image the intense life once lead by the city’s busy silk and wool dealers.

The Gothic bell tower is a brilliant creation by Giotto which embellishes the profile of the Duomo, imagined and created by Filippo Brunelleschi, among others, who designed the building’s cupola. In front of the Duomo is the octagonal Baptistery (whose façade is a Carrara white and Prato green, marble intarsia masterpiece) with its famous bronze Renaissance door defined by Michelangelo as “the door to paradise”.

Piazza Duomo is connected by Via dei Calzaiuoli to Piazza della Signoria, the centre of political power and urban life since the period of the medieval city-republics and location of the copy of the majestic figure of David by Michelangelo, the original of which is in the Accademia museum. For centuries, this marvellous statue has been facing the Loggia della Signoria, a true outdoor art gallery, and Palazzo Vecchio, the city’s main monument of urban architecture in addition to being one of Italy’s most important medieval public buildings. This is also the location of the entrance to the Uffizi Gallery, home to a large portion of Italian and foreign artistic heritage, including Botticelli’s Primavera and Leonardo’s Adoration of the Magi.

Nearby are the Arno River and, stretching across it, the Ponte Vecchio.  The bridge was designed by Vasari to connected the buildings on the right bank with Palazzo Pitti on the other side of the river, and was used by the Medici family as a reserved and protected route to reach their residence.

Palazzo Pitti is the city’s most monumental building and is home to the Palatina Gallery (with works of art by Giorgione, Raffaello and Tintoretto). Behind Palazzo Pitti are the Boboli gardens, a classic Italian garden, decorated by statutes and fountains and a true outdoor museum in which it is easy to imagine the magnificence of life at court amid grottos, water jets and rare plant species.
During the years in which Dante “invented” the Italian language, Giotto revolutionised painting by introducing perspective, visible in the famous suspended Crucifix in Santa Maria Novella – a Gothic masterpiece built by Dominican architects and home to the extraordinary fresco by Masaccio.
The Peruzzi and Bardi chapels in the Santa Croce church, one of the most renowned in the city, preserve other important frescoes by this artist. The celebrated David by Donatello and the bust of Bruto by Michelangelo are just a short distance away in the Bargello National Sculpture Museum.

Don’t miss…

Visitors should put on a romantic “paglia” (straw hat) and go for a stroll down the cobbled lanes of the hills surrounding the city to enjoy a sunset over the Arno, a popular sight with 18th-century English tourists. Florence is also a center of Italian style: a stop in Piazza della Repubblica for an espresso in one of its characteristic cafés, followed by shopping in the elegant stores of Via della Vigna Nuova and Via Vacchereggia, is an absolute must.

In addition, the Ponte Vecchio is exclusive home to goldsmiths and silversmiths, and further along Via Calimaia is the area of the Mercato Nuovo, where all sorts of artisan items can be found, from souvenirs to ethnic products.
Not far away is the Porcellino”fountain, a bronze wild boar fondly referred to by Florentines as the “little pig,” and at whose feet traditionally a coin is thrown and a wish is made. If you are looking for other items typical of Florentine craftsmanship such as silver, dressed stones, straw and inlaid wood, take a stroll down the medieval streets along the Lungarno between the Grazie and Carraia bridges.

Day Trips

Many worthwhile, charming destinations can be easily reached from Florence, such as Fiesole and its sweeping views, Badia and its archaeological site, Castello and the Medici villa (inside the Accademia della Crusca) and Villa della Pietraia. To the left of the Arno River, in the Fiesole hills, is Viale dei Colli, which climbs to the top of the hill and offers visitors a marvellous panorama.
The best spot in the city to enjoy the view is Piazzale Michelangelo, embellished with bronze statues; we recommend going at sunset after the souvenir stands have closed to admire the Arno River changing colours. Or mingle with the Florentines enjoying a stroll along the large boulevards of Cascine Park, or in the Albereta and Villa Favard parks. Here, surrounded by the scent of Linden trees, visitors can follow the guided gym courses and relax in tranquil surroundings.

Useful Information and Advice

Cars are prohibited in Florence’s downtown area. Going for a stroll is enjoyable and all the city’s main attractions can be reached by a short walk. Cars can be left in the area’s numerous car parks located between the Viali della Circonvallazione and the beginning of the Limited Traffic Area.

Special Events

The auspicious “scoppio del carro” (explosion of the cart) takes place on Easter Sunday in the Piazza Duomo to commemorate the deeds of captain Pazzino dei Pazzi.

© 2016 Tuscany's Guide

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑