Buongiorno, beauties! Have you had your morning cappuccino and pastry? Are you ready to plan your dream Italian honeymoon? Alora, Andiamo!
Jack and I have just returned from our nine-month honeymoon abroad and have oodles to tell & tips to share from our favorite destinations. I thought I’d start with an overwhelmingly popular choice: Florence (or Firenze for my fellow Italians!)
Both having visited Florence & Tuscany on trips prior, we figured we knew everything there was to know about Florence. We learned about the food, art, and history- but we didn’t expect how incredibly romantic the city is! Beautiful architecture, little osterias & wine bars hidden in charming alleyways, art out on the street everywhere!
After a month of wandering the streets with gelato, we accumulated quite the insights to share with you. From where to stay, what to eat, where to drink, what to do & where to shop – consider this your “local guide” courtesy of the DiBlasis.
We’re even treating you with local suggestions from wedding photographer & videographer Olga Makarova, who spoiled us with a little honeymoon photoshoot (which you should consider booking for yourselves!)
Where To Eat & Drink
Our month consisted of many planned and impromptu dinners at our beloved Il Santo Bevitore. An affordable menu by Florence standards, you’ll find elevated, sophisticated small plates that still sing with rustic Tuscan flavors. Tantalizing ragus, rich risottos, and handmade pasta are all paired with a trendy selection of natural wine & old-world classics.
Even more memorable was the many pre-dinner drinks shared next door at the restaurant’s tiny wine bar, Il Santino. The stylish staff – playing killer playlists akin to our favorite Brooklyn bars – serves a rotating list of excellent, funky natural wines & small Tuscan snacks. The kicker? Every glass of wine has a free bite – think crusty crostinis with freshly shaved prosciutto, cheeses, and tapenades.
Other favorite bites & tipples:
Il Latini – old-school Tuscan fare featuring the classic ‘Bistecca Fiorentina’
La Divina – sourdough, Roman-style pizza made with stoneground flour
Gustapizza – feels like your favorite NY slice joint, only with woodfired Neapolitan pies
SandwiChic – Foccacia sandwiches with a wide array of local Tuscan meats, spreads & cheeses
Gelateria della Passera and My Sugar win our hearts for the best artisanal gelato in Florence (even if Jack and I never agree on which of the two reigns supreme).
We highly recommend making dinner reservations in advance if you visit Florence in the summer.
What To Do
Having visited the museums & cathedrals on past trips (which you should do, too! ), Jack and I focused on the joys of ‘living in Florence’ as locals.
This meant shopping daily at the famed & buzzing Mercato Centrale. As you stroll through the stalls, you’ll find local Tuscan products (perfect for your pantry) and freshly made pasta for next to nothing – about $4 for enough fresh ravioli & sauce for dinner for two!
A must-try at Florence’s central market? Da Nerbone’s famous Lampredotto sandwich is an only-in-Tuscany classic if you have an adventurous palate. Split it with your honey alongside roast beef (Jack’s favorite), and you’ve got a cheap, authentic meal of epic proportions.
But the shopping fun doesn’t end with foodstuffs. It’s nearly impossible to walk the streets of Florence without ogling beautiful designer & vintage clothing. After buying a designer suit, discovering up-and-coming artists & perusing halls of vintage treasures, here are our favorite shops (aside from the household names):
Boutique Nadine & Studioteca – for local designers, funky prints & sustainable fabrics
WP Store & Ultra – for hip, stylish men’s workwear & streetwear
Street Doing Vintage Couture – for vintage designer clothing & accessories, all in incredible shape (like Gucci, Ferragamo, Valentino and more!)
Once you’ve shopped the many big designer names, fashion lovers can hop into the Gucci Garden for an alternative museum date. Not only does the museum feature incredible vintage pieces, but you can also have a bite at Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura – helmed by one of Italy’s most celebrated chefs.
Where To Stay
With the privilege of visiting for an extended period, Jack and I booked a monthlong stay at this beautiful Airbnb loft (did you know that most Airbnb listings offer discounts for weekly & monthly stays?) on a quiet residential street just steps from Mercado Centrale, Duomo & My Sugar gelateria.
For a shorter honeymoon, we’re eyeing these well-located and oh-so-romantic luxurious hotels:
Helvetia & Bristol
SINA Villa Medici
Olga Makarova’s Perfect Florence Day
Wake up early in the morning and walk around the city centre across the most amazing Florence landmarks like the Duomo, Piazza Signoria, Palazzo Pitti, and Ponte Vecchio. You’ll discover the beauty of the city waking up without crowds of tourists. Afterward, you can have a typical Italian breakfast with cappuccino and croissant in one of the cute cafes in the city.
In the late morning, go to Uffizi to discover a a wonderful collection of paintings, or take a cooking class and study how to cook homemade pasta or gnocchi. Do your best, because you have to eat what you cook.
After lunch, chill in your hotel’s swimming pool or relax in one of Florence’s gardens – Boboli Garden, Bardini Garden, or The Rose Garden.
In the late afternoon, you can have a romantic boat tour on the Arno River and watch the sunset with an aperitivo on one of the many rooftop terraces with a beautiful panoramic view over the city – like Terrace Plaza Hotel Lucchesi. Or as an alternative, you can go to Piazzale Michelangelo and enjoy the sunset sitting on the stairs with many people and enjoy the street music band – don’t forget to bring a bottle of wine with you!
Later, you can have a delicious dinner and go for a romantic walk under the street lights and stars.
Langolino Gastrobar Firenze – a tiny bar in the Santo Spirito area for wine & appetizers
Caffe del Veronem – peaceful terrace with a view over Duomo cathedral.
Santarosa Bistrot – a lovely bar & restaurant with a ample outdoor space – excellent for aperitivo, breakfast, and dinner. They have live music or a DJ
Cafe SottArno – a cute cafe with tasty dolci & panini
Pasticceria Dolci e Dolcezze – an attractive, girly place for coffee with a good selection of sweets