Rock Your Honeymoon: Tuscany, The Where to Go.

Right, so as the rain and dreary weather returns to the UK, today we get to be transported back to the lovely rolling hills and beautiful towns of Tuscany for the second part for Anita’s Tuscan tour.

The photos she took whilst there are just stunning, so without further ado, I’ll hand her over to tell you all about The Where To Go.

I hope you enjoy reading about what we actually did on our honeymoon –and I apologise for the photos, even my trusty GHDs were no match for the heat and humidity of Italy in the summer so I’m afraid you’ll have to excuse my mad/frizzy hair!!

San Gimignano/Volterra

After the hectic few days around our wedding, albeit with our lovely friends and family, we enjoyed spending a couple of relaxing days just wandering around San Gimignano and Volterra (only about 20-30 minutes apart). They are both beautiful little Tuscan hill towns with stunning views over the countryside from the old city walls (some of my favourites of our wedding photos were taken on the city walls of San Gimignano).

In San Gimignano – Palazzo del Popolo is the formal name for the Comune or town hall. It has a tower (Torre Grosso) which you can climb for beautiful views over the town and countryside, and a very interesting museum downstairs with history and artwork relating to medieval Tuscany. Make sure you look at the Sala Dante which is a gorgeous room with absolutely stunning frescoes all over the walls (but I am biased as the Sala Dante is the room we chose to get married in!)

Gelateria di Piazza is a must visit – it’s on Piazza della Cisterna, the main square, and is always heaving with people no matter what time of day! They have over 70 flavours, ice cream heaven!

The Rocca is the old ruined fortress up at the top of the town, part of it is now a lovely garden with fig and olive trees, there’s also a small Wine Museum dedicated to Vernaccia, the white wine produced in and around San Gimignano.

Volterra is famous for its mention in the Twilight books but unfortunately the famous town square with the fountain which Bella runs through doesn’t actually exist!! (I think that scene was actually filmed in a different town nearby). The town is still lovely though with lots of marble and alabaster carvings and a couple of small museums.

Siena

Siena is a beautiful, beautiful city which centres around the semicircular Piazza del Campo –which if it doesn’t make you go ‘wow’ the minute you step into it, there’s something wrong with you!! One of the most famous events in the Sienese calendar is the Palio, a horse race held twice each summer, in which ten horses and riders, bareback and dressed in the appropriate colours, represent ten of the seventeen Contrade or city wards. They race 3 times around the Campo at speed!! We weren’t there on the day of the Palio itself but were there a couple of days beforehand so we got to see the horses being presented in the main square and also to see some of the parades which happen to celebrate the Palio, with music, dancing and flag twirling.

The impressive buildings which overlook the Piazza del Campo are the Palazzo Pubblico (containing the very interesting Museo Civico) and the Torre del Mangia, which we climbed and enjoyed some lovely views from the top. Then it was off to the spectacular Duomo (Cathedral). We refreshed ourselves at a fabulous cafe called Nannini’s (cake, coffee, icecream and wine all under one roof, heaven). The best restaurant we found was Osteria Le Logge just off Piazza del Campo, an old converted pharmacy with an amazing Tuscan menu (quails egg risotto was my favourite).

Greve/Vignamaggio

As we drove from Siena towards Greve and Vignamaggio the countryside got more and more picturesque and we kept stopping every few miles for photos!! We finally arrived at Vignamaggio which was even more stunning. There is a main building which has rooms in it and also 3 converted farmhouses with suites –we were staying in one of these.

For most of our 2 days at Vignamaggio we did, well, not a lot! The majority of our time was spent lounging around the pool and enjoying the lovely views! We did go for a couple of walks in the gorgeous countryside and we went into Greve (about 15-20 minutes drive) for an early evening stroll and then dinner (and of course an ice cream!) in the pretty main square.

However by far the highlight of our stay at Vignamaggio was the 5 course gourmet food and wine tasting – and it was only 45 euros each, bargain! Mike and I are big foodies, we love going to restaurants and trying out new cuisines – our birthday presents to each other are usually a meal somewhere special! One of our reasons for choosing Italy as a wedding and honeymoon venue was the food. We didn’t actually realise that Vignamaggio did food and wine tasting evenings, it was just mentioned to us when we checked in and it was brilliant.

The evening started with a wander around the vineyards and then seeing where the wine is matured before sitting down to a fabulous meal with, naturally, each course paired with a matching wine produced there at Vignamaggio. The food was some of the best we have ever eaten and the matching wines superb. However they don’t do tastings every day, so if you end up going to Vignamaggio, I would thoroughly recommend contacting them in advance and finding out when they have one on and trying to coordinate your visit with that.

Similarly, when they aren’t doing a food and wine tasting, they don’t do proper meals (there’s no restaurant, only a bar serving light snacks) and there’s nothing within walking distance, so you’ll need to be organised and either stock up so you can self cater in your room/suite, or go into Greve for dinner.

Florence

Florence really hardly needs recommendations from me –it is so beautiful and spectacular that all you really need to do is wander around and you will find another amazing landmark or gorgeous square. We did all the stuff you have to do in Florence –went to the Duomo (and climbed to the top of the dome in blistering heat – I made Mike buy me a cocktail afterwards to help me recover!), marvelled at the artwork in the Uffizi Gallery and in the Palazzo Vecchio, wandered across the Ponte Vecchio (where I lusted at the jewellery in the tiny shops and Mike made me keep walking!), took a bus out to Fiesole for an afternoon drink and a gaze out to the distant skyline of Florence, went to the Galileo museum (Mike and I are closet science geeks I’m afraid), and, well, just soaked up the atmosphere really.

On the corner of Piazza della Reppublica is a cafe called Caffe Gilli – fantastic coffee and cakes during the day, fantastic cocktails in the evening. The best restaurants we ate at were Lobs, a seafood place just around the corner from our hotel, and a fantastic place called Osteria di Giovanni, where we had an amazing Fiorentina bistecca (basically giant steak!)

I’d also recommend the gelateria on Piazza San Pier Maggiore – every possible flavour of chocolate and mixed with things like pepper, chilli, cinnamon and cumin!

Lucca

Lucca is a very cute, almost pocket-sized little town –or at least that’s how it felt after the glories of Florence and Siena! We were lucky enough to be there during their annual music festival and spent a blissful afternoon sitting outside in the sunshine listening to a really good jazz band (sadly no photos as my camera died that afternoon!)

Apart from that we walked round the city walls, went to the Duomo and climbed the bell tower (are you sensing a theme here?!) We also visited Piazza della Anfiteatro, an old converted theatre, which is gorgeous. We ate amazing grilled ribs at Trattoria da Leo, and drank fabulous cocktails at a little bar on Via Elisa. Mainly we enjoyed the last couple of days of our blissful Tuscan honeymoon.

Wow. I have absolutely loved putting this together, and thank you so much to Anita for taking the time to write this and also put the images together for us.

Have you been to any of the places in question and can you recommend anywhere to visit or things to do? I’m making a list right now for my summer holiday!

Yours Truly,

Rebecca
xoxo

Author: Becky Sappor
Becky is at her happiest when dunking a slightly chilled chocolate digestive into a very warm, very milky cup of tea. She also loves her job and pinches herself every day to make sure that she isn’t in a graphic design dreamworld.

16 thoughts on “Rock Your Honeymoon: Tuscany, The Where to Go.

  1. Man, I love the ole ‘stretched out arm’ shot, mr r.now and I have a whole bunch of them!

    Seriously though, this sounds like an absolute trip and a half and the towns you went to look so pretty and fun!

    r.now x x x

  2. Anita your honeymoon looks fab, I used to go to Tuscany with my parents as a child and loved it, I would love to go back with hubby and our own children one day, so beautiful. Loving the ‘self portrait’ shots too, this type of photo is a regular of mine, started with my best friend many years ago and now with hubby too 🙂 thanks for sharing x

  3. OOOOH I LOVE IT!
    Anita I am getting married in the Town Hall in San Gimignano on the 11th June! It is SO BEAUTIFUL. Can I ask what date you got married because I have a sneaking suspicion that we were actually in the square and saw you get married??? That sounds weird but we went last year to meet our wedding planner and have a look around and it was really romantice to watch a wedding and visualise ourselves doing it. We even took pictures so if it is you that is downright spooky!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. What timely posts today – both yours and Charlotte’s have done me the world of good on an otherwise insanely stressful day!

    I have been wondering about compromise, and whether getting married abroad is too much of an ask for our family and friends. I would be devestated if the people that I love the most weren’t there to share my special day, but we have been very lucky so far in that everyone we have mentioned it to seems very keen on coming out to Tuscany next year.

    Part of me thinks, maybe because we are funding everything ourselves, that we should just do what we want and not think about other people first. But that has never been me, and I am finding it hard to adjust to that sort of attitude. And I am not sure I even want to, I don’t want organising a wedding to turn me into a selfish daughter/sister/friend…

    My main issue is not getting married abroad (that much is settled) it is the cost of accomodation /travel it will mean for guests, especially the former as the plan is to get married, or at least have the reception and stay for 3 days, at Vignamggio. I have been having wobbles in the last day or two but know that my heart is set on it. I literally get butterflies as soon as I see/hear about it, as I have just done reading your post, and I know it is what I want. Like really, really want.

    So thank you for reminding me that it is possible to have what you want but think about your guests too. We have just booked to go to see the venue this June and look at options (churches, town halls) in some of the places you went to, for the service itself.

    So Lorien I will look out for your wedding!!! How amazing if you saw Anitas!

    xxx

  5. Eeeeeek – I have been waiting for Part 2 all week!

    Anita, I think you and I are related in some way. If I was writing up about Italy (or anywhere for that matter), I would spend the majority of time waxing lyrical about the food also! I have had my lunch, but like the piggy I am, you have made me yearn (yes, actual yearning) for ice cream, pizza and a 5 course gourmet food tasting session. Washed down with all that lovely wine!

    Your photos are amazing and its sounds like you had the best time. You have definitely sold me on Italy (you had me at gelato!) and now I am off to add Italy to my ever expanding list of places to visit with my soon-to-be-hubby!

    xoxo

  6. How lovely and romantic this all looks! Just a quick reccomendation to anyone looking for a similar Euro-chic honeymoon or holiday…Croatia is just stunning. The clearest and cleanest water you’ll ever see, and similar gorgeous towns, cities and cuisine to Italy. x

  7. Laura – if you are in San G on 11th June that will be me rocking up to the Town Hall at 2.30pm!!!!!!!!!
    I know it can feel like you are asking a lot for people to travel to Italy for your wedding but if people have enough notice and they really want to come they will find a way! And let’s be honest, why would you NOT go when Italy is totally amazing? A lot of our guests are flying out on the Thursday and then back on the Tuesday which gives them enough time to have a holiday and see some of Tuscany as well as be at the wedding.

  8. Hello again ladies and thank you for your lovely comments. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed reading/looking at my honeymoon – we loved every second and I would so recommend it.

    Lorien – oh wow!! that would be so amazing, I’d feel like I had my own stalker (but in a good way!) We got married on Saturday 26th June. This is the link to our wedding photos if any of them ring a bell (you might even see yourself in the background in the confetti shots in the square!!):

    https://picasaweb.google.com/anita.charlesworth/WeddingInItaly#

    You will have an amazing wedding – and Laura, so will you. We invited 35 guests to Tuscany and 34 of them came (the one that didn’t was the boyfriend of one of my best friends and they unfortunately split up a couple of weeks before the wedding!) Everyone we invited knew it was important to us and wanted to be there to share the magic with us and I never heard one person mention cost as a major issue (and that’s even though almost all of Mike’s friends had just graduated from university a couple of weeks before so had no money whatsoever!) As Lorien says, a lot of people just came for a long weekend but still had a great time. If even thinking of Vignamaggio gives you wobbles, you have to GO. FOR. IT.

    Mahj – as always your comments make me laugh so much!! I have just realised reading back what I’ve written how much of it goes on about food, drink and gelato – maybe that’s why my face looks so chubby in that last photo!! But yes, absolutely worth a holiday to Italy just to unleash your inner foodie. Bet the food at your wedding will be amazing 😉

    And oh yes, I apologise for the stretched-out-arm shots, not classy I know, I’m no photographer 😉

  9. Ah man – this was almost the exact same holiday we did last year after a friends wedding at a gorgeous villa just outside Florence. All that was different is that we the coast first, which was Cinque Terra – AMAZING!!! and Portfofino – gorgeous!

    I bet your wedding in San Gimignano was breathtaking! Loved the Ice Cream too – twice a day!

    I wanted to go back for our honeymoon in September but thought we might be pushing our luck with the weather so we are off to Bali – any tips anyone?

  10. I could look at these images, dreaming of pizza, ice cream and wine all night…

    Thank you so much for sharing Anita.

    Lucky for me, Friday night’s Pizza night! 😀

    xoxo

  11. Wow, this is so similar to our honeymoon last April! We had a last minute change of plan as we couldn’t fly to Bali because of the volcano eruption so went on a spontaneous road trip to Tuscany! So jealous of all you lucky ladies getting married out there, it’s beautiful.

    We also ate at Osteria di Giovanni-it’s amazing!! I would also recommend the giant steak and the anti pasti too!

    We went to a gorgeous restaurant in San Gimignano but I can’t remember what it was called!! It was off the main street and had a lovely vaulted main room but then an outside area which had the mist stunning views across the Tuscan hills-food was good too!

    I can’t wait to book another trip out there soon!

  12. Lucc ia STUNNING and I would strongly recommend anyone going to Tuscany to go there 🙂 I’ve been twice and it is just beautiful.
    Looks like you had an amazing time
    x

  13. Anita we WERE there! And all we kept saying to each other was how beautiful you looked and how excited we were to be having our own wedding there! Thanks so much for the link to your photos – I am looking at them now and will let you know I find myself on them!!!!!!!!!!!

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