Derrick and I were invited to a wedding in Tuscany recently; we decided to make the most of it by cramming as much of the surrounds as possible into 1o short days. If Rome and Tuscany are on your wanderlust lists, then I can recommend an itinerary similar to ours:
- Rome (2 nights)
- Florence (3 nights)
- Siena (2 nights)
- San Gimignano (day-trip)
- Saturnia & Porto Santo Stefano (day-trip)
- Bucine (2 nights)
We stayed at the Venetia Palace Hotel; a great little hotel a stone’s throw from the train station which was super convenient for getting in and out of Rome. This was also the starting point for the Citysightseeing Roma red bus tour – a great way to get acquainted with any city. You need to tick the traditional sights off when visiting Rome: the Trevi Fountain, the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel, the Colosseum, Saint Peter’s Basilica, the Pantheon, the Roman Forum and the Spanish Steps. As is the case with most European cities – walk! You’ll burn off all the gelato (try Gelateria Pistacchio Verde) you’ll be eating and discover the gems off the beaten track. We walked from our hotel to the Trevi Fountain on our first night in Rome and happened upon a great little restaurant about 200m east of the fountain; Vineria Il Chianti.
This city took my breath away. Florence is beautiful, surprising and full of energy. As soon as we arrived I said to Derrick that I liked the feeling of the place; that feeling never left me. We stayed at a quaint B&B a short walk from the station, Hotel Sempione. Again we hopped onto Citysightseeing Firenze to get our bearings and then revisted the sights over the next few days. I can recommend seeing the Cathedral (the climb to the roof and top of the Duomo is worth the 463 steps), Ponte Vecchio, Uffizi Gallery, David, Basilica Santa Maria Novella, the Medici Chapel and the historic centre. Highlights for me include drinking Aperol Spritz at Rivalta on the banks of Fiume Arno at sunset, dinner at L’Osteria di Giovanni and charcuterie at La Prosciutteria. The best views of Florence are from Piazalle Michelangelo on the other side of the river.
This walled Medieval town upon the hillside is enchanting. We stayed at the Hotel Athena on the edge of the town; views for days! It also boasts a lovely rooftop terrace with a bar and a restaurant – perfect for sundowners and dinner. We overestimated the amount of time we’d need in Siena (3 nights, 2 would’ve been ideal) so we used the town as our base for some day-tripping out into the Tuscan countryside (San Gimignano) and coast (Saturnia & Porto Santo Stefano). Highlights for me include walking the town’s perimeter walls, lunch on the Campo and dinner at the famed La Taverna di San Giuseppe. The taverna’s wine cellar dates back to 300BC – hard to wrap your head around that.
Bucine is a one-horse town in the Tuscan province of Arezzo. This is where the magical Mijich-Leitch wedding was set and I’d recommend it for travelers wanting to rent an iconic Tuscan villa and do nothing but eat, drink and swim for a few days. There are a few villas dotted along a hill-top; ideal for a destination wedding and accommodating a lot of people. Oh, and there’s a chapel and a reception venue too. We stayed at Villa Felciai La Selva.
If you’ve got any tips or recommendations you’d like to add – please do leave a comment. And go ahead and book that trip to Italy – you won’t be sorry.