Planning a honeymoon or any other kind of romantic vacation in Italy can seem overwhelming, not for lack of choice or resources but for the overwhelming number of things you can add to your must-do list. This seems especially true in Tuscany, where every turn in the road reveals yet another postcard vista or fairy-tale hilltop town.
What does this mean for couples looking for romantic things to do in Tuscany? In short, it means you can go just about anywhere in the region and enjoy a romantic getaway. If you’re not prepared to leave romance to chance, however, here are some of the things you should have on your list in Tuscany.
Strolling the Streets of a Tuscan Town
For many, there’s nothing more romantic than taking a walk hand-in-hand with your sweetie over the cobbled streets of a Medieval town. Siena is a popular choice, since it’s easily reached by train or bus, but stick to the historic center inside the city walls or you’re in a modern (and less pretty) city. San Gimignano isn’t accessible by train, making it more secluded and (arguably) romantic, especially for an overnight stay so you can see the city when the day trippers have gone. Lucca’s broad city walls have been turned into a walking path, giving you a place to walk that comes with a view overlooking the town center.
Soaring in a Hot Air Balloon
Those rolling Tuscan hills can be even more majestic when you’re floating soundlessly above them in a hot air balloon. You can certainly opt for a group ride, but for that extra romantic touch some companies offer things like a private balloon flight at dawn followed by a champagne breakfast for two upon landing. Balloon rides are nearly always early in the morning to avoid difficult winds coming off the sea in the afternoon or evening, and the hot air ballooning season isn’t year-round (it’s roughly late spring through early autumn).
Soak in a Tuscan Spa
There are hot spring spas all over seismically-active Italy, including plenty of spa options in Tuscany. One of the more famous spa towns in Tuscany is Saturnia, with its Terme di Saturnia Park open year-round. Other towns with hot springs and spas include Montecatini Terme, Gambassi Terme, Sorano, Venturina, Bagni di Lucca, Equi Terme, and Casciana Terme (the words “bagni” or “terme” in a town name tend to be giveaways that the town has a spa). Most spas have natural hot springs along with a variety of spa treatments you can choose from, including massages and skin therapies, and some double as luxury hotels.
Spend a Night in a Tuscan Castle
You may not be able to live like the Tuscan royal families of old, but that doesn’t mean you can’t spend a night in their (former) homes. There are castles and expansive palazzos throughout Tuscany, many of which have been turned into luxury hotels or vacation rentals. In some of them you book just a room, while in others you can book an entire apartment in an historic palazzo. Look for amenities like swimming pools, walking paths, on-site restaurants, and even cooking classes.
Dig Your Toes in the Sand on the Tuscan Coast
We often focus so much on Tuscany’s gorgeous hill towns that we forget the region touches the sea, too. The rugged Maremma is ideal for outdoorsy couples who want to escape the confines of the city and explore one of Italy’s national parks. And for an even more remote beachside destination, catch a boat for one of the islands off the Tuscan coast—Elba and Giglio are great choices. Water lovers can also spend the day on a boat between Tuscany and its islands, soaking up that famous Tuscan sun.
Smooching at Sunset in Florence’s Piazzale Michelangelo
Even if your romantic vacation is limited to the Tuscan capital of Florence, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy heart-swelling moments. Dine in some of the city’s typical restaurants, watch the Arno River drift by as you stand on one of the bridges, or share a single cone of gelato (and then go back for more). By all means, however, make sure to find your way to the Piazzale Michelangelo overlooking the city before sunset one night, so you can watch Florence’s characteristic red roofs turn to a fiery glow as the sun goes down.
- Jessica Speigel