Florence, Tuscany and Rome was the last leg of our European adventure! We squeezed it into 4 days, but got to see most of what we wanted to. We flew from Santorini back into the Rome airport and drove up to Florence; it took about 3 hours and it was really pretty because we ended up driving through Tuscany. First stop, Florence!
I had heard a lot of really great things about Florence, so I was excited to see it. You definitely get the city vibes in Florence, it actually reminded me a lot of New York City. Walking down all of the little streets in the city was so charming.
Where to Stay
We stayed at the Hilton Florence Metropole, we tend to stay at Hilton hotels when we can. It was a nice hotel and wasn’t too far from the main part of the city; it took us about 15 minutes driving. If you’re looking for something right in the heart of the city, there are a ton of other options.
Things to Do
Because we only had a short amount of time in Florence, we didn’t get to see a ton. There were a few places that I had on my list to see while we were there.
Jumpsuit (So cute and comfy to walk around in!)
- Boboli Gardens- These gardens are definitely worth stopping to see! It’s a park right in the city with sculptures, fountains and of course the beautiful gardens. I think this is why it reminded me of NYC because it sort of felt like Central Park in the middle of the city. The entry didn’t cost much, I think it was around 10 euros per person. We spent a few hours just walking the grounds and it was so peaceful there. There is also a cute area with a little cafe to grab a coffee or something to eat.
- Ponte Vecchio- This is the spot you always see people’s pictures at with the bridge. It’s a really pretty bridge that the Arno River runs under. There are a bunch of shoppes nearby and if you’re craving gelato there’s a ton of that too!
- Santa Maria Novella- This is a church that’s between Boboli Gardens and Ponte Vecchio, a beautiful place to stop and check out. Make sure you bring that wrap I was telling you about! You will not be allowed in if you’re shoulders are showing here either.
That pretty much sums up our 24 hours in Florence. We then moved on to my favorite place of this leg of the trip, Tuscany!
Seriously if you have never been to Tuscany, put it on your bucket list immediately! This place was so magical and peaceful, I was so relaxed here. If you love Napa, you will love Tuscany as well. I’m a huge wine lover, so Tuscany was my kinda town!
Where To Stay
In Tuscany we stayed at La Bagnaia Golf Resort and Spa, and it was gorgeous! The hotel is spread throughout the beautiful grounds, everything is pretty spaced out, but that’s part of what makes it so charming. The views are impeccable and the rooms give you all the Tuscan feels. It’s located in Siena, which I felt was a pretty good location to be able to get to the different wineries we wanted to see. The resort has two restaurants, two pools, a beautiful spa, and a golf course.
Where to Eat
- La Voliera Restaurant– This one was located right in our hotel and was so nice! We ate out on the patio that overlooked the grounds, beautiful views. It was pure elegance and the food was Italian gourmet. The gnocchis were delish!
- Ristorante Montalbuccio– We kind of found this restaurant off the beaten path. Mo said he wanted chicken that night so I started searching nearby restaurants and found this one. It ended up being one of the best finds of the trip because everything was so authentic. So much that our first waiter spoke no English lol. It was a very laid back place, where it seemed a lot of locals go. The food was so good and we almost died when we saw how reasonably priced everything was. The pizza and creme brulee were to die for!! If you’re looking for a restaurant that’s authentic and where the locals go, come here!
Things To Do
Because I’m a girl who loves her wine, we spent our two days in Tuscany driving around the countryside and wine tasting. I have been to Napa quite a few times, so that’s what I was kind of imagining Tuscany to be like. I would say that biggest differences were that I felt the wineries were more spread out in Tuscany. I would highly recommend mapping out the wineries you want to see ahead of time. Also, you should make sure you don’t need an appointment when visiting the wineries in Tuscany. Some of them require an appointment and you have to take the tour of the winery as well. We again had a car so it was easy for us to get around. Our hotel did give us a list of wine tours that you can take if you have no access to a car. These were the three wineries we went to that we really liked.
- Poggio Amorelli–This winery was one of my favorites! I loved the fact that it was family owned, it gave you a very personal feel. One of the owners was actually there while we were visiting, super nice guy. Our sommelier was very knowledgeable and so friendly, he made our experience at the winery really fun. Another thing I loved about this winery was that they paired olive oil and balsamic vinegar tastings with the wine. So they would give us the wine and then also send out an olive oil or balsamic and bread pairing. When it came to the desert wine we got chocolate chip biscottis; sold!
- Castello Di Ama– This winery was a bigger more corporate feeling winery, but what made it different was the artsy edge it had. A heads up, this is one of those wineries you need to make an appointment and do the tour at. Out back of the tasting room were a bunch of art installations that were pretty cool. There is a mirror wall that has square windows throughout that look out to the gorgeous vineyard views. There were also miniature reproductions of some of the most famous walls of all times, like the great wall of China.
- Castello Banfi– If you’re looking for the winery that has it all, this is your place! This was one of those big wineries, it even has a hotel on the property. The views were absolutely incredible, it was somewhere I probably could have spent my whole day. Everyone was very friendly, and the wine was really good. A tour was not required in order to do a tasting here.
Our last stop of the trip was Rome and it was rather quick, also just 24 hours. These are the places we saw and ate at while making the most of our 24 hours in Rome!
Where to Stay
We stayed at the Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria and I highly, highly recommend it. Everything about this place was glitz and glam, right up my alley! I honestly wish we could have stayed a few more days just to hang out at the hotel. They had an indoor and outdoor pool, a beautiful spa, a huge gym, stores etc. Our room was gorgeous and had a great view of the outdoor pool. If you want the royal treatment stay here!
Where to Eat
- L’Uliveto– We ate dinner at this restaurant twice, it was the restaurant in our hotel. The food was incredible and the service was really good as well. I loved that it is on an outdoor patio that overlooks the pool area. Both nights we ate there they had someone singing and playing the piano, it was really great entertainment. We thoroughly enjoyed eating at L’Uliveto, all around it was a great dining experience!
- Trapizzino– Stop at this restaurant for a twist on the typical slice of pizza. It’s kind of like a pizza pocket, dough that is made into a cone shape and they’re filled with different types of ingredients. We got the chicken one and it was really good. Our tour guide told us it was a must have in Rome, so of course we had to try!
- Gelateria Della Palma– If you’re looking for good gelato, definitely stop here. They have over 150 flavors to choose from, so it may take awhile to choose! I got the tiramisu and nutella, so so good!
- Ago e Lillo– We stopped here for a quick lunch while we were on our tour of Rome, and it was really cute! A nice place to take a quick break, grab something to eat and a glass of rose. Everyone was super friendly here!
Things to Do
Since we only had one day in Rome, we really wanted to make the most of our time and see everything we could. Of course coming to Rome you want to see the Vatican, Sistine Chapel, the Colosseum etc. We had been told ahead of time that we should book a tour if we wanted to really see everything and skip all of the lines. The company we ended up booking through was called Walks of Italy and was so worth it.
Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and kept things pretty upbeat and interesting. They have a ton of different tours you can take, we did the full day (7 1/2 hours!), but we literally saw it all! We started at the Colosseum, than onto the city center, which includes the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain and Piazza Navona. From there we headed to the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica. I was hesitant about taking a tour all day, but you’ll be thankful when you’re passing by those long lines to get into places. It was also nice having somebody who knows all the ins and outs of the city. If you’re looking for tours in Rome, definitely use Walks of Italy.
That sums up our European adventures! After months of planning and anticipation, I’m so sad that it’s all over. It was everything I had dreamed of and more, and I’m so glad to be able to cross Italy and Greece off my bucket list. Although I definitely hope to make it back again one day! If you guys are headed to Europe and have any questions on any of the places we stopped, please don’t hesitate to leave me a question or message me! I hope you enjoyed these travel guides!