Few cities in the world can hold a candle to Florence in terms of amorous ambiance. Having spent 5 weeks there in the spring of 2015, and during those weeks getting engaged, I can personally attest to that.
Between the tranquil Arno River, gorgeous piazzas, stunning palazzos, and the overall beauty of the city, pretty much anywhere you venture in Florence is likely to set your heart a flutter. But what spots are the crème de la crème? What are the most romantic places in Florence? Have no fear, we’ve done the legwork, and we have your shortlist.
1. Piazzale Michelangelo
If this place doesn’t strike a chord with you, you probably have no soul.
Let me paint you a picture. Your goal is to have a sweet, memorable day with your guy or girl, and you leisurely make your way to Piazzale Michelangelo, strolling hand in hand down hundred-years-old streets.
To get here you must head to the Oltrarno quarter of Florence, perhaps even crossing Ponte Vecchio in route to further bolster the experience. You cross the Arno and follow it down a ways, then turn into a charming neighborhood before beginning your ascension to the Piazzale.There is a hill to climb followed by a set of stairs, and there are even some people working out here. You’re a little winded by the time you get to the top, but you’ve heard that the slight strain of the incline is more than worth the reward.
After conquering the stairs, you wipe your brow, turn left, and continue straight for a couple hundred yards. Then you see it, the view of Florence from above — with the Duomo standing out in the center, a cascade of red rooftops, picturesque Tuscan mountains surrounding the city, the glittering Arno and all of its bridges — and you simultaneously have your breath taken away.
You find a place together on the marble steps of the piazzale and let the sound of the street musician behind you fade gently into the background as you open the bottle of Chianti Classico that you ingeniously packed beforehand. The afternoon is spent together, sharing snacks and laughs, sipping on wine, enjoying the environment, and enjoying each other’s company.
Now of course you could play this day differently depending on your preferences as a couple, but the main attraction of Piazzale Michelangelo is simply that is a beautiful place to be together. No frills about it.
Oh yeah, this was exactly what we did after Kevin proposed on Ponte Vecchio. It was a magical day.
Final Recommendation: For a low-key day of togetherness in an unbelievably scenic environment, Piazzale Michelangelo is your place. Plan ahead to bring picnic items, and don’t forget the wine!
2. Giardino Bardini
The Giardino Bardini is a hidden gem, especially if you are visiting during the spring or early summer. Never heard of it? We hadn’t either. Prepare yourself to enter an extraordinary, tranquil secret garden.
So where is this place? You have the address, Costa San Giorgio, 2, but that can’t be right. You arrive and it’s just a row of palazzos. But you remember the hidden gem part, right?
Turns out you are in the right place, and you continue through the doors of the correct palazzo to find the ticket office. Up the stairs you go to get out of the building, then you follow a path to the right that is lined by a stone wall, blooming trees, and numerous flowers. People are sparse and the garden is peacefully quiet.
Continuing on you reach a fork in the path and choose to go left, where you find a fabulous terraced garden chalked full of greenery. You notice a few benches that you could take a break on in this Eden-like setting, but choose instead to continue up and to the path on the left.You first get wound around a fruit tree orchard teeming with wildflowers, but the best is yet to come.
An archway lies in front of you, and that archway is covered in vines of succulent violet Wisteria. Their vines twist and turn magically, their delicate etherial flowers dangle from overhead, and the air is permeated by their sweet, enchanting scent. When your gaze drifts to the right you see that the blooms additionally serve as an incredible frame of the cityscape.
At the end of the archway you find a large, open courtyard, and then you can hardly believe your eyes. The foreground holds the terraced gardens, and behind that you see Florence in all its glory.
There is a bar on the courtyard where you can take your pick of wine, beer, or coffee, then find a table, and cozy up while the sky fades from blue, to orange, to lilac.
Final Recommendation: Go to the Giardino Bardini in the early evening for the most romantic atmosphere. Continue to the bar on the terrace to get drinks and relax together while overlooking stunning greenery and a view of the Florence. The gardens close at 6:30 PM in the spring and 7:30 PM in summer, so plan on getting dinner after to make it a night on the town.
3. Giotto’s CampanileHow to describe what one sees and feels when reaching the top of Giotto’s Campanile?
Say you go at 6:00 PM, close to closing time when the sunlight is perfectly soft and golden.
You make your quest up the tower and arrive at your summit to find a sweeping panorama of the city, rolling hills in the distance, and Brunelleschi’s incredible dome (ital: cupola) a stone’s throw away.
You feel a breeze brush past you and bask in the moment of being at what seems the top of the world with the person you love.
That seems seems to sum it up pretty well.
There are 400-some steps to get to that point, but don’t be daunted. IT IS WORTH IT.
Final Recommendation: If the stairs are a nonissue, take your guy or girl to Giotto’s Campanile at dusk. Savor every moment when you get to the top!
4. Ponte VecchioI may be a little biased emotionally for this one as Ponte Vecchio is the place that Kevin proposed to me, but in my opinion Ponte Vecchio is an awfully romantic place.
Lined with colorful jewelry shops and equipped with a cobblestone street underfoot, you definitely feel like the charm is turned up to eleven while crossing it.
You’ll find the best part right in the middle, where there is an unobstructed view of the Arno, and, if you go on a sunny day, you’ll be lucky enough to see reflections of Florence in the sparkling river. A perfect spot to stop and admire the beauty that surrounds you both.While at the center you may also notice a series of small locks, all left by couples as symbols of promises made to each other. Who knows, you may even want to add a lock of your own to the collection (Beware, though, I think it may technically be illegal to put locks on the bridge!).
After taking your sweet time on the bridge, consider getting a couple scoops of gelato at Gelateria Caffe delle Carrozze (very near the bridge on the duomo side of the river) or, if you really want to outdo yourself, consider continuing on to Piazzale Michelangelo.
Heads up, Ponte Vecchio can get VERY crowded. For best results, make your outing during the late afternoon or early evening. That time of day, when the sun is on its way down, is the most beautiful anyhow. 🙂
Final Recommendation: Make your way to Ponte Vecchio near dusk for a simple romantic outing and make sure to stop in the center to admire the city. Consider Getting a gelato or continuing to Piazzale Michelangelo post-bridge to really turn up the romance factor.
There you have it, the most romantic places in Florence from my perspective. I hope you’ve found this article useful. Please feel free to drop us a line after your trip to let us know if you found any other gems!