Honeymooning in Italy Pt 2: Florence and Riva Lofts | UK WEDDING BLOG

facebook-profile-picture By Rebecca

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From our stay in Rome we took a train up to Florence, a charming small city and the the capital of Tuscany. What Florence lacks in spectacular old ruins {of which Rome has aplenty}, it more than makes up for it with romantic bridges, wide open streets and the surrounding countryside. Nearly everybody I’ve spoken to who has been to Italy all say that Florence is one of their favourite places. It really is beautiful and just feels like it runs on a slower pace than Rome which is perfect for honeymooners. We based ourselves at Riva Lofts, another Smith boutique Hotel, set on the River Arno and makes for a good base and lovely stroll into the centre of town.

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There was a wall covered in roses as we arrived, which pretty much had me at hello. Riva Lofts is a cross between a rustic bed and breakfast set in a gorgeous old building, the kind you imagine when you picture Tuscany. But it also has some cleverly designed modern loft rooms that felt bigger than a small flat! They had small kitchens which would make them perfect for short breaks knowing you can self cater if you wish to. There’s on site parking too which you don’t get in the city centre so I got the feeling that Riva Lofts would make a great base for a week of exploring Tuscany, you’ve got Florence just a short walk away but you could drive out to some of the other gorgeous villages and surrounding towns set in the countryside a short drive away from here. Pisa is close by and everybody says that Siena is a must visit. It’s on my hit list for next time we visit!

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Look at the size of it all! With those roomy high ceilings. It definitely felt like we’d hired a whole apartment rather than staying in a B&B/hotel. I have a big thing about natural light so this room was perfect with the huge windows.

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The bed was crazy comfortable and such a novelty to have curtains to pull around it.

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The suite was set over three floors with a flight of stairs going down to a bathroom area to make the whole thing feel even more spacious. Check out those beams on the ceiling! Despite being called a B&B, it still had lots of luxuries like fluffy hotel style gowns and nice toiletries.

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One of the things I loved most, aside from the gorgeous pool area and the loft room, was our own balcony complete with an olive tree {we were in Tuscany after all}. Such a perfect space to relax for the afternoon or to read the papers before breakfast.

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Breakfast, talking of which, was served in the oldest part of the building, a communal living area where if you hired the house or booked a few rooms with a group of friends you could take over for film nights by the fire or big lunches or dinners together.

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It’s a homely kind of place with cute little details dotted around the place. On hot afternoons they’ll put hammocks out by the pool for you to laze around in after a long lunch, or on a cold day you could be sitting by the huge open fireplace. Breakfast was continental with croissants, fruit, cereals and cold meats and cheeses to fuel you up before a day of exploring Florence or the surrounding countryside.

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And into Florence we walked. The path outside the hotel takes you along the river the whole way and through Florence’s biggest park. We did the walk twice, once in the day and then we went back into town for dinner and had a pretty walk back as the sun was setting in front of us. If you prefer to cycle then you can hire bikes for free from the hotel which would get you there in half the time. I would say the location has it’s pros and cons, it’s lovely for being out of the hustle and bustle but do take into account how it is outside the main town if you’re coming just for a city break.

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We’d been to Florence once before back in 2010 {remember this post}  so while I would tell all first timers to think about climbing the famous Duomo for amazing views across the rooftops and city, wander the Uffizi and Accademia galleries – some of the best in the world for art and eat reallly good Tuscan fayre {and oh good, the food and the wine in this part of the country!!}, for our second visit we wanted to just stroll around the city. It’s a cultural city for sure, but even without diving into art galleries there’s so much to see and do. The river splits Florence in half with pretty bridges running across it, the Ponte Vecchio is the oldest and a must see.

Given that we only had an afternoon and evening in Florence, we made a beeline for lunch in the square overlooking the Duomo {how incredible is that building!!} and then to Grom, our favourite Gelato stop before walking to Piazza Michaelangelo, a square over the river up on a hill which gives amazing views back over the city.

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It has a nice buzz to it and would be a great spot to watch the sunset from here too.

Just below it is a rose garden that smells like heaven which is definitely worth a walk through on your way back down if you’re visiting in the summer.

If you only have one night in Florence then you have to add Gusto Pizza to your list of places to eat dinner. They’re known as some of the best pizzas in the whole of Tuscany and if you ask nicely, they can even make yours into a heart shape. How’s that for a honeymoon worthy pizza? Proper, old school Italian pizza making with a wood oven that cooked them in less than two minutes. Be prepared to queue out the door but the line does move quickly. We got ours to take away and ate it on some steps in the sunshine in a little square just along from Gusto.

There are some upscale eateries in Florence but sometimes all you want/need is a good pizza and some gelato. When in Rome.. ! Writing this post has got me seriously hungry now.

Ciao Florence! A short but sweet visit. Next up, our stay in the Tuscan countryside at a hotel that dreams were made of!!

You can find more info on Riva Lofts here.

And other Smith Hotels in Florence here.

R <3 xx

{I was a guest of Riva Lofts by Mr & Mrs Smith but would never ever promote something that I didn’t love. All opinions are my own}

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