For our honeymoon, Will and I decided to visit Italy, a country neither of us had really explored much of before. When we were planning the trip we realised there was so much of the country that we wanted to see that it would take much more than just one trip. We decided to start a new tradition, and take it in turns to surprise each other with an anniversary trip to different parts of Italy.
So it was my turn this year. I decided upon Tuscany for the beautiful scenery and delicious food and wine. The pressure was on to arrange something as good as Will had the year previously so I enlisted the help of Book it Becki. Becki is an executive PA and is a whizz at finding the perfect place to stay. I gave her my dates, location preferences and hotel requirements and she came back a few days later with an incredible list of options. She saved me literally hours of website trawling and fretting, and found a number of places that absolutely matched what I was looking for. I could have cried with happiness and thoroughly recommend her if you are struggling to find somewhere to stay at home or abroad. Becki gifted me her service for this trip, but I would absolutely have been happy to pay for the service I got.
Lunch in Pisa
We flew from Birmingham to Florence super early, which meant that by 10am we were in Italy, had picked up our hire car and were on the road to our first destination! I tapped in the details to the Satnav and off we went. It wasn’t too long before Will was able to guess that we were headed towards Pisa. Pisa is one of those places that I remember dreaming about as a child. I had heard of the tower, of pizza and the romance (thanks to Frank Sinatra) and found it all quite unbelievable! It is possibly one of the first things that sparked my wanderlust, so I knew I had to take the opportunity to visit.
Pisa is as touristy as you would expect it to be – but it is still quite charming. I loved seeing the tower and *trying* to get one of those shots! Uncool or not, I embraced it and even bought a little souvenir for my dad.
The buildings around the tower are spectacular too, and the town itself is pleasant to wander around. Perhaps not somewhere where you would want to stay over, but definitely worth a visit for a few hours if your itinerary allows. We stopped at a cute cafe for a platter of cheese (as you do), a coffee and a quick limoncello and set off again for the next part of the surprise – our first hotel.
Borgo Pignano, Tuscany
I was SO excited to see that one of Becki’s options was Borgo Pignano. I had seen a blog post about this hotel on the ever-stylish Kate Jones London blog the year before and had stalked it on Mr and Mrs Smith website, so I was delighted it was available for a part of our time in Tuscany.
Borgo Pignano really is Tuscan hotel goals. It met and exceeded our expectations and absolutely wowed Will when we arrived, which was the aim of the game! It has incredible views of the rolling Tuscan hills, a show-stopper of a pool and beautiful interiors. I loved the little vintage Fiat too and took many a photo of it! I have to admit, sometimes I have to pinch myself that I get to stay in places like this.
Our room was gorgeous – it had double aspect windows each with the most beautiful views, and a three tier bathroom with a rolltop bath and ginormous shower. It was hard getting used to not seeing this view in the morning when we returned home!
The food was very good too – there was a casual restaurant that served delicious Tuscan food including stone baked pizza and we loved it so much we ate there every night of our four night stay – something we never do. I had one starter three times it was so good!
Every night we would come down to the lawn in time for an aperitif before sunset. The little bar would be set up serving cocktails, wines and of course Prosecco and it was the most perfect place to relax and enjoy the fresh Italian air.
Wine tasting in Tuscany
When in Tuscany you have to go wine tasting. For miles across the region all you can see is vines and olive trees and the production of wine and oil is at the heart of the area. They are fiercely proud of their produce and it is not hard to see why. We visited a place close to us called Guardastelle and we had a lovely experience. We also realised that they offered accommodation and it looked great. Set in beautiful grounds, it was walking distance to San Gimignano and looked like a really good option if you want to stay somewhere and not need to rely on a car. After a tour of the vines and learning how to make the wine, we got to taste a number of wines whilst enjoying a three course lunch.
Stay tuned, as I’ll be back next week with part two of our trip!