I have found only two downsides to getting married in secret.
The lack of hen do.
The lack of honeymoon.
Obviously, neither of these are important at all but both would have been nice.
I may have recently spent a little self-indulgent time researching a fake honeymoon – judge away – and I have found myself drawn to the idea of renting a beautiful little villa in Tuscany.
I imagine Rory and I visiting vineyards, learning about how the wine is made and then, obviously, drinking it.
We would spend time meandering around Florence, taking in the architecture.
Given that the region is considered the birth place of Italian Renaissance, it would be entirely rude not to see Michelangelo’s ‘David’ in The Galleria dell’Accademia or visit the Uffizi Gallery, the home to Da Vinci, Botticelli, Caravaggio, Bellini and Uccello.
It’s a former art students idea of heaven!
We could then climb the 414 steps to Giotto’s bell tower, or drink coffee and people watch at Piazzo Santo Spirito.
The conversation would be quiet and uninterrupted, we would visit Cascate del Mulino to bask in the thermal baths and spend our evenings sitting on the terrace drinking wine that we saw made and purchased locally.
It would be perfect.
Unfortunately, we have children and so any honeymoon, or trip to Tuscany, would unfortunately no doubt include them too.
Our holiday requirements, as a couple or a family, are simple.
A nice place to stay, some good views, a bit of culture and food & wine in abundance is all we ask.
Would visiting Tuscany with children be an option?
I’ve mentioned previously, that we prefer to holiday self catering whether the children are with us or not. Nothing makes me shudder as much as the idea of us all sharing one room for a week.
I prefer our own place with our own pool, pretending to live like locals. I mean who doesn’t love perusing markets in small medieval towns? A trip to a foreign supermarket fills me with more joy than it probably should.
Luckily, there are an abundance of rental options in the region. Whether you are looking for a small serviced apartment or a family villa with a private pool, somewhere coastal or somewhere rural. There is something for everyone.
Tuscany is renowned for its inexpensive, good quality, simple foods. Local delicacies include Papa al Pomodoro, Ribollita and Lampredotto. However, if your kids, like mine, are adverse to munching on the fourth stomach of a cow (yes, really) many places offer pizza and pasta galore. In this region it seems that most eateries are very family friendly.
Wine here includes Montepulciano, Montalcino and Chianti but, as with most wine-producing regions, you really can’t go wrong ordering a bottle of local ‘house’ wine. It’s usually considerably cheaper but no less tasty.
What to do
Whether you favour coast or mountain, it seems almost impossible to get bored in Tuscany, with or without children.
With seven UNESCO world heritage sites, a vast and colourful cultural history, good food and wine in abundance, it ticks all the boxes.
Florence offers more astounding architecture, art galleries and museums than you can shake a stick at. Many of these offer interactive exhibits and workshops for children. It’s also a compact city, meaning that there’s no need to rely on public transport to get around.
At Pisa you can climb the leaning tower (or just take one of those hilarious ‘stop it toppling’ photos), visit the botanical gardens, stroll along the Arno and see medieval palaces.
Visit the port city of Livorno with its canals, cobbled streets and, of course, Terrazza Mascagini. Built in the 1920s, 34,800 black and white tiles create the iconic checkerboard seafront boulevard. Where better to enjoy gelato before hitting the beach?
As if all that wasn’t quite enough, the villages, towns and cities throughout Tuscany are often celebrating something with festivals all through the year.
In March, Sagra delle fritelle is celebrated in Montefioralle, a weekend dedicated to the humble fried rice cake. Radda nel Bicchiere in May is a wine festival offering tastings of the best wines of Radda in Chianti. June sees Calcio Storico which is, as I understand it, is a hybrid of football and boxing that dates back to the 1500s. Monteriggioni Festa Medievale takes place in July, celebrating and re-enacting medieval events of the area. These are just a handful of the many festivals that take place. They celebrate EVERYTHING.
Without a doubt, Tuscany looks to be the ideal place to immerse ourselves in culture and soak up local life and tradition on a honeymoon or as a family.
That is hands down more interesting than sitting by a pool for a week.
This post is written in collaboration with To Tuscany.