This February 14, Florence is filled with amore as a packed line-up of romantic events has us swooning. Where better to celebrate the beauty of love than within the beauty of Florence? From romantic escapes and luxury spas to the intimacy of Tuscan dining experiences, here is The Florentine‘s guide to Valentine’s Day in Florence.
Where to eat
Opulence and style in the Bristol Winter Garden at the hotel Helvetia & Bristol Firenze – Starhotels Collezione, located in the city’s historic centre. Bubbles and canapés start off the fine-dining experience, followed by an intriguing and creative menu featuring cheese and pepper tortello pasta with lobster and gold leaf, plus other tantalizing treats such as black truffle and Da Vinci caviar, finishing off with a scrumptious white chocolate, raspberry and passion fruit delight. 110 euro per person, wine pairing included is the price for the ideal Valentine’s venue.
Valentine’s Day at the Hard Rock Cafe in Florence is a love-filled affair. A special menu plays part in this Belle Epoque themed fest. Dancers of the Parma ballet delight diners with the Can Can, a sure highlight of the evening. The Love at First Bite Menu will be available from February 10-17 and features delights such as lobster cobb salad, blue cheese salad, and BBQ grilled chicken, to be followed by a special Valentine’s Day brownie. Appetizer or dessert + main is 39.95 euro.
A romantic evening at Le Pavoniere (via della Catena, 2) with their special Valentine’s menu is another ideal option. With a welcome drink, baccalà alla livornese on the menu as well as a bottle of wine, the antipasto, primo, dessert and drinks comes to 35 euro per person. For more info and to book call 3921724859.
Taste for yourself the artistry and sophistication of La Bottega’s seven-course Valentine’s Farm-to-Table dégustation menu lovingly and thoughtfully crafted by head chef Erez Ohayon and the whole La Bottega del Buon Caffè (Lungarno Benvenuto Cellini 69/r) team to celebrate the occasion. This very special dining experience is being offered at 185 euro per person, including wine, or 135 euro without wine pairing. The ultimate in elegance and intimacy, the private dining room is also available at a cost of 350 euro. What a wonderful way to express your love or indeed ask that magical question? T: 055 55 35 677. Read more here.
The Mercato Centrale (piazza del Mercato Centrale, via dell’Ariento) has a fine feast for all as well as some fun and games. From 6pm, play along with a themed game called #amorealprimopiano and find your soulmate with special cocktails on offer. Take a sticker and look for your soulmate among the shops in the market, once found, take a selfie and use the hashtag #amorelaprimopiano, tagging the profile @ilmercatocentralefirenze. Then go to the counter to receive your well-deserved complimentary cocktails. Those playing in pairs need to answer three simple questions: if two out of three answers match, the cocktail is served! Info and booking for the Valentine’s Day menu at the Tosca restaurant, call 055 2657424.
A fundraising dinner Valentine’s Day for ANT will be held on February 14 at the ornate Palazzo Borghese (via Ghibellina 110, Florence). All money raised will go to Fondazione ANT Italia Onlus to help cancer sufferers in their own homes and to cancer research. The evening begins with welcome drinks and dinner accompanied by live music by Barbara Vignali, followed by dancing. (Minimum donation 55 euro / 349 2554648).
Enjoy an aperitivo in the spectacular rooms of the Palazzo dei Vicari in Scarperia, the picturesque Tuscan setting for a romantic evening. Dinner at the San Barnaba restaurant along with the aperitivo costs 45 euro and requires reservation by February 13. Book from Destination Florence and for more details.
Gardens and guided tours
Villa Bardini (costa San Giorgio 2) offers free entry for Valentine’s Day. Wander the magnificent gardens with your loved one taking in the spectacular scenery. Visit the Enigma Pinocchio: From Giacometti to LaChapelle exhibition while you’re there for a cultured Valentine’s Day experience. Call 055 20066209 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
The Grandi Amore Fiorentini tour by Il Filo di Arianna (support group for women who have miscarried) is a meaningful way to mark the day. Meet in piazza della Signoria before departing at 5.45pm on a learning tour about great Florentine love affairs, all while supporting this worthwhile charity. Booking required by emailing email@example.com. 17 euro per couple, or 10 euro per individual. T: 3663444187.
Talk a romantic stroll through the city with Trepassiperfirenze, learning about the history of magnificent Florence, while spending quality time with your loved one. A variety of guided tours, workshops and experiences are offered by this group. Second person is half price! www.trepassiperfirenze.com.
A night walk through the Gucci Museum is a true treat for (fashion-)lovers as you wander the hub of creativity and style. Depart at 9pm for the intriguing guided tour. Cost 18 euro including entrance to the museum. Booking required by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 3664475991.
Toast your love from one of the best views of the city at the Torre di Arnolfo. The Musei Civici Fiorentini and MUS.E present a panoramic toast with Bistrot 74 (via dei Servi 18R, Florence). Climb the 223 stone steps to the stunning crenellated walkway at the peak of the 95-metre-high Arnolfo Tower. Visits will be held every 30 minutes from 6.30 to 8.30pm at a cost of 18 euro and require a reservation at email@example.com or T: 0552768224 or 055-2768558.
Theatre and performances
Riccardo Rossi and Alberto Di Risio’s show L’amore è un gambero gives all the tricks to better face the emotional battlefield of love and all the adventures that can remain forever etched in our hearts. Tickets from 22 euro, 9pm February 14 and 15, Teatro Puccini, via delle Cascine, 41. T: 055 362067, www.teatropuccini.it. Tickets on sale in the regional Boxoffice Toscana circuit and on Ticketone.
Experience the wonderful song cycle Let Us Garlands Bring by Gerald Finzi, sung by counter tenor Richard Decker. The five songs will be interspersed with the scenes from the Shakespeare plays that inspired them. There will be refreshments available upon donation. A perfect way to spend Valentine’s Day either as a couple or with friends. 8pm, St Mark’s English Church, via Maggio 16, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rouge comme la nuit is an exhibition by Paola Bolletti at The Arts Inn (Via del Porcellana 63R, angolo via della Scala) for a romantic wander around a gallery with your beloved. The theme of love, its joys, sorrows and disappointments are explored with irony in a variety of mediums. From 6.30pm, an aperitivo will be held with the artist. Cocktails and music until late. Free entrance.
Relax Firenze (via degli Strozzi, 2) offer a special couples massage from February 10-17 for the ultimate pampering treat. With personalized His & Hers massages designed to ease stress and tension while also relaxing and energizing, a variety of treatments is on offer. The pampering continues with a small aperitif of herbal tea, fruit and Prosecco in the exclusive Couples’ Suite. For more info see here.
Cosy up at the Odeon where all the Oscar nominated films are lined up for a star filled Valentines. Choose between Joker, 1917 and Judy, or make a day out of it in the romantic 1920s Odeon cinehall. Click here for times and tickets.
Cinema La Compagnia screen ‘In the mood for Love’, from the creative genius of Wong Kar Wai. In original language, the love story set in Hong Kong in 1962 is a tale of desire and betrayal. Screening at 9pm, entrance 5 euro, 4 euro reduced. See here.
Love at the villa
Cosy up at Villa Medicea di Lilliano where you can enjoy Malenchini’s famous Chianti as part of a romantic package for two. Be greeted upon arrival with sparkling wine. Stay in a luxury suite, visit the Malenchini winery and indulge in the ultimate relaxation with AquaFlor bath salts and roses in the room. See www.medicivilla.com for more on the romantic getaway, package available for the month of February.
Celebrate Valentine’s just a little later on February 16 (or make it a week-long celebration!) with Chianti Lovers wine previews at Fortezza da Basso. With over 100 wineries in attendance, taste and sample some of the best from 4 to 9pm. Cin cin to amore! Tickets can be purchased at boxofficetoscana.it.