January 29, 2011, 10:02 PM
My wife's 40th Birthday in Tuscany
I just booked a trip to Tuscany in July 2011 to celebrate my wife's 40th! We have been planning this trip for probably 10 years now and I want to make her birthday there extra special.
I am looking for some ideas to do on the day of her birthday - something really romantic that will knock her socks off! We are staying in Chianti, but I would travel to another location for something special.
Some background on her interests:
My wife loves to cook and I was thinking of a Tuscan cooking class, but I don't know if she will appreciate cooking on her birthday!
We love wine (hence staying in Chiant!) so something around that would be nice.
I know Tuscany is not known for the seaside, but we love restaurants with a view of the sea. Or maybe a fantastic view of the countryside?
She also loves horse drawn carriage rides.
I would love to take her to some sort of opera or ballet.
I know I threw a lot out here, but I would welcome any suggestions that anyone has.
February 2, 2011, 07:16 PM
whole trip sounds romantic and like a wonderful gift!
Sounds like you're planning a wonderful birthday for your wife!
With wine and food you won't go wrong anywhere so you're headed to the right place I definitely agree that a cooking class sounds like a wonderful experience which you could include as part of the birthday present that the whole trip will turn out to be -- just don't plan it for the day of so that she doesn't have to spend it in the kitchen.
Since you're staying in Chianti, I think you have two options:
- spend the day out visiting Chianti and have dinner at a spectacular place with views over the countryside. Most restaurants located in the hilltop villages will have terraces and outdoor dining in July. I really liked the Osteria di Badia Passignano for excellent cuisine and wines but I wasn't there during the summer and so ate indoors. The location is excellent in itself, with the convent right next door and the vineyards all around, it might be possible that during July there is an outdoor area. There are visits to the cellars underneath the abbey, you could organize a day of wine tasting with an excellent meal at the osteria as well.
In any case, locals know best where to go for special occasions in the surroundings, if you've already got your lodgings booked, why not contact the owner and ask for a recommendation for a very special dining out experience? Let's see what they recommend, it can't hurt to get more ideas.
- a day in Florence with horse-drawn carriage ride around the main historical sights in the center would be really romantic as well. Then you could have a romantic dinner with a view - for example, from Piazzale Michelangelo for example. La Loggia offers the location and cuisine for a special occasion. Prices are a bit high for Florence, but you're paying for the view.
You can get another amaxing view of the other side of Florence from Fiesole. Here I'd recommend the Reggia degli Etruschi for both good food and a view.
Make sure to book just in case - more than anything, make sure that they understand you are celebrating a special occasion and absolutely want a view so that a table is set aside for you. The outdoor area is especially popular during the summer, regardless of the day of the week.
I think the whole trip will be wonderful, so it will be hard to make one day stand out in particular from the other ones - now all you have to do is decide what to do on that particular day
February 3, 2011, 03:16 AM
Thanks for the response! I like these ideas! I was also thinking of something with a view of the water? I know we are going to have to travel a little, but is there anything directly west of Chianti on the sea?
February 3, 2011, 09:23 PM
For a really really romantic day at the sea, I'd head to the Cinque Terre - I really loved Manarola and Vernazza. The only doubt is about the period, in July I imagine they'll be crowded (a concern because they are really tiny villages enclosed by sea on one side, the mountains on the other) and are a bit further away from Chianti....
Something closer and definitely romantic would be a dinner along the boardwalk in Viareggio and the Lido di Camaiore. These are very nice seaside destinations in Tuscany, you'll definitely find lots of restaurants, hotels and more with views onto the sea and they'd be perfect at sunset since you'd have it setting on the waves .
March 20, 2011, 03:41 PM
Does your wife enjoy horse riding as well as carriage driving? If so you can do a 'champagne & sunrise' (or sunset if it's too early!) horse ride close to Montaione (between Florence & Siena). The horse riding is suitable for beginners too
June 6, 2011, 09:08 PM
My wife's 40th Birthday in Tuscany
Still haven't decided on this yet!! I had two other ideas:
Are there any opera's in the area with performances on Saturday July 2nd? I am staying in Chianti but would be willing to travel.
My other thought is to spend the day at a vineyard that has a tasting and a cooking class where we can have a nice dinner outside with a view of the vineyard and countryside.
June 7, 2011, 05:34 PM
Operas and Events in Tuscany
I'm sure an opera will be a great way to surprise your wife, making her birthday unforgettable!
July is the month of the Opera Festival, a summer program offering various operas, live events and shows that will be put on stage in spectacular locations and unique settings, such as the San Galgano Abbey in Chiusdino near Siena and the Boboli Gardens in Florence.
Beautiful and famous plays will be performed, like La Traviata, Vivaldi's Four Seasons, Carmina Burana.
You can find the full program for July 2001 at this link, you should consider that the Opera Festival will start from the 12th of July, not before:
On Saturday July 2nd a concert will take place right in Piazza della Signoria in Florence:
You can see the full programme of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino at this link:
As to your idea to spend the day at a vineyard, I suggest Villa Dianella, a wine estate near Vinci (Leonardo's hometown), that offers wine tastings and winery tours as well as a cooking class on the wine estate. Another suggestion for wine tastings and tour of a Chianti winery is Fattoria Viticcio just outside of Greve since it will be closer to where you're staying.
Feel free to post again for any additional question.
Of course we are curious to know about your final decision:-)
June 13, 2011, 12:10 AM
opera in Florence on July 2
St. Marks here in Florence also puts on opera during the year in the church itself, in full costume. You can see the opera program here - on July 2nd they are doing La Boheme.