About Judy E
Lives in Rome, Italy
Since Jul. 2014
For the past decade Italy has been a constant in my assignments as travel writer and photographer. Rome, Florence, and Venice are the cities where I spend the most time, but much of my time has been spent in small towns and the countryside, too, especially in Southern Italy. It's always a privilege to criss-cross the boot, often in a convertible or by train. The art, culture, food, nature, and wine are all incredible. Italy is so rich in these that the problem is never to find something of interest, it's in all those wonders that for lack of space never make it to the printed page or web page. Born in the U.S. and with treasured years of working in the museum world in Washington, DC, I always bring those perspectives with me, too, including to TripAdvisor. I was delighted that TripAdvisor commissioned me to write some Travel Guides for Rome, Venice, and Sicily. Happy reading and happy travels!
Historic Sites, Gardens
Educational sites, Art Museums, Points of Interest & Landmarks
Gardens, Points of Interest & Landmarks
Points of Interest & Landmarks
Art lovers and first-time visitors won't want to miss the Uffizi. But be prepared, neither will thousands of other people! Once you enter, why not set your own romantic theme for the visit, and follow your own muse instead of the crowd? From images of the love goddess, Venus, to famous couples or cozy interiors - it's impossible to truly admire the Uffizi's entire collection in one visit, so take your time and linger over what truly you inspires instead.
The romantic English-style Torrigiani Garden is set in 17 acres of secluded landscape in the Oltrarno district of Florence. Explore its sacred Arcadia Woodlands, and the impressive plant and tree collections from around the world. Plus, along with the historical and botanical features, the guided tour - usually given by a family member - often includes the odd romantic tale. (And you can always request more!)
One of the most beautiful cinemas you're ever likely to visit, the Odeon in Florence has a stained glass ceiling, chandeliers and wall sconces, finely carved woodwork, balcony seating, and even plush golden velvet seats! Most movies are shown in the original language version (usually English), making an afternoon film here a relaxing and romantic way to while away a few hours after lunch, far away from the hordes of tourists.
If music be the food of love, plan to attend an opera or concert at the Opera di Firenze theater, opened in 2014. Even if seeing a show isn't for you, this contemporary complex is still worth passing by due to its interesting architecture - a good spot to take a memorable photo or two.
Whether or not you believe that chocolate is an aphrodisiac, there's always an excuse to bond over some top-quality bonbons. Vestri makes excellent chocolates right in the heart of Tuscany, in the province of Arezzo. My favorite flavors are dark bittersweet, or chocolate with hazelnuts or almonds. Then there are the cocoa-dusted truffles, truffles with violets, or with coffee for an extra buzz... better get a good assortment and at least two of each flavor - some things are just too delicious to share!
A stroll across Ponte Vecchio at sunset is inherently romantic, as you watch the sun color the Arno and dip behind the Tuscan hills. Ready to pop the question? This bridge is the perfect spot, with its picturesque setting, not to mention great jewelry shops. Or why not stroll around Florence to find a 'bottega orafa' (goldsmith's workshop) and commission your own special memento!
Exhibitions at Palazzo Strozzi are always well designed and prestigious, making for a visit that is both stimulating and romantic - set against the backdrop of this imposing palace. Strozzi does not have a permanent art collection, but collaborates with top museums and collectors worldwide. Plus, the Strozzina Gallery downstairs highlights contemporary art, offering a refreshing break from the Renaissance.
The chapel fresco, painted by Benozzo Gozzoli in the 15th century, is the number one reason to visit the Medici Riccardi Palace. Its splendor will transport you back to a Renaissance world full of color and pageantry, and with only 10 visitors admitted at a time, you're guaranteed an intimate experience.
Small and intimate spaces enhance the romantic aspect of Florence, and one of the city's best examples is The Bardini Museum. Its temporary exhibitions lean towards fashion and design, its private gardens offer a stunning view of the Arno River and historic center, plus the terrace cafe (Kaffehaus) is a pretty spot for lunch.
Hopeless romantics that love poetry and a touch of melancholy can visit Elizabeth Barrett Browning at her final resting place, the English Cemetery. A good excuse to dig out those poetry books, too!
Love inspires great art. Explore one of the most beautiful examples of divine love by visiting the frescoes painted by Beato Angelico in the friars' cells in San Marco. Here, the breathtaking use of color and earnest piety makes for an experience as tranquil as it is lovely.
Enjoy a romantic garden interlude courtesy of Frederick Stibbert, who had Giuseppe Poggi convert his Italian garden into a romantic English garden - complete with temples, rock caves, a pond, and fountains. Among its highlights are an Egyptian-style temple, which stands at the edge of a pond, and beautiful citrus trees which find their winter home in the conservatory.
If you suddenly find yourselves with the need to spruce up and celebrate, Via de' Tornabuoni offers a good concentration of luxury brands. Florentine designer 'Save the Queen' spins fashions with a bit of an edge (the director of Palazzo Strozzi even had STQ give the palace guards a makeover), Pucci has plenty of signature prints, and for a stunning tuxedo or suit, Ermenegildo Zegna has it covered.