“How do I love thee?” wrote Elizabeth Barrett Browning, “Let me count the ways.” Hopefully, the answer is enough to take your loved one to Florence for a romantic getaway.
The UK is a miserable place in winter and a trip to Paris doesn’t quite cut the mustard either, as the weather is so similar. It’s time to go to down south to Florence.
The poets Robert and Elizabeth Browning scandalised Victorian Society by running away here. The piece de resistance of this plan is to stay in the very apartment that our Victorian lovers lived in all those years ago. What could be more romantic? The Casa Guidi is now owned by the Landmark Trust and they have kept the bedroom and salon very much as it would have been. It’s impossible not to think of love lying on the large antique four-poster tester bed, replete with crisp white linen. The salon (or lounge) is where they received their many visitors and leading off here are the fretwork balconies where Pen, their son, kept his rabbits. There is a well-equipped kitchen and the apartment sleeps six.
Florence is wonderful to visit out of season – the long queues, oppressive heat and crowds of tourists spoil it for many visitors in spring and summer. The city is compact so you can get to see much of it in a weekend and the temperature is always several degrees warmer than in the UK. Wander through the Pitti gardens opposite and climb to a beautiful view of the city, visit the local trattoria and eat with the locals, peer at the works of art in the Uffizi and walk over the Ponte Vecchio, minus the hordes.
If you are not Browninged out, on your return to the UK, do go and visit Robert and Elizabeth in the National Portrait gallery.