Wanderlust: Mousumi’s Italian Adventures

This past May, I ventured back to Florence (my 2nd time) for a gorgeous destination wedding for my friend Jenny and Philip.  Since her mother is Italian and her husband, Philip, German, Jenny had decided that Europe and specifically the romantic city of Florence, was the perfect place to make her union with Philip official.

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The ceremony took place at St. Gaetano Church, right in the center of Florence.  This gorgeous Baroque church was built with funding from the Medici family between 1604 and 1648. It includes the work of several famous architects and artists. In true Italian fashion style, it was situated on the same street at Prada, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton!  Of course shopping in Florence isn’t so bad, but when you only have an hour before the wedding to find a dress and shoes, that can be a bit nerve-racking!  Swiss Air finally found my lost bags arrived the day before I left.  Lesson learned: always pack your important outfits in your carry-on!

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Every evening, I loved walking around the streets of Florence.  I feel like I saw two cities…the Florence by Day and the Florence by Night!  Since elephants are one of my favorite animals, I loved this window display.  Please note, only elephants with their trunk up are good luck.

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The beautiful bride, her father and the flower girl arrive in style by horse and carriage.

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Professional wedding photos (by Maggie Stolzberg) are extra beautiful when taken in this lovely city of artists.

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My friend Renee and I walking around Florence after the wedding and before the reception.

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May is a popular month for weddings…these two cars are getting hitched!

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The evening reception took place at the Palazzo Borghese.  Dating back to the 14th Century, this historical palace was one of the many residences of the influential Borghese family. It was also the home of Pauline Bonaparte, Napoleon’s sister, who married into the Borghese family and lived here for many years.  I felt like royalty as we dined in style.  The wedding speeches were given in both English and German.

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Photographed with the bride’s brother, Jerry!

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The next morning, Jenny’s mother, Gina gave a walking tour of the city.  We met near the Duomo but unfortunately I couldn’t find the group with all the tourists!  But I did come across a cool parade!  I have to say I love the patterns of the Duomo.IMG_2533

Oh Florence, you are so beautiful..including your reflection!

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That Monday, a few of us headed out with the bride and groom on a bike tour with www.ibikeitaly.com.  It was a beautiful biking tour through the Tuscan countryside just outside of Florence.

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We toured olive groves, vineyards, medieval castles, hillside villa estates and experienced breathtaking panoramic views of Florence.   This area is known for the Chianti wines so we were able to tour a vineyard and enjoyed an amazing lunch at the Chianti Villa Estate.

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Officially Mr. & Mrs.!

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We rode back to Florence in this.  How did four of us fit in here???  But I loved the Sikara orange color!

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Did I say I love motorcyles…very Italian stylish helmets.

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View from atop!  Florence is definitely a walking city.  Since I was only in town for 4 days, I definitely have more of Florence to explore.  As I always say, you must leave something to be seen so you have a reason to come back.