Whenever something from Jessica Burke lands in my inbox I just know I’m in for a treat (I mean, did you SEE this rehearsal dinner? It’s insanely gorgeous). And her trip to Italy? Well it somehow surpassed even my highest of expectations. I spent more time than I’ll ever admit poring through her photos. And you may want to set aside some time as it’s all right here.

From Jessica Burke… One of my favorite things to do when traveling for destination weddings is to explore the area where the wedding is taking place. I not only love to travel + experience new places, but I also love to provide images of the area to my couples. On a recent tip to Italy, I had some extra time to explore Tuscany and absolutely fell in love.

WHERE TO GO:
The smaller towns in the Tuscan countryside are less visited by tourists and are incredibly charming. Siena and Lucca and both lovely and worth a visit, at least for a night or two each. Siena is a great home base to experience Tuscany, you’ll want to be sure to have a car.

WHERE TO STAY: 
I could write an entire separate post on the wonderful experience I had at Aia Mattonata Relais. A restored farmhouse built in the 1800′s, the owners Mario and Elisabetta created a warm and welcoming escape just outside the town of Siena. The location is central to experience Tuscany, yet tucked away from the hustle and bustle. One of my favorite places I’ve ever stayed, I highly recommend!

NOT TO MISS:
One of the best drives is through the three villages of Pienza, Montepulciano and Montalcino. Do not miss visiting here! Truly the quaintest towns I’ve visited in Tuscany. While you’re there, be sure to visit the leather shop Maledetti Toscani in Montepulciano.
Another wonderful day was spent biking on the wall that surrounds Lucca.. tree lined streets and views of the town below make for quite a lovely afternoon.

Siena has a sun-filled piazza perfect for a relaxed lunch. Pick up some cheese + salame + bread from one of the many markets to enjoy while people watching.

Tip: if you’re gluten-free like myself, visit the farmacias scattered about each town. There are shelves of gluten-free goodies, (even baguettes!) which allowed me to enjoy one of my favorite meals – cheese, bread and wine. Such a great surprise!

With its old world architecture, endless walkways and friendly Italians, wherever you travel in Tuscany you’re sure to be charmed.

Photography: Jessica Burke

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