HGTV's Chip and Joanna Gaines Make a Break for Italy
The Fixer Upper stars are displaying some serious vacation goals with their romantic getaway in Florence.
Filming more than a dozen episodes of one of the biggest shows on TV is no small task, so it would make sense that Chip and Joanna Gaines from HGTV’s Fixer Upper would bolt for some alone time upon wrapping filming — oh, and launching a much-anticipated home collection. And what better locale for a romantic getaway than Italy?
The co-hosts and parents of four celebrated their big milestones — not to mention Chip’s 43rd birthday! — with a trip to Europe, beginning in the heart of Florence, near the Piazza Della Signoria public square. Joanna clarifies in her post that the couple settled in for some (much-deserved) rest while travel friends enjoyed the sights, but they did manage to stop for a photo opp in front of Trattoria Gabriello, a cozy Florence restaurant popular with locals and passing tourists alike.
If Instagram is to be believed, Chip and Jo are currently making their way through the Italian countryside via a couple of Vespas. Thanks to some strategically placed headgear — safety first! — no sign yet of Chip’s newly-bare noggin. Just before heading to Europe, the Waco, Texas, natives also stopped through Memphis to deliver a check to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital — and to get a much-anticipated haircut.
Chip and Joanna have often said they’re natural homebodies, preferring to stay close to their hometown of Waco over traveling often for business, so their recent travels for both work and play seem like a breath of fresh air. No word on if they’ll make it back stateside ahead of their season five premiere of Fixer Upper on HGTV on Nov. 21, but we’ll be watching for more vacation inspiration!
St. John Baptistery
Dedicated to St. John the Baptist, this baptistery is the oldest religious monument in Florence. Although its origin is unknown, it’s believed that it was built over the ruins of a Roman temple that dated back to the fourth or fifth century. Up until the 19th century, all Catholics in Florence were baptized here.
One of the most recognizable landmarks in Florence, the Duomo is a cathedral built in honor of Santa Maria del Fiore. Visitors can climb to the top for amazing views of the city or explore the Gothic building’s amazing artwork, including Giorgio Vasari’s Last Judgment. Self-guided tours are free, or you can pay about $2 per person for the audio tour.
Go shopping at the Mercato Centrale, or Central Market, in Florence. This two-level, indoor food market has butchers, fishmongers and delis on the first floor, and on the second floor, shops sell vegetables, fruits, cheese, homemade sauces and more. Don’t leave the market without tasting homemade mostarda, a spicy jam usually eaten with cheese or roasts.
Piazza San Lorenzo
Piazza San Lorenzo is the square in front of the Basilica of San Lorenzo. It is also a popular spot for locals and tourists to go shopping at the open market, visit the Cappelle Medicee, or stop by the Laurentian Library, a repository of more than 11,000 manuscripts and 4,500 books.
Galleria dell’ Academia
Thousands of tourists converge on the Galleria dell’Accademia to see Michelangelo’s most famous sculpture, the statue of David. In addition to works by Italian artists, the museum also has a section that displays musical instruments created by Bartolomeo Cristofori, the inventor of the piano, and a tenor viola made by Antonio Stradivari in 1690.
Galleria degli Uffizi
Art aficionados will appreciate visiting the Galleria Degli Uffizi. This museum is one of the oldest and most famous art museums in Europe and the world. Artwork created by well-respected artists such as Michelangelo, Rembrandt and Leonardo da Vinci is on display here. Expect to wait up to five hours to get into the museum in July, during the city’s high tourist season.
Built in 1869 and designed by architect Giuseppe Poggi, Piazzale Michelangelo, or Michelangelo Square, is the perfect place to get panoramic views of Florence. Dedicated to the Italian artist and sculptor, it features copies of his work, including a replica of the statue David.
If you’re visiting Palazzo Pitti — once the home of Florentine banker Luca Pitti — then don’t miss out on strolling behind it through the Boboli Gardens, which house a collection of sculptures from the 16th through 18th centuries. It’s not uncommon to see these historical gardens undergo some form of restoration throughout the year to maintain the landscape and dozens of statues on site.