Florence lay before us in a palette of terra cotta and green. From the hills of Fiesole, we picked out the landmarks below: the Duomo, the Uffizi Museum, the Arno river. Birds sang, the sun was warm on our faces, and we were standing in the garden of a 600-year-old villa. The wisteria clinging to the garden wall was over 100 years old, branches so thick and twisted they grew into the iron bars over the windows.
We came to the Belmond Villa St. Michele for lunch, a romantic treat for us. In true Talbot style, we showed up for this fancy lunch via public bus from Florence, probably the only patrons of this villa ever to do so. After a decadent meal of salad, pasta, and dessert plus perfect wine picks by the sommelier, we ventured out into the garden.
There is one area of the garden called the Lover’s Corner. Couples from Florence book this spot in advance for dramatic marriage proposals, and the staff at Belmond Villa St. Michele set up a romantic table for two and keep the wine and food flowing to help the romance along.
The manager wandered off to see about a guest after telling us about this private little corner, and we stepped on the grass. I don’t know if it was the wine at lunch, the romantic hillside setting with birds singing in the background, or just an outpouring of love from our days together in Florence, but I felt the need to propose to Warren.
So I did.
For years we’ve been advocates of the one-year marriage contract (such an important subject we devoted a whole chapter to it in the book). Every year on our anniversary, we talk about what’s gone well, what needs to be addressed, and where we’d like to head in the future. And then we ask the most important question:
Do you want to renew our marriage for another year?
I love that we have this commitment in our relationship, the willingness to do the work every day so we have a relationship that will withstand a yearly examination with a microscope and an invitation to walk away if it’s not working.
This ritual keeps our relationship new and exciting, just like it was when we first decided to get married, and just like it’s been ever since we rescued our relationship from the dumps after a few years of neglect.
And proposing to Warren, in this beautiful space and with this thought in mind, was the perfect way to end our lunch date.
(Click here to see the proposal on video via Facebook.)
What We Learned About Love in Florence
We’re not the only ones who got matrimonial in Florence. While there, we saw several couples taking wedding photos on the piazza in front of the Duomo. And for a few million more dollars than those couples probably spent, celebrities Kim Kardashian and Kanye West got married in Florence at the historic Fort Belvedere.
Not that Florence needed any publicity in the love department, with couples throughout history – famous or not – falling in love with each other and the city.
The city feels timeless, and for love affairs you want to last a lifetime, Florence is the perfect place to ask, “Will you be mine?” – even if you’ve already asked it before.
Though having the right person in your life means you can ask that question anywhere in the world and it will always be the perfect place.
Editor’s Note: We started on this International Love Affair tour to celebrate the release of our fourth book, Married with Luggage: What We Learned About Love by Traveling the World. Subscribe to our weekly email get the inside scoop of each destination in Europe (plus the behind-the-scenes stories that never make it to this blog.) Next stop: Lucerne, Switzerland…the Alps!