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2014 Sabbatical

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Piazza della Trinità dei Monti, 2, 00187 Roma RM, Italy
Ciampini has all the required three Ps (that's a thing, right?): People-watching, prime piazza location, and perfect cappuccini to make it the most coveted caffè bar in Rome. From 8 a.m. to after dark, Rome's best-dressed flock to Piazza...
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When it comes to ice cream, there is still only one place in Rome. It has been the best since 1900. I love Giolitti not only for the great gelato, but also because it hasn’t changed since I was a little girl. 39/06-699-1243. By Pepi Marchetti...
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Piazzale Napoleone I, 00197 Roma RM, Italy
Encompassing early 200 acres of rolling parkland, Villa Borghese is Rome's verdant heart and everyone's favorite place for an afternoon walk. The vast gardens are criss-crossed with picturesque paths, where visitors can meander past ancient...
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Via Mangiavacchi, 37, 53026 Piennza SI, Italy
One of the most delicious towns in Tuscany - and most beautiful - is the charming Pienza. Situated between Montepulciano and Montalcino in the scenic Val d'Orcia, centuries-old Pienza is best known for its rich pecorino cheeses. Many feel that the...
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Piazza del Mercato Centrale, 6, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
Foodies (and those simply interested in local color and a good meal) should head to San Lorenzo and its covered Mercato Centrale. Florence’s main market for edibles is housed in a 19th-century glass-and-iron building. On the...
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Costa S. Giorgio, 2, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
The Bardini Garden is one of Florence's best kept secrets. It was built in the 12th century as part of a large estate owned by the Mozzi family. During the 20th century it was closed for many years and only reopened in 2005 after significant...
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Strada Comunale del Borghetto, 53026 Pienza SI, Italy
For two weeks, I volunteered as a WWOOFer at Podere Il Casale where after a day in the gardens, milking goats, or serving cheese tastings to tourists, we all gathered for a staff meal. We ate simple, delicious food like chestnut linguini with...
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Via Marmorata, 47, 00153 Roma RM, Italy
We stopped at Volpetti to pick up a few items for a picnic on Aventine Hill in the Garden of Oranges. Problem is, you can't just pick up a few things here. Everything is wonderful. The food combined with the view from the Aventine makes for a...
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Via delle Porte Sante, 34, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
Most people who visit Florence know that walking to Piazzale Michelangelo is a must. However, fewer people know that walking a little higher to the old church of San Miniato al Monte is an even better experience. Amble down the Arno River to Viale...
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Via Roma, 1r, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
Piazza della Repubblica in central Florence has three of the city's most historic cafes. Gilli is one of them, and when you walk in, you feel like you are entering a piece of the city's history. The cafe was founded in 1733 but moved to its...
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Largo Piero Calamandrei, 13a, 43121 Parma PR, Italy
Academia Barilla is housed on the grounds of an old pasta factory in Parma, the northern Italian city made famous by its prosciutto and cheese. Customized courses focus on pasta making, regional Italian recipes, and secrets such as how to pair...
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There is a reason why renting a villa in Tuscany is so popular - rustic farmhouses, rolling hills filled with olive and plum trees, golden sunsets, locally-harvested wine, creamy cheeses, and cool evenings spent with friends and family. Renting a...
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Via Castruccio Buonamici, 352, 55100 S. Anna,Lucca LU, Italy
My husband and I visited Lucca, Italy, in May. Just when I thought the charming town couldn't get any more beautiful, the sun went down and the lights came on, exposing a whole new beauty. Lucca is not a place to be missed, and make sure to stick...
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52044 Cortona, Province of Arezzo, Italy
Agritourism has become a big business in Tuscany from cooking schools to farm rentals. Alessandra Federici (far right) took a non-traditional route to building her agritourism business. She opened a cooking school in her own home. This deeply...
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Via S. Martino, 17, 53037 San Gimignano SI, Italy
Medieval hill towns in Italy were built for security. They endure for romance. San Gimignano, about 30 miles south of Florence and 35 miles north of Sienna, is one of a the best loved and most visited.
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Piazza di Santa Trinita, 3, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
The most beautiful view in Florence is undoubtedly high above the city on a rooftop watching the sunset splash across Florence with a 360 degree view. Experience what it's like to live like a local in one of the most beautiful cities in the world....
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55047 Malbacco LU, Italy
Halfway between tourist hot spots Cinque Terre and Pisa, Malbacco's freshwater ponds are Tuscany's best-kept secret. Shaded by towering pines and refreshed by cool mountain stream waters, this series of ponds is a welcome respite from the hottest...
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50052 Certaldo, Metropolitan City of Florence, Italy
Traveling to Italy had always been a dream of ours, and since we love culture, food and cooking more than we enjoy sightseeing, we wanted to find a place where we would be able to explore Italian cooking but have some freedom to go to other places...
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Piazza S. Lorenzo, 50050 Limite Sull'Arno FI, Italy
Over ten years ago, I took my first trip to Florence. I bought 2 leather jackets there, one of which I still wear regularly today. The other one is in great shape but slightly out of style. So on this recent trip 10+ years later, I was bound and...
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Piazza di Santa Trinita, 5, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
I love immersing myself in Florentine luxury in this Medieval palace that the Grandpapa of Italian shoe design, Salvatore Ferragmo bought in 1938. The downstairs museum pays homage to the master with fantastic displays—including molds he made for...
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53030 Radicondoli, Province of Siena, Italy
I enjoy guiding groups of up to 12 people through an exciting food, wine and cultural experience that includes cooking with village women and learning their grandmother's kitchen secrets; walks in the gorgeous Tuscan countryside, a visit to a...
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The main square of the Tuscan town of Arezzo transforms into a jousting track when the bi-annual Joust of the Saracen - (a medieval term for the 'infidels' the Crusades sought to convert) takes place. The "primary" joust is in June, with the main...
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51015 Grotta Giusti PT, Italy
Italy is full of SPAS--a word that stands for Salus Per Aqum=Health Through Water, or in my experience Spa==Ah, it feels so good. Just as the Romans indulged in the curative natural springs that pop up all over Italy, I find a day of rejuvenation...