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Sint-Katelijneplein 50, 1000 Brussel, Belgium
One of my favorite European habits that I can never get enough of is the café culture. It is the first day this spring where it is warm enough to sit outside, and every café table is filled. There must be some unwritten rule that says if it is...
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Avenue Palmerston 4, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Belgium is famous for its Art Nouveau architecture from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. While many architects were experimenting with this new style, Victor Horta is Brussels' undisputed father of Art Nouveau. Many of his stunning...
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Brussels, Belgium
Brussels has a vibrant art scene with hundreds of small galleries scattered throughout the city. It can be hard to know where to begin and can feel intimidating if you aren't an art expert. Enter Brussels Art Walks—guided tours of several of the...
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Rue de France 40, 1060 Bruxelles, Belgium
Sunday Market at Gare du Midi is a must. It is a nice stroll through the different neighborhoods when coming out of the city centre. I enjoyed seeing locals pulling their market carts behind them, the concentration of market carts grew when I was...
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Rue des Sables 20, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Belgian comics hold a special place in the history of art and writing, and Brussels showcases this distinct history beautifully. Peyo's Smurfs still hit the silver screen, and perhaps the best known of the Belgian comics artists would be the...
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Place Royale 7, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Despite being a modern capital city, Brussels is still very much in touch which its historic past. Festivals, parades, architecture and traditions all hint at times gone by. One fascinating tradition is still active in Brussels and you can see it...
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Place des Palais 7, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Place Royal is a busy spot in Brussels. Tourists queue up for the many museums, office-workers bustle back and forth from their cubicles, cars zip around the roundabout and, trams rumble through the middle. All the while, few know that beneath the...
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Rue Royale 2, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
When it comes to guided tours, you often get what you pay for. Luckily, this is not the case with the Brussels Greeters. This talented, passionate group of volunteers is ready to show you every nook and cranny of the city, absolutely free. The...
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Rue Vandenbussche 54, 1030 Bruxelles, Belgium
Brussels has plenty of green spaces to choose from. One of my favourites is in a neighbourhood often overlooked by tourists, but is well worth a visit. Parc Josaphat, in the commune of Schaerbeek, is 20 hectares of green parkland, filled with...
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Rue Gheude 56, 1070 Anderlecht, Belgium
No trip to Belgium is complete without experiencing the Belgian beer culture. The best place in Brussels to take a look at beer history is the Cantillon Brewery. Even as a non beer drinker, it’s a fascinating place to visit. One of the things that...
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Rue au Beurre 46, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Brussels’ Grand Place is home to many festivals of all different themes: flowers, beer, international cultures, music, and seasonal holidays. But one festival, the Ommegang, full of colour and pageantry, has been taking place here since 1549. The...
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Koestraat 42, 9000 Gent, Belgium
Chocolate seems to be a Belgian obsession and many areas of the country have their own specialties and unique approaches to this popular sweet. Ghent is no different and I found a wide variety of chocolates from the traditional to the modern. My...
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Hold forth with the French about coffee and you'll quickly understand its purpose. It's not meant to be consumed leisurely but rather serves to clean the palate after a hearty meal. They think of it as a digestif which they tend to down in one...
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Frederiksplein 29, 1017 XL Amsterdam, Netherlands
An artisanal coffee shop (French press, filter or syphon) with excellent little sandwiches and cakes. A spacious nook in the back with armchairs and couches makes it suitable for work but I recommend snatching the spot in the front by the window...
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Chaussée de Dinant 1037, 5100 Namur, Belgium
Strawberry season in Belgium is a big deal, particularly in the town of Wépion, near Dinant in the Wallonia region. Wépion's berries are known throughout the country, as the best strawberry, and their arrival on store shelves is...
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Auguststraße 58, 10119 Berlin, Germany
The Barn is a bucolic coffee bar in the Mitte district that boasts top-quality coffee (from Copenhagen's famed fair-trade Coffee Collective) and a local-food ethos, inspired largely by the owner's formative years in rural Germany and his mother's...
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Rue de Savoie 68, 1060 Saint-Gilles, Belgium
When we traveled to Brussels, I knew that I wanted to carve out an afternoon to sit at Moeder Lambic -- not the newer one closer to the center of the city, but the original. My wife and I spent hours tasting the different lambics, geuzes and...
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Rue Ravenstein 2D, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
After walking around Brussels all day we stopped at Laurent Gerbaud Chocolaterie for a little sweet pick-me-up. The new things on the menu were the sorbets, so of course I wanted to try them. I chose the mango cilantro (coriander) one and I was...
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Place de la Vieille Halle aux Blés 37, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
When visitors to Belgium ask me what to eat here (besides the inevitable chocolate, waffles and frites), my reply is always stoofvlees (unless they are vegetarians!). Stoofvlees, or carbonnade a la Flamande as it’s called in French, literally...
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Rue au Beurre 31, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Maison Dandoy has been baking delicious treats in Brussels since 1829 and you'll find their famous shops scattered around Brussels. Step inside, and you'll be greeted by the sights and smells of crunchy biscuits (cookies) looking much as they have...
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The Friterie Pitta de la Chapelle is located just outside the church and near the Chapelle train station, which is a short distance from the Sablon. This friterie is like most friteries but they did add "Pitta" to the name. If you're alive today...
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Koningsplein 1, 1000 Brussel, Belgium
Sivan Askayo visited Flanders as a guest of Visit Flanders. I was quite happy to discover the Magritte Museum in Brussels, because Magritte is one of my favorite Belgian surrealist artists. The building is part of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in...
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Alsembergsesteenweg 108, 1060 Sint-Gillis, Belgium
I’ve had so many great dining experiences in Belgium, it’s hard to choose a favourite. I can say, without reservation, La Buvette is in my top five. La Buvette is warm and classy without feeling overly stuffy or formal. The concept is simple – one...
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Rue Montagne de la Cour 2, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
My favourite building in Brussels is the Old England on Mont des Arts, just around the corner from Place Royal. It’s a striking concoction of steel and glass in the Art Nouveau style Brussels is so famous for. But what’s on the inside is just as...
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Grand Place, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
The Brussels City Museum is located inside the Maison du Roi (or King’s house), the dark grey, Gothic building on Grand Place. Once the home of the baker’s guild, it is also known as the Broodhuis, in Flemish. These days, this beautiful building...
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Porte de Hal, Zuidlaan 150, 1060 Sint-Gillis, Belgium
The Porte de Hal (or Hallepoort in Flemish) may look like there should be a long haired princess trapped in the attic, (There isn’t. I checked.) but its function was much more important. Built in 1381, the Porte de Hal was one of the seven main...
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Avenue Van Praet, 1020 Bruxelles, Belgium
The Chinese pavilion was built on the edge of the Royal Estate at Laeken on the orders of King Leopold II between 1901 and 1910. The wooden paneling on the outside of the Chinese Pavilion and its entry pavilion were sculpted in Shanghai. We went...
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Kasteleinsstraat 49, 1050 Elsene, Belgium
The Contemporary Art scene in Brussels is thriving, but it can also be intimidating to newcomers. Many galleries can feel cold or stuffy, and visitors can be put off by the high prices of the works on display. Maison Particulière is a different...
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Avenue Léo Errera 41, 1180 Uccle, Belgium
The Musee David et Alice van Buuren is a house and garden planned, built, and decorated in the late 1920s by art lovers David Van Buuren and wife Alice in the Art Deco style. It was their home until 1960 and became a museum in 1975. The...
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10 Parc du Cinquantenaire, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
The Cinquantenaire Museum, located right beside Brussels’ iconic triumphal arch, is one of the best ‘hidden gem’ museums of the city. This museum of civilizations is part of the Royal Museums of Art and History. Permanent collections include...
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Paleizenplein 7, 1000 Brussel, Belgium
Most visitors to Brussels (and even many locals) don’t know much about Belgian history. Despite the country’s relatively short (by European standards) existence, it has a fascinating story. You can learn all about it in the small and interactive...
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Rue du Pont de la Carpe 7, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
As if there weren't enough great bars in Brussels! The Café Bizon is a popular bar in Europe's capital for both the local and international grad school and young "Eurocrat" crowds. It features a stuffed bison head and vintage motorcycles suspended...
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Rue Montagne aux Herbes Potagères 7, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
One of my favorite places to grab a beer and a snack is a la Mort Subite. Although it does become touristy, it is a civilized class of tourists who like to relax and grab a quiet beer and something to eat, unlike the more popular Delirium Cafe....
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Impasse de la Fidélité 4, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
The Delirium Café in Brussels is nothing less than a pilgrimage for beer aficionados. Try mentioning a place with over 2000 different options, and see how starry their eyes will get. This bar is located right in the heart of Brussels, a stone...
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Grand Place 1, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Besides the amazing food and drinks that you can enjoy in many Belgian restaurants, the decorations are fascinating too. Some of them are simply awesome—like the Roy D'Espagne in Grand Place, Brussels. I had some great mussels in a fabulous...
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Rue de l'Enseignement 57, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
If you want a Belgian Beer experience that doesn’t involve crowds of drunken stag-parties and tourists, head to the Bier Circus. Brussels beer aficionados head here to find rare Belgian beers and traditional dishes like Stoofvlees (beef stewed in...
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Quai aux Briques 74, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
The Via Via Travellers Cafe is more than just a pub. During the day, you can enjoy a coffee under the glass-roofed atrium and, at night, it’s a great place to sample Belgian beer, particularly the local, Brussels “Zinnebir.” But Via Via is also...
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Via di Campestri, 19/22, 50039 Vicchio di Mugello FI, Italy

The olive reigns at Villa Campestri, a Renaissance villa built around a 13th-century fort. Activities include grove tours, oil tastings, seasonal cooking classes, and olive oil massages. The restaurant L’Olivaia serves farm-fresh Tuscan food with...
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The Milan Cathedral, or Duomo, occupies a site that’s been holy since the time of the Romans, but it wasn’t until the early 19th century when the finishing touches were finally placed on this massive building. The Duomo is the fifth largest...
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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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Alzaia Naviglio Pavese, 286, 20142 Milano MI, Italy
The café Erba Brusca sits on a plot of land at the city’s edge, where concrete blocks meet grassy meadows. Italian staples such as buttery white polenta and roasted speziata sausage are made with herbs and greens grown on-site. Reserve a table on...
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Galleria del Corso, 4, 20122 Milano MI, Italy
For the last decade, Peck was the only place in town to stock up on the best of the best Italian foodstuffs. Now there’s a new gourmet go-to: a sprawling emporium in the basement level of the Excelsior department store. Choose from thousands of...
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Via Stella, 22, 41121 Modena MO, Italy
In the region of Emilia-Romagna, eat at Massimo Bottura’s three-Michelin-star Osteria Francescana. From there, take a day trip to Massimo Spigaroli’s farm estate, Antica Corte Pallavicina; visit his charcuterie, and buy some culatello [a prized...
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Via Ponte Vetero, 21, 20121 Milano MI, Italy
Every city has an eatery that’s a mainstay for shoppers, and in Milan, it’s the tony Brera neighborhood restaurant Convivium. House specialties include complimentary rosemary flatbread, four-cheese pizza, and sea saltencrusted sea bass for two. ...
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Borgo S. Frediano, 167R, 50124 Firenze FI, Italy
IO Osteria Personale is a small, elegant, and innovative restaurant in Florence. It's a foodie's delight, with an à la carte menu of meat, seafood, and vegetarian dishes, but no pasta! You can choose three or five dishes plus dessert to create...
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Via delle Belle Arti, 17/A, 40126 Bologna BO, Italy
Bologna is well known for its culinary expertise, and one of the best restaurants in town to taste authentic Bolognese cuisine is at the Trattoria Anna Maria. This little restaurant serves only the best food from the Emilia-Romagna region of...
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Via Ombrone, 1, 05018 Orvieto TR, Italy
Where's the beef? Who cares - when you come to Orvieto the thing to eat is "porchetta" and they do it in so many different ways that you'll just have to try them all. Either hit a restaurant or just go to one of the butcher shops and try a bit of...
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Via dell'Opio Nel Corso, 34, 53045 Montepulciano SI, Italy
[CLOSED] A Gambe di Gatto is a tiny restaurant in Montepulciano, Tuscany, Italy with fabulous food. The service is very slow as it just a husband and wife team. Laura cooks, Emanuel serves. Using only local products, mostly organic, they do a...
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Tucked in an alley near the historic downtown you'll find this small restaurant serving traditional, regional dishes (at a great price especially for the area). With open-air courtyard seating surrounded by vines, it makes for a relaxing lunch....
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Piazza Santo Spirito, 16/R, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
I love Florence: it's one of my favorite cities in Italy and in the world. But, the downside is that it can get ridiculously crowded. In fact, the last time I visited it was so crowded on the 'main side' of Florence, where the Duomo and all of the...
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Via della Chiesa, 16/r, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
This authentic neighborhood bar, Il Chicco di Caffè (aka Lola’s), is run by Maurizio whose Mom, Lola, cooks for a truly egalitarian mix of local artisans, staff from the nearby Gucci headquarters, students and people like me (I live next door!) at...
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Via Roma, 54, 19016 Monterosso al Mare SP, Italy
Having just spent the better part of 12 days eating nothing but focaccia, pasta, more focaccia and more pasta in Tuscany, this heaping helping of "frutti di mare" for my first meal in Cinque Terre was absolute heaven. With the exception of a small...
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Chef Marcello Trentini is innovative, intent on correcting perceptions that the cuisine of Italy's Piedmont region is heavy and old-fashioned. His combinations of sweet and savory, meat and seafood, and textures smooth and crunchy serve his...
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They don't call this northern Italian city "Bologna the Fat" for nothing. I recently ate my way through this arcaded city, sampling the city's namesake pasta sauce--Bolognese (about which an article will be coming to the pages of AFAR someday...
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Piazza Pitti, 1, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
The grand Boboli Gardens are one of my favorite places in Florence, but they can be crowded. I like to start directly behind the Palazzo Pitti and climb to the top of the gardens. This section includes the Porcelein Museum and a small formal...
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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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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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Piazza del Mercato Centrale, 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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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 Montebello, 58, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
During my last stay in Florence, I wanted to learn more about the artisan trades, and Bruscoli was recommended to me by a local. I am so glad it was. As I walked along the Arno River on my way to the workshop, I had no idea what an extraordinary...
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Piazza Santo Spirito, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
Walking through the Oltrarno neighborhood of Florence one night, I caught many glimpses of normal life for Florentines, from solitary people walking the dog to groups of young people crowded in restaurants, sharing laughs and evening drinks. No...
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Via della Scala, 16, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
This centuries-old "pharmaceutical workshop" gives visitors a chance to experience part of Florence's unique bespoke heritage. It was established by Dominican monks of the adjacent Santa Maria Novella church around 1221 and opened to the public in...
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Via dei Vecchietti, 4, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
When people think of Florence, they usually think of Renaissance art and crowded museums filled with altarpieces and "Madonna and Child" images. While the Renaissance is the biggest draw of this historic city, there is a lot more to its art-museum...
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Via di Campestri, 19/22, 50039 Vicchio di Mugello FI, Italy
Finding myself in Tuscany for the first time, I was unaware that wine is not the only thing bottled in the storied hills of one of Italy's most famous regions. It turns out that water and oil are two more forms of liquid gold which Tuscans count...
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Via Solferino, 19, 50038 Scarperia e San Piero FI, Italy
My boyfriend is a rather talented cook and though he has no more professional training than what his restaurateur-father taught him, I've still noticed his attention to detail and the priority he places on quality equipment in our kitchen. So,...
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Località Nipozzano, 7, 50060 Pelago FI, Italy
Castello Nipozzano is the most celebrated and historic of the properties which belong to the Frescobaldi family, wine makers in Tuscany for 700 years. It, along with a villa and ancient chapel, is open to the public for touring when a reservation...
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Via dei Georgofili, 11R, 50100 Firenze FI, Italy
If you weren't sure what you were looking for, you might miss Marco Stabile's Ora d'Aria restaurant on Via dei Georgofili. The hint of a large birdcage peeking through a tall window in an expansive and otherwise-unadorned wall is all that alerts...
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Borgo S. Jacopo, 14, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
I started my Tuscan vacation with a villa in the heart of the rolling, green hills. I ended it with a stay at the beautiful riverside Hotel Lungarno. Really, no way I could complain! The Lungarno is very close to Ponte Vecchio on a small side...
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Via dei Girolami, 28R, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Armed with only a recommendation, a description, and the general location of the restaurant—but no actual restaurant name—we found Ristorante Buca dell’Orafo, near the Ponte Vecchio. The small restaurant is below street level off an alley-wide...
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Via dei Tavolini, 19r, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
On a cool night in November, walking alone from an outdoor food market in the center of Florence, I decided to indulge my sweet tooth yet again. I stopped for a "snack," one that I would never eat just before dinner back home yet couldn't get...
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Via del Porcellana, 25/R, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
Buon appetito! We discovered this hole-in-the-wall trattoria 15 years ago, and we were delighted to find everything to be the same and the food as good. Not an upscale gourmet place, but popular with locals, and a place to practice my rusty...
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Piazza della Signoria, 5/R, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Start your day with a cappuccino and melting pastry on the terrace of ex–chocolate factory Rivoire, now one of Florence’s historic cafés. You will pay for the privilege, but the ringside view of the comings and goings in the open-air museum that...
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Piazza de' Pitti, 16, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
With its emphasis on wine and a simple menu, we turned happy hour into a prolonged wine dinner at the Enoteca Pitti Gola E Cantina. It sits across the street from the Pitti Palace, with a commanding view from the covered street-side deck. Three...
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Via S. Zanobi, 33, 50129 Firenze FI, Italy
There are many excellent restaurants in Florence, but this one was recommended to me by a local, and I'm so glad it was. Alessandro, the chef, recently returned after working in New York City for eight years. Located on a small street near the...
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Via della Vigna Vecchia, 40r, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Family style restaurant where you can sample virtually everything on the menu. Salad sampler, pasta sampler, meat sampler. GET IT ALL
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Piazza Ognissanti, 3, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
If a stay at The Westin Excelsior in Florence may not be in your budget, but the aperitivo menu may be. Stop by their posh bar and for 12 Euros get the house wine and all sorts of goodies—a cheese plate, a meat plate, flat bread, and samples of...
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Borgo Ognissanti, 93/r, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
A visit to Florence means a visit to the Medici legacy. The Uffizi Gallery, the Palazzo Pitti, the Palazzo Vecchio, and many other grand buildings are a feast for the eyes, but what about a true Medici feast? To eat as the Florentine ruling family...