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Europe 2014

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Venice is one of the most romantic cities in Italy, and some might even consider it to be the most romantic city in the world. There are only four bridges that cross the Grand Canal in Venice, and Ponte dell'Accademia is one of them. Since the...
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Riva degli Schiavoni, 30100 Venezia VE, Italy
As a local of İstanbul, I always feel that cities neighboring to a sea have a very different, sad - melancholic even - charm that comes with winter time. With the cold weather pushing stronger and stronger into the daily life, no one is interested...
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Campo San Giacometto, Ponte di Rialto, 122, 30125 Venezia VE, Italy
At the ground-floor wine bar, take in the view of the Grand Canal while enjoying such cicchetti as salumi and cheese. In the upstairs dining room, choose from a menu that features intriguing dishes, including cocoa fusilli with boar ragu. Campo...
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Piazza San Marco, 1, 30122 Venezia VE, Italy
As it's one of the most popular sights in Venice, you may have to wait for the perfect spot to view the Bridge of Sighs, but it's so beautiful that it's worth the effort. Part of the Doge's palace, the bridge leads to the prison, and it was said...
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Campo Santa Sofia, 4198/99, 30121 Venezia VE, Italy
An ornate 15th-century private palazzo has been transformed into a lavish hotel (below) that faces the Rialto market. Artworks from the 1600s meet 21st-century amenities in the 42 rooms and suites, many of which overlook the Grand Canal. Doubles...
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Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy
Most tourists get to Venice's famous Rialto Bridge, but how many cross to the right bank of the Grand Canal to experience the Erberia (vegetable market) and the Pescheria (fish market)? Elbowing my way through the crowds on the Rialto was worth...
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Piazza San Marco, 328, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
When planning a May trip to Italy with my husband, magical Venice was one of the cities I knew I wanted to visit. I was really looking forward to seeing all the things typically associated with Venice: gondolas, the Grand Canal, St. Mark's Square,...
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Dorsoduro, 701-704, 30123 Venezia VE, Italy
Venice at pretty much any angle is a perfect shot. This photo was taken on the dock of the Guggenheim museum in Venice. The museum has one of the best collections of Surrealist art that I've seen.
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Piazza San Marco, 57, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
During the day, the Piazza San Marco in Venice is an overwhelming flurry of activity, but once the sun sets, you'd be surprised at just how much a sense of ease and languor settles in. Life simply slows down as the crowds depart. Stop by...
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Fondamenta Vin Castello, 30125 Venezia VE, Italy
Two things you need to know about gondola rides in Venice: They're worth it; and the price is agreed beforehand. Knowing those two things, you can happily hop aboard this traditional Venetian mode of transport and relax, because, touristy as it...
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Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy
Venice is extremely well supplied with bars selling the delicious local wine. But I'm more of a spirit girl, and limoncello does nothing for me. So, I was extremely happy to stumble upon this superb little bar in San Polo. It boasted a fantastic...
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Piazza San Marco, 1, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
A must-see in Venice is the Doge's Palace in Piazza San Marco. The palace dates from the 14th century, and was the residence of the Doges of Venice. On view is the splendor of high Venetian style—Byzantine and Moorish architectural...
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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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68r, Via dei Servi, 66, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Florence - home to the Italian Renaissance. It is so amazing to walk the streets and imagine all those who have walked there before you...Dante, Michelangelo, da Vinci, Boticelli, Ghirlandaio, Galileo and many more. You almost start taking for...
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Piazza del Duomo, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
While in Florence this May, my husband and I decided not to walk to the top of the dome of the Duomo but, instead, to make the climb to the top of the tower next to the Duomo to get a great view of the dome itself. I shot this from the stairwell...
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Lungarno degli Archibusieri, 8, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

On the Ponte Vecchio with two of my bother and our close friend.

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Florence, Metropolitan City of Florence, Italy

I saw this exquisite chalk drawing of Leonardo da Vinci's Lady With An Ermine on the ground in one of the main plazas in Firenze. It started drizzling and I just had to take this photo before the rain washed it away!

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6 Lungarno Corsini, 50123 Florence FI, Italy
Escaping the crowds around Florence Cathedral one afternoon, I decided to wander along the Arno River and was rewarded with stunning views from the water's reflection. The picture highlights not only the clear, nearly symmetrical reflection cast...
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Get up early to avoid the crowds and catch some beautiful, soft light while experiencing a quiet Florence devoid of its midday chaos.
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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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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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Watching the sun set from one of the bridges that span the Arno in Florence seems to be a popular ritual with both tourists and Florentines. But it's the Ponte San Trinita that seems the bridge that attracts most.
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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 Senese, 89/R, 50124 Firenze FI, Italy
Family-run Ruggero is a bit of a hike from the centre of town, but in my mind, it is the best traditional trattoria in Florence, so worth the effort. You can expect textbook versions of Florentine classics from ribollita (a hearty...
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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 Palchetti, 6R, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
One of the most fun places I dined at in Italy was Il Latini, in Florence. It's in a large, maze-like building with aged prosciutto hanging from the ceilings, and art collaged upon the walls. Seating is at communal tables, and at times it felt...
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Via Rosina, 2r, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
From the outside, it may look like a tourist trap. The windows are covered in travel stickers and magazine reviews. But if the walls at Trattoria Mario could talk they would say one thing: here is the food. There's no hype here, just a solid,...
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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 del Carmine, 18, 50124 Firenze FI, Italy
A dependable neighbourhood trattoria with a loyal local following and a daily-changing list of seasonal specialities, Carmine is a regular haunt of mine. It serves one of the best beef carpaccios in town (topped with arugula and parmesan...
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Piazza di San Lorenzo, 8, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
Hidden away behind the stalls in the San Lorenzo market, Da Sergio turns out wholesome, unpretentious food to locals and tourists. Last time I was here I ordered tortelli di patate (potato-stuffed ravioli) with meat sauce and deep-fried calamari...
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Via dell'Ariento, 16r, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
If you are in the San Lorenzo market area around lunchtime, this little enoteca (wine bar) with its old-fashioned, wood-paneled interior is a good place to stop off for a glass of wine and a sandwich or crostino. It’s usually standing room only,...
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Via del Monte alle Croci, 10, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
There are around 600 wines from all over Italy (and 50 by the glass) to choose from at this wood-panelled wine bar which has a pretty terrace overlooking the old city gate of San Miniato in the buzzy San Niccolò neighbourhood. Lunchtimes are good...
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Piazza dei Rossi, 1R, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
Tucked away in a tiny piazzetta just off the main Ponte Vecchio–Palazzo Pitti tourist drag, this bright, modern squeeze of a wine bar specializes in wines by small, lesser-known producers from all over Italy. Tempting snacks include fabulous...
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Piazza della Signoria, 31, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
The aristocratic Frescobaldi family is one of Florence’s foremost wine-producing dynasties and at their relaxed, modern wine bar just off Piazza della Signoria, you can sample all the house wines and choose from a menu of cheeses, cold cuts and...
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Via dei Neri, 76R, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Fresh as you can get and a great price. The baker was bringing in steaming loaves of oven-fresh bread from the bakery down the street while we were standing in line!! Prosciutto on focaccia with warm Parmesan spread and arugula was delicious....
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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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53100 Siena, Province of Siena, Italy
Each spring as a child, I looked forward to the annual Derby Day party in our family backyard when my parents’ friends donned odd hats and downed mint julips. Somehow, I thought Il Palio was going to bring back childhood memories, but the Kentucky...
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Str. di Certosa, 82/86, 53100 Siena SI, Italy
There is an intimate hotel in the hills of Tuscany near Siena called Certosa di Maggiano. It is pure magic. Tranquil and filled with old Italian charm, this is a place to go and chill out. Strada di Certosa 82/86, 39/0577-28-81-80. Rene Redzepi...
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Via S. Pietro, 29, 53100 Siena SI, Italy
A unique privilege to us, men and women of the 21st century: to walk across centuries of art history of a local school of painting, that of the Sienese, simply moving from one room to the another. This is what I think each time I visit the...
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Via del Porrione, 33, 53100 Siena SI, Italy
One of the best places to eat in Siena lies a few minutes’ walk from historic Piazza del Campo and inhabits an atmospheric room lined with old glass and wood cabinets full of books and wine bottles. It may be informal, but the gourmet food is top...
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53100 Siena, Province of Siena, Italy
One of the best bakeries in all of Italy has to be the Pasticceria Nannini (http://www.grupponannini.it/default.aspx), located in the gorgeous Tuscan hill town of Siena. Probably Siena's most well-known bakery and cafe, Pasticceria Nannini offers...
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Via Camollia, 69, 53100 Siena SI, Italy
Try and catch the weekly market in Siena which is open every Wednesday from early in the morning till around 1.30 p.m. Lots of stands which sell all you can imagine and very cheap: clothes, shoes, bags, crafts, furnishings, linen, trinkets,...
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Piazza del Duomo, 1, 53100 Siena SI, Italy
Founded in the 9th century, Santa Maria della Scala was one of Europe’s first hospitals. It was also one of the first hospitals anywhere to disinfect its equipment and only stopped taking in patients in the 1980s. (The writer Italo Calvino died...
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Il Campo, 53100 Siena SI, Italy
Time to catch an afternoon nap siesta in the square