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Europe 2015 (Mom's 60th)

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Piazza del Duomo, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
The cathedral, usually called the Duomo, is Florence’s most recognizable building. You are able to catch glimpses of its magnificent red-tiled cupola from just about anywhere in the city center. Construction on the church...
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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 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 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 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 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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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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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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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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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...