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Florence et Venise

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Via de' Bardi, 17, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
The centuries old art of Florentine bookbinding and papermaking is kept beautifully alive here by the charming owner--Erin Ciulla, who came from Canada to Florence to study the craft and stayed on. Since part of the tiny store is her workshop, I...
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Borgo la Croce, 44/r, 50121 Firenze FI, Italy
For fabulous room fragrances, head for the Antica Officina del Farmacista where Dr. Paolo Vranjes works his magic producing perfume essences inspired by Florence’s long, rich history.
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50125, Sdrucciolo de' Pitti, 13/red, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
In Florence's Oltrarno neighborhood, an area known for its craftsmanship, this modern store stands out. Run by a couple, the store is full of fabric and paper goods. There are books covered in silk screen designs, and elegant prints on bags made...
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Via S. Giuseppe, 5R, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Tucked behind the Basilica di Santa Croce in Florence is Scuola del Cuoio—the school of leather. To get into the school, one must go through the church's side door, walk under the church's tunnels, and climb up a nondescript set of stairs. There,...
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Via de' Guicciardini, 1/red, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
The only glove shop in the city to produce its stock on site, Madova’s exquisitely-crafted ‘guanti’ are made in a factory just behind the shop. There is a huge range of colours and styles range from simple, un-lined styles, silk or cashmere-lined...
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Via Guelfa, 5, 50129 Firenze FI, Italy
The colors! The traditional art of Italian ceramics is celebrated in this shop, conveniently located, close to the Mercato Centrale. It's a joy to browse amidst the vibrant, hand painted goodies, that are reasonably priced. It's perfect for...
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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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Borgo S. Jacopo, 12, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
The scents that go into Ortigia’s gorgeous bath and beauty products are inspired by Sicilian plants (orange blossom, Sicilian lime, pomegranate, almond) and evoke the essence of this exotic, southern Mediterranean island. Beautifully presented in...
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Via della Spada, 34r, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
It all started with the bottle of organic argan oil that Antje d’Almeida, the owner of Mio, bought on a trip to Morocco. The silky, scent-free oil was too good not to share, so she opened a shop and started selling...
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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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The Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella (to give its full name) is now a global brand, but this is where it all began, in a frescoed, 13th-century chapel in Florence. The place is as stunning as the products that are still made...
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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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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 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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Piazzale Michelangelo, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
One of the best views of Florence can be savored from the Piazzale Michelangelo, a short walk across the Arno River from downtown Florence. For a fun afternoon head to the square and enjoy an enchanting panorama of the city, followed by a relaxing...
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Piazzale Michelangelo, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
Florence in the morning is magical. The incredible view from Piazzale Michelangiolo was like looking across a kingdom from a fairytale. This was taken in mid-January in the middle of winter, so despite the city looking like it is basking in warm...
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68r, Via dei Servi, 66, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Even with all the noted thinkers, artists, politicians, and powerful families who’ve called Florence home, Leonardo da Vinci is arguably the city’s most famous son. This homage focuses less on his artwork and more on Da Vinci’s forward-thinking...
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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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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...