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Guide to Italy

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Piazza San Michele, 30, 55100 Lucca LU, Italy
This town was amazing. On the outside, it looked like any bustling metropolis. But when you moved in towards the center, all you saw was a massive wall. This wall surrounded the older city center. This picture is of the very center of the old part...
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Viale Emilio Alemagna, 6, 20121 Milano MI, Italy
Lovers of furniture from past and present cannot leave Milan without stopping by the Triennale Design Museum. The permanent collection holds an interesting cross-section of Italian furniture and housewares, including the 1957 Superleggera...
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Piazza del Duomo, Milano MI, Italy
The historic and modern center of the city, the Piazza del Duomo (the square surrounding the cathedral's base) remains a popular meeting place, hangout and hub of Milanese life. Local vendors setup shop (selling fresh coconut in the summer, toys...
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Via Alessandro Manzoni, 31, 20121 Milano MI, Italy
The Armani Hotel Milano occupies a beautiful, box-shaped 1930s palazzo in the beating heart of Milan’s fashion district. As striking as it looks from the outside, it’s arguably even more glamorous on the inside. Every aspect of its...
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Milan, Metropolitan City of Milan, Italy
Style and design filter into day-to-day life in Milan, but Women’s Fashion Week (September 19–25) is the height of the city’s creativity. The event, staged by fashion’s biggest labels, also spurs local restaurants and galleries to show off their...
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Via della Spiga, 32, 20121 Milano MI, Italy
Home design and antique shops have elbowed their way onto Via Spiga and Via Montenapoleone, Milan's modish lanes. Nilufar sells a huge array of furniture and intricate, contemporary carpets commissioned exclusively for the store. This appeared in...
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Via Alessandro Manzoni, 29, 20121 Milano MI, Italy
A short stroll from the La Scala opera house, the Grand has a unique place in opera history. Giuseppe Verdi lived—and died—here. Enrico Caruso recorded here. Maria Callas and José Carreras stayed here. The hotel’s La Scala Experience package...
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53012 Chiusdino, Province of Siena, Italy
Chianti Classico is a beautiful region in Tuscany. Hilltop castles, building ruins dating back centuries, winding roads, rolling hills, and Sangiovese & Trebbiano vineyards as far as the eye can see in any direction. It’s the magnificence of which...
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53026 Pienza SI, Italy
One of the most charming towns we visited during our May trip to Italy was Pienza, situated in Tuscany between Montepulciano and Montalcino (also worth a visit if you're in the area). Pienza is best known for its delicious pecorino cheeses,...
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Localita' Villa La Rocca, San Gimignano, Si 53037, 53037 San Gimignano SI, Italy
San Gimingnano is an old Etruscan walled town that is famous for their white wine, Vernaccia di San Gimingnano and their town center gelateria, Gelateria di Piazza San Gimingnano. This mid-spring view over looking the Tuscan land scape is what...
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Castello di Poggio alle Mura, 53024 Montalcino SI, Italy
For nearly three centuries, workers serving the nobility at Castello Banfi in Tuscany lived in a small hamlet within the castle grounds. In 2007, however, the stone houses within their tiny village were completely renovated under the direction of...
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53037 San Gimignano, Province of Siena, Italy
One of the best things about the beautiful Tuscan hilltop town of San Gimignano - and there are many - is the wonderful street art offered for sale throughout the town. You can watch the artists at work, making the experience even more special....
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Piazza della Signoria, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Just off the main square, Piazza della Signoria, in Florence, this open air museum was beautiful in the morning as light spilled down and over the statues and general gorgeousness that is Florence. Walking through Florence was so different to...
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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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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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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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Piazza di Santa Croce, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Piazza di Santa Croce is a place for old friends, new friends, romance in the form of true love and puppy love, the old and the young. There is a bench for every type. There is a time a day, where the sun shines just right, to make Santa Croce the...
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Lungarno degli Archibusieri, 8/r, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
There are few better places from which to enjoy river views and sunsets than the Ponte Vecchio, built in 1345. Spanning the Arno's narrowest point, this is the only bridge to have survived the German bombing of the city in 1944. There have always...
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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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Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy
Near the base of the landmark Rialto Bridge, the historic Rialto Market is well worth a wander. Seek it out in the early morning when it provides an authentic local experience (and awesome social-media ops), with fishmongers hawking their fresh...
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Giudecca, 810, 30133 Venezia VE, Italy
In Venice, it's hard to get a moment alone with a loved one or even with the city herself. The crowds of tourists reaching over your shoulder to snap shaky photos of the aged Rialto can become a nuisance as you try to realize the historical...
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Campo Santa Maria del Giglio, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
Built in 1525 as the family home of Doge Andrea Gritti, this antique-stocked palazzo has rooms with mosaic floors, hand-painted furniture, and panoramic views of the Grand Canal. Murano glass chandeliers and sconces light up the hotel that Ernest...
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Sestiere San Polo, 30125 Venezia VE, Italy
The Rialto Bridge is the oldest of the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal, and without question it's one of the most iconic sights in Venice. There has been a bridge at this site since the 12th century, connecting the districts of San Marco and...
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Cannaregio, 1045, 30121 Venezia VE, Italy
Gold is their specialty....purveyours of gold smalti to kings, sheiks and popes since the 1880's. Bling takes on a whole new meaning while visiting the Orsoni Factory, on the Island of Murano, a short traghetto ride from Piazza San Marco....
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1, Viale Galileo Galilei, 30, 30173 Venezia VE, Italy
On a humid morning in August, I landed at Aeroporto Marco Polo, hired a water taxi using my fragmented Italian, and struggled to carry my three suitcases down to the airport's dock. Tired and hot, I found my water taxi and collapsed on the seats...
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Piscina S. Moise, 1459, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
An important Venetian holiday is held on the third week in July. It is the Feast of the Redentore, commemorating the end of the plague that killed fifty thousand people including Titian. The fireworks display is so extensive and significant that...
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Piazza San Marco, 328, 30100 Venezia VE, Italy
The Basilica San Marco is Venice's crown jewel. Situated at the eastern end of Piazza San Marco, the cathedral was built around 1078 on the site of an earlier house of worship. It is famously the home of the remains of the apostle Mark, which were...
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5174/B/517 Castello, Venezia, VE 30122, 30122 Venezia VE, Italy
One of the things Venice is best known for, after its gondolas and canals, is enchanting handmade masks—and mask shops abound in the city. One standout is Gottardo Stefano, where you can find any type of mask you might want: from feminine...
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Calle Briati, 8b, 30141 Venezia VE, Italy
The Abate Zanetti School of Glass has been home to masters of Murano glassblowing for 150 years, and today it provides an immersive experience into the island’s famed glass artistry. Located at the Glass Museum, a half-day program is offered...
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Calle Lion, 3383, 30121 Venezia VE, Italy
We spent the day walking around Venice and getting lost in its wonderful maze of streets. The end of the day found us facing this large church as the cat-in-the-cradle moon hung low in the sky. Randy went onto the bridge for a better view and...
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Via Claudia, 15, 00184 Roma RM, Italy
Caffe Propaganda is just a short 3-4 minute walk from the Colosseum; but instead of being another tourist spot, it's a spot for locals and has some of the best hand-crafted cocktails in Rome. In the direction opposite from the hub-bub on the quiet...
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Via degli Orti di Trastevere, 3, 00153 Roma RM, Italy
When in Rome, they say, do as the Romans do. So that's why I made my priority in Rome to EAT. To eat gourmet cheeses, drink fine wines, plenty of pasta and of course gelato. But Rome is a big city so finding the best places to eat on my short trip...
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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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Via Giulia, 62, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
Left unfinished by Donato Bramante (chief architect of St. Peter’s Basilica), the 16th-century Palace of the Courthouses has been converted into the contemporary St. George Roma Hotel. At the in-house spa, relax the way the ancients did, in a...
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Via Alberto Cadlolo, 101, 00136 Roma RM, Italy
by Jocelyn C. Zuckerman The art collection of Angelo Guido Terruzzi, owner of the Rome Cavalieri, has been valued at $700 million; the Old Masters in the hotel’s public spaces alone suggest that figure may be an underestimate. Stunners range from...
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Piazza della Rotonda, 73, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
There are a lot of good hotels in Rome. And there are a lot of bad ones. So finding the right one is a treasure. This one is. Albergo del Senato. Right smack dab in front of the Pantheon and the perfect Piazza della Rotonda. Hard to find a better...
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The largest church by area in the world, the St Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Italy. Remember the themes from the movie "Angels and Demons"? One thing I want to point out is when you visit there, the line to get in is usually long (don't be...
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Via Labicana, 95, 00184 Roma RM, Italy
In 1857, the prior of the Basilica di San Clemente thought there might be something underneath his 12th-century church, already renowned for its relics and striking mosaic of the Crucifixion. When he excavated, he found not only the original,...
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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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Viale della Marina, 40-42, 00122 Lido di Ostia RM, Italy
According to legend, Rome’s first orange tree—St. Dominic’s gift to the pope—was planted in Giardino degli Aranci (Garden of the Oranges) in the 13th century. The secluded park provides a panoramic view of the city, from...
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Via Guido Reni, 4/a, 00196 Roma RM, Italy
Maxxi, Rome’s first major contemporary art museum, cost 150 million and took renowned architect Zaha Hadid 10 years to complete. The result—a vast, bold space with exhibits on architecture and art—proves that modern Rome can produce masterpieces,...
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Piazza di Trevi, 00187 Roma RM, Italy
Fontana di Trevi is, as it should be, one of the most visited landmarks in Rome. Seeing it is worth the blind stumble through narrow stone streets and alleyways. But do so at night (and in the rain, if possible) to be rewarded with...