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Italy 2015

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The Ponte dell'Accademia is one of four bridges that span the Grand Canal, and will get you quickly from San Marco to the labyrinthine Dorsoduro neighborhood. Originally built in 1854 out of steel, the current wooden bridge was built in the 1930s...
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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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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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Piazza di San Giovanni, 19/R, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
One of the mythological places in Florence is Scudieri cafe in Piazza di San Giovanni. Long marble bar and a lot of people around it having their espresso or cold cream coffee. Highly recommended! Their selection is great.
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Via Chiaia, 1/2, 80132 Napoli NA, Italy
The most famous café in town, this historic spot oozes period charm and maintains much of its original Belle Epoque decor. The main bar is for stand-up coffees and aperitivi, but there are several cozy salons for a sit-down treat. The terrace is a...
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Centro Direzionale Isola E7, 80143 Napoli NA, Italy
As someone who is always looking for a chocolate stores while traveling to different places, I was thrilled to find Gay Odin. I’ve been eating good chocolates in different places in the world but Gay Odin is by far, the BEST chocolate I’ve ever...
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Trastevere is one of the most romantic neighborhoods in Rome, located on the west bank of the Tiber river. There are so many picture-like and hidden alleys in this neighborhood, leading to beautiful piazzas. This is one of the oldest areas of Rome...
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River Tiber, Italy
Nothing more romantic than sailing along the Tiber river while exploring some of Rome beautiful highlights and neighborhoods. In recent years, Rome invested money to clean the Tiber river and make it available for safe and clean sailing. It's not...
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Piazza Santo Spirito, 9, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
Once home to the Medici princes, Palazzo Pitti is now our portal to Renaissance Florence. It is divided into six sections and, after three visits, I still cannot choose a favorite. The left wing is comprised of the Royal Apartments—a section that...
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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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Piazza Pitti, 1, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
You will likely see Bronzino's famous portrait of Eleonora (or Eleanor) de Toledo, in the Uffizi, during your visit to Florence. The Spanish noblewoman who became the duchess of Florence in 1539 when she married Cosimo I de' Medici was unusual for...
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Riva degli Schiavoni, 30100 Venezia VE, Italy
This might be one of the more crowded areas in Venice. The Riva degli Schiavoni waterfront monument is located in the Castello district of the city, right along the Bacino di San Marco and the narrow bridge over the Rio di Palazzo della Paglia....
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Piazza Galvani, 5, 40124 Bologna BO, Italy
The main church of Bologna, San Petronio Basilica dominates the main plaza. Construction on the church began in the 14th century and was dedicated to a 5th century Bolognese saint. One of the most fascinating parts of the church is the elaborate...
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84010 Scala, Province of Salerno, Italy
Picture a historic village perched high above the sparkling Mediterranean, surrounded by lush mountains and stony cliffs. A charming, three hundred year old country home is nestled among the trees and warm breezes carry the tantalizing aromas of...
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Via Cristoforo Colombo, 45, 80133 Napoli NA, Italy
Once the bayside palazzo of a shipping magnate, the recently restored Romeo juxtaposes antique and modern art in a world-class collection. Fabrics, serving pieces, and porcelain by Hermes, Andree Putman, and J.L. Coquet complement the Kenzo Tange–...
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Via Cristoforo Colombo, 141, 84017 Positano SA, Italy
After discovering a scene from one of my favorite movies "Under the Tuscan Sun" had been filmed on a balcony at Hotel California Positano (the particular room is now named after the film), and being that I’m from California, I felt I was meant to...
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84017 Positano, Province of Salerno, Italy
A friend and I were walking down the road, lugging our suitcases and looking for our hotel when I glanced up and saw this view. It was one of those moments when I realized how insanely beautiful the Amalfi Coast is, especially in peak summer. The...
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Via della Costa, 1, 37121 Verona VR, Italy
View from the highest building in Verona. You can walk or take the elevator for beautiful views of the red tile roofs of Verona. You can see the tower from all over the city but the real attraction is what you see from the tower. Entrance is just...
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Piazza San Zeno, 2, 37123 Verona VR, Italy
Beautiful cloisters and interesting crypt make this a special place in the lovely small city of Verona.
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Vicolo del Bottino, 8, 00187 Roma RM, Italy
I love to go to this restaurant and wine bar for a glass of prosecco and to enjoy the unique view out over the Spanish Steps and the rest of Rome as the sun sets. 39/06-699-341000. By Pepi Marchetti Franchi, as told to Elizabeth Minchilli. This...
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67038 Scanno, Province of L'Aquila, Italy
Scanno is one of the most magical villages of my travels. Perched high in the mountains of Abruzzo, the streets quietly hum with the daily life of the local people and there are surprises around each corner. We found a gorgeous b&b (La Dimora di...
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70044 Polignano a Mare, Metropolitan City of Bari, Italy
If narrow winding streets, lethargic cafes, and warm salt air rumble through your dreams, than Polignano should be in your plans. This seaside town on Italy's southern Adriatic shores is remarkable in every sense. Perhaps its best feature is that...
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Riomaggiore SP, Italy
Hiking the Cinque Terre is an extraordinary way to explore the Ligurian Coast. Five villages connected only by hiking trail and rail with breathtaking coastal views and colorfully quaint villages. The trails can be challenging at times and it is...
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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 Subida, 52, 34071 Cormons GO, Italy
Modern bi-level wooden lofts nestle between vineyards and oak trees at La Subida, a small country inn run by vinegar maker Joško Sirk and his family. A Michelin-star restaurant serves gnocchi with plums, cherry strudel, and the famed Gravner...
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Vocabolo Cascata, 05100 Marmore TR, Italy
When near Terni, stop by this man made waterfall created by the ancient Romans. The controlled water flow is used to power the surrounding area so best to arrive in the early morning when the falls are at their most powerful.
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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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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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19018 Vernazza, SP, Italy
If you find yourself on the Mediterranean Sea or in Italy then be sure you make your way to Cinque Terre. Cinque Terre, or "The Five Lands" (in Italian), is composed of five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and...
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Località Torre di Montefalco, 06036 Montefalco PG, Italy
While I visited more than my fair share of wineries on my Umbrian tour of the Strada de Sagrantino, Cantina Arnaldo Caprai was by far the winery with the widest variety of wines and vintages--clearly one of the advantages of being one of the...
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06036 Montefalco, Province of Perugia, Italy
Known as the balcony of Umbria because of it's location on top of a hill--Montefalco (much like a balcony) is an ideal place to take in sweeping views of the surrounding area, and get a grip on what Umbria looks like from a distance. The hill-top...
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Piazza Inferiore di S. Francesco, 2, 06081 Assisi PG, Italy
The Basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi is the Catholic mother church of the Franciscan Order and is an important Christian pilgrimage site. Partially destroyed in the 1997 earthquake the restoration is complete. After visiting the Giotto and...
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06031 Bevagna, Province of Perugia, Italy
Wander the cobblestone streets of this medieval Italian city and tour the workshops of traditional craftspeople like paper-makers, candle-makers and weavers. Hand-dipped candles, as well as artisan-quality paper and fabrics make great gifts and...
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Località Casale, 1, 06036 Montefalco PG, Italy
Amazing wineries boasting flavorful Sagrantino wines abound in Umbria, but Perticaia was one of my favorites for the beautiful scenery and top notch wine made from hand-harvested grapes. Owner Guido Gauardigli was a great guide. Arrange a tour...
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Perugia, Province of Perugia, Italy
I loved exploring the winding cobblestone streets of Perugia. This charming town is positioned on a hill filled with historic buildings, lively squares, and wonderful cafes. It was a great place for people watching and photography.
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Piazza Chiesa Nuova, 6, 06081 Assisi PG, Italy
Wander the streets of Assisi after visiting the primary sights and grab an Italian pastry or gelato. Many bakeries near the main sights so take a break and enjoy some sugary goodness!
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Macerata, Province of Macerata, Italy
When in Umbria's large national park, take a donkey ride to help ease the stress of a long hike. Not only will you be able to observe endangered wildlife like birds and wolves in comfort, but you'll feel like you're the only person on the planet...
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Via Garibaldi, 48, 06089 Torgiano PG, Italy
Le Tre Vaselle in Torgiano is restored 17th residence---the rooms are outfitted with traditional furniture and both the room I stayed in, and a second room the staff were kind enough to show me were spacious--bigger than many of the apartments...
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06089 Torgiano, Province of Perugia, Italy
Torgiano is a quiet place, ideal for strolling city streets without the worry of crowds of tourists or the vendors that follow them. While you're there, check out sites like the 13th century Torre di Guardia, San Bartolomeo church, and my personal...
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Piazza della Trinità dei Monti, 2, 00187 Roma RM, Italy
Ciampini has all the required three Ps (that's a thing, right?): People-watching, prime piazza location, and perfect cappuccini to make it the most coveted caffè bar in Rome. From 8 a.m. to after dark, Rome's best-dressed flock to Piazza...
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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 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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Via Cesare Sersale, 1, 80139 Napoli NA, Italy
A Naples legend well before Julia Roberts (in Eat, Pray, Love) gave it celebrity sheen, Da Michele was opened by the Condurro family in 1930. The only pizzas are marinara and margherita, and they are pure classics. 39/081-553-9204. Read Tom...
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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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ABC, Fondamenta Toletta, 1169, 30123 Venezia VE, Italy
Osteria Enoteca ai Artisti in Venice served the best pasta I have ever tasted. Once wasn't enough—I had to go back to this place again during my stay in Venice. The osteria boasts a great view, great atmosphere, great people, and most importantly,...
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Vicolo delle Bollette, 13, 00187 Roma RM, Italy
Here is one of Rome’s best restaurants: Al Moro is very traditional and is well known for the quality of its seasonal ingredients, including porcini mushrooms, wild strawberries, artichokes, and asparagus. 39/06-678-3495. By Pepi Marchetti...
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Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy
Every Saturday and Sunday on Via S. Teodoro, tucked just off Circus Maximus, Rome's best farmer's market takes place. It's run by Campagna Amica, an Italy-wide organization that promotes local, sustainable agriculture—so all of the products sold...
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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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Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy
Dominican friars mixed medicines at the original workshop in Florence starting in 1612. The Venice branch is also a traditional apothecary, selling herbal elixirs. Most shoppers, however, come here to buy modern perfumes and gaze at the antique...
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Campo San Giacometto, 122, 30125 Rialto, Venezia VE, Italy

At the foot of the Rialto Bridge with fantastic views of the Grand Canal, Osteria Bancogiro sits under the archway of the Bancogiro (a bank founded in 1600) from which the tavern gets its name. Here, you'll find a ground-floor wine bar serving...

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Piazza del Mercato Centrale, 6, 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 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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Via Mauro Comite, 9, 84011 Amalfi SA, Italy
Built into rocky green cliffs that tumble down to the sea, the Hotel Santa Caterina is the embodiment of Amalfi Coast dreams. Bright bougainvillea blooms adorn corners of the 19th-century mansion, while lush terraced gardens teem with citrus...