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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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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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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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Via Borgognona, 11, 00187 Roma RM, Italy
I often take out-of-town guests here for lunch because it feels—and is—so authentic. Whenever I go in, I have ‘my’ table, as do all the other Roman regulars. One of the restaurant’s specialties is the Francovich soup, which is a delicious Tuscan...
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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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Piazza San Marco, 1, 30100 Venezia VE, Italy
The Ponte dei Sospiri was given its English name by part-time Venice resident Lord Byron, who wrote in Childe Harold's Pilgrimage: "I stood in Venice on a Bridge of Sighs, a palace and a prison on each hand." Byron's travelogue nails it: When you...
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Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Ideally you'd have a whole day to appreciate the world’s foremost collection of Renaissance paintings, housed in the 16th-century headquarters of the Medici court. But for those with less time, highlights include the three great...
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Piazza Trento, 5, 00019 Tivoli RM, Italy
When Cardinal Ippolito d'Este narrowly lost the Papal election, he assuaged his frustrations by embellishing a spectacular villa in Tivoli, a village in the hills east of Rome. The villa itself was brilliantly outfitted in 16th century frescoes,...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Dorsoduro, 701-704, 30123 Venezia VE, Italy
There's plenty of art in Venice, from the churches to the Scuoli to the Accademia. But when you just can't look at another Caravaggio, and even Titian hair doesn't move you any more, refresh yourself with a visit to Peggy's house. The renowned...
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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, 30100 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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Piazza San Marco, 1, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
This pink-marble waterfront edifice in Piazza San Marco dates back to the 14th century, when it was the residence and seat of government for the doges (rulers) of Venice. Today the ornate Byzantine- and Moorish-influenced Gothic Palazzo Ducale is...
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Piazza Campo de' Fiori, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
Like all outdoor markets in Rome, Campo de' Fiori is a bustling social center where locals push past throngs of tourists to complete their errands. Every morning you can find nonni shopping for produce with their grandchildren, feisty butchers...
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The Gallerie dell'Accademia is the place to see Venice through the eyes of centuries of famous Venetians. The museum has a huge collection of paintings from the Byzantine and Gothic eras through the Renaissance and into the 18th century (including...
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Calle degli Albanesi, 4250, 30122 Venezia VE, Italy
It's like the Venetians knew we'd end up lost and hungry. This mosaic placard (a tradition that dates to the Roman period) pointed us in the direction, and we wound up at a restaurant—Taverna dei Dogi, which has a relaxed atmosphere, and...