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Italy

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The Milan Cathedral, or Duomo, occupies a site that’s been holy since the time of the Romans, but it wasn’t until the early 19th century when the finishing touches were finally placed on this massive building. The Duomo is the fifth largest...
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Piazza del Duomo, 20121 Milano MI, Italy
Visiting the home goods shop on the lower level of the department store La Rinascente is like going to a friend’s dinner party and wishing you could copy her fabulous taste. More than 100 international designers, including Driade (pictured), are...
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Via S. Gregorio, 17, 20124 Milano MI, Italy
The aptly named Gelato Giusto (meaning gelato done right) is an ice cream must. Former pastry chef Vittoria Bortolazzo makes delicious gelato every day from regional, organic fruit, high quality milk, and lots of love. Flavor selection is only a...
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Via Montenapoleone, 8, 20121 Milano MI, Italy
Caffè Cova, Milan's old world pastry shop and original fashion caffe. Its pastries are perfect and more than delicious, but what takes the proverbial cake is the aperitivo and its presentation. Black tie serves cater drinks like Negroni sbagliati...
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Via Giovanni Boccaccio, 9, 20123 Milano MI, Italy
As a connoisseur of all things sweet, I was drawn to Shockolat's cioccolata calda or hot chocolate a mere three hours after arriving in Milan. Rich, creamy, and thick, it is hands down the best hot chocolate I have ever had. In fact, it is so...
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Via Santa Maria alla Porta, 11/a, 20123 Milano MI, Italy
For a coffee and pastry shop, Pasticceria Marchesi has an unexpected historic elegance. Since the 1800s, they've stuck with a formula that works—classic cookies, jars of sweets, and strong coffee in a gorgeous setting. I came for a cappuccino and...
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Piazza di Santa Maria delle Grazie, 20123 Milano MI, Italy
At a nondescript church in an unlikely neighborhood in Milan rests one of the greatest works of art ever created, The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci. The 15th century mural was part of a renovation project at the Convent of Santa Maria della...
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Corso Magenta, 15, 20123 Milano MI, Italy
Sometimes called "Milan's Sistine Chapel" because of its profusely--and beautifully-- decorated walls and ceilings, San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore is well worth a visit. The Renaissance paintings commissioned by the Sforza family (the primary...
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Via Vincenzo Civerchio, 9, 20159 Milano MI, Italy
Swordfish, tuna, mussels, lobster, shrimp, octopus, lobster. This small fish tavern has the great advantage of offering very good seafood at really low prices. It is located in the Isola neighborhood, an old neighborhood in the center, now...
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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 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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53100 Siena, Province of Siena, Italy
One of the best bakeries in all of Italy has to be the Pasticceria Nannini (http://www.grupponannini.it/default.aspx), located in the gorgeous Tuscan hill town of Siena. Probably Siena's most well-known bakery and cafe, Pasticceria Nannini offers...
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Piazza Nazario Sauro, 25/r, 50124 Firenze FI, Italy
My search for the world's best ice cream took me to Italy, then to Florence, then to a gelateria called La Carraia, in the neighborhood of Santa Trinita across the river. There, I found a blissful, creamy mix of pistachio and chocolate, the same...
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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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Via dell'Orso, 4, 20121 Milano MI, Italy
Il Refettorio Simplicitas is my favorite place to eat when I visit Milan. The executive chef, Giovanni Ruggieri, uses simple, fresh, and local ingredients to consistently turn out powerful flavors you never knew you always wanted to taste. Echoing...