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Kelsi Shannon’s Italy

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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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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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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
St Mark's Basilica in Venice is one of my favourite buildings in Europe because it balances decadence with delicateness without being overbearing. St Peter's in Rome, for example, I thought was too much and not particularly beautiful. St Mark's on...
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Fondamenta Vin Castello, 30125 Venezia VE, Italy
Two things you need to know about gondola rides in Venice: 1 - They're worth it. 2 - The price is agreed beforehand, and is standard. Knowing those two things, you can happily hop aboard this traditional Venetian mode of transport and relax,...
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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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Fondamenta Nani, 992, 30123 Dorsoduro, Venezia VE, Italy
If you are in Venice, you will surely get familiar with local 'Spritz' (a fizzy, refreshing aperitif) and cicchetti, or small snacks. If you want to have a local experience, be sure not to miss Cantine del Vino Già Schiavi while walking around La...
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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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Via B. Gamba, 6, 36061 Bassano del Grappa VI, Italy
Bassano del Grappa is the home of the famous liquor, a brandy made of the remains of the wine-making process. The Poli grappa is known for its golden color that, unlike the honey-infused varieties, comes from the oak barrels in which the drink is...
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Murano, 30141 Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy
Famous for its long history of handblown glassmaking, Murano sits just a few minutes' ferry ride offshore in the Venetian Lagoon. The main attraction is the Glass Museum (Museo del Vetro), which recounts the history of glass through the centuries,...
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Calle Chibecchi, 521, 30142 Venezia VE, Italy
This tiny Venetian bacaro (bar) is so popular that many of its patrons don’t even make it inside. Instead, they cluster around the entrance drinking wine. Sample cicchetti (bar snacks) that the locals come for, especially the meatballs. Calle del...
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Via Ricasoli, 58/60, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Most people head to this ex-art school to ogle the world’s most famous nude statue. Michelangelo’s David was carved from a single five-meter-high block of milky-white marble in 1504 and originally stood in Piazza della Signoria....
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Via del Monte alle Croci, 10, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
There are around 600 wines from all over Italy (and 50 by the glass) to choose from at this wood-panelled wine bar which has a pretty terrace overlooking the old city gate of San Miniato in the buzzy San Niccolò neighbourhood. Lunchtimes are good...