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Our Ideal Trip to Italy

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There is just something about Italy. Whether it is the delicious food and wine you find in the tiniest cafés to the grandest restaurants or the ability to sink into the history via the magnificent art and architecture, Italy awaits you. The Italian lifestyle of 'joie de vivre' (or the Italian version of that!) beckons you to return again and again. Or maybe it is just the gelato.
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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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Via delle Belle Arti, 17/A, 40126 Bologna BO, Italy
Bologna is well known for its culinary expertise, and one of the best restaurants in town to taste authentic Bolognese cuisine is at the Trattoria Anna Maria. This little restaurant serves only the best food from the Emilia-Romagna region of...
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00060 Mazzano Romano, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy
The government said the cliffs of Calcata, a medieval hill town 30 miles north of Rome, where crumbling and the residents would have to abandon the village for a new one a half mile away. They were right. Sort of. There was a government policy,...
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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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Lake Maggiore
Lake Maggiore, the second largest Italian lake after Lake Garda, holds the three jewel-like Borromean Islands, Isola Bella, Isola Madre, and the quaint and picturesque, Isola dei Pescatori.
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52031 Anghiari AR, Italy
If you find yourself with a car in eastern Tuscany, the town of Anghiari is worth a visit. Located between the Arno and the Tiber Rivers, Anghiari is a bustling medieval town with a panoramic view of the green valley below. Anghiari's thirteenth...
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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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Borgo S. Frediano, 167R, 50124 Firenze FI, Italy
IO Osteria Personale is a small, elegant, and innovative restaurant in Florence. It's a foodie's delight, with an à la carte menu of meat, seafood, and vegetarian dishes, but no pasta! You can choose three or five dishes plus dessert to create...
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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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53017 Radda in Chianti, Province of Siena, Italy
Not sure how La Petraia remains a secret. Set in the hills and surrounded by cypress trees, this property offers all possible Tuscan delights. Everything, from honey to wine, that Chef Susan Grant prepares, from the honey to the wine, is produced...
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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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Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy
I had been skeptical of the Venetian gondola ride, thinking it too touristy and overpriced. Last summer, however, I discovered what is so special about this Venetian tradition. A gondola ride provides a unique view of Venice from the quiet...
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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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53045 Montepulciano, Province of Siena, Italy
Montepulciano is a charming hill town in Tuscany. Walk the streets to get a feel for its appeal. On the outskirts of town visit San Biagio, a 16th-century church. This late-Renaissance building was constructed on the site of a pre-existing...
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Via Stella, 22, 41121 Modena MO, Italy
In the region of Emilia-Romagna, eat at Massimo Bottura’s three-Michelin-star Osteria Francescana. From there, take a day trip to Massimo Spigaroli’s farm estate, Antica Corte Pallavicina; visit his charcuterie, and buy some culatello [a prized...
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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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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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53037 San Gimignano, Province of Siena, Italy
Just outside the beautiful medieval Tuscan hill town of San Gimignano, my favorite in all of Tuscany, we came across these colorful water towers on an abandoned farm next to the road. Of course I had to stop for a photo. The bright red, yellow,...
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53100 Siena, Province of Siena, Italy
It was a late summer night in Siena, and I happened to discover that the iron gate by the side of Basilica of San Domenico, which was firmly closed during the day time, was slightly open. I stepped inside and it led me to a Tuscan night view of my...
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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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del Borghetto, Strada Comunale, 53026 Pienza SI, Italy
For two weeks, I volunteered as a WWOOFer at Podere Il Casale where after a day in the gardens, milking goats, or serving cheese tastings to tourists, we all gathered for a staff meal. We ate simple, delicious food like chestnut linguini with...
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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 Mangiavacchi, 37, 53026 Piennza SI, Italy
One of the most delicious towns in Tuscany - and most beautiful - is the charming Pienza. Situated between Montepulciano and Montalcino in the scenic Val d'Orcia, centuries-old Pienza is best known for its rich pecorino cheeses. Many feel that the...
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Via A. Rollando, 122, 19017 Manarola SP, Italy
Cinque Terre is a popular destination in Italy for a reason. Unfortunately, this can often lead to overpriced, under-quality restaurants. Trattoria dal Billy is an exception. Here you can enjoy fresh fish carpaccio, handmade pasta (with regional...
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Via Renato Birolli, 114, 19017 Manarola SP, Italy
Like so many touristy places, we found the food in Cinque Terre restaurants to be so-so, with one exception: the focaccia - and pizza! - from La Cambusa in Manarola. After sitting down with our selections, several locals came in to pick up their...
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Via Fieschi, 115, 19018 Corniglia SP, Italy
While hiking the Cinque Terre, it's imperative to hydrate. And everyone knows that in Italy, you hydrate best with vino, right? Right. Upon reaching the top of the 365 stairs from the train station to the top of town, I stopped into Enoteca Pirun....
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Southern Europe
You arrive at this perfect place and time stands still. Visiting the Amalfi Coast in the Fall is spectacular. Most of the time, tourists don't even realize there is so much more to see then coastal towns. As beautiful as they are, behind all that...
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84017 Positano, Province of Salerno, Italy
Along the Amalfi coast, everybody is looking for that perfect view of the the colorful houses against the water. I stumbled across this unbelievable panoramic shot by pure accident as I was looking for a bus stop on my way from Positano to Amalfi....
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Via Antonio Cavalieri Ducati, 3, 40132 Bologna BO, Italy
When my husband and I visited Italy last year, we each chose one place we wanted to visit. I chose Venice: I wanted to see the famous canals and gondolas first-hand. My husband, a long-time lover of Ducati motorcycles, chose a tour of the Ducati...
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Milan, Metropolitan City of Milan, Italy
We finally found it! Officine Del Gelato Milano; a modern, absolutely delicious gelato parlor. They had us coming back (three times in one day) until we had tried every flavor—including every kind of gelato popsicle. It was a guilt-free treat and...
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Place de l'Evêché 1, 7500 Tournai, Belgium
Tournai is the perfect place to spend a Saturday afternoon. Visit the amazing Notre Dame Cathedral, go up in the Belfry which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List or just have a coffee at a cafe in the square and watch the world go by. Looking...
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Via Vittorio Emanuele, 23, 25030 Erbusco BS, Italy
Franciacorta is a few minutes drive from Lake Iseo; an enchanting hotel and restaurant, off the beaten track. Located in the centre of Lombardy, a half-an-hour drive from Brescia and Bergamo, and less than an-hour from Milan, it is well worth a...
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Via Vittorio Emanuele, 23, 25030 Erbusco BS, Italy
This gorgeous dining room is the perfect place to spend an afternoon, with some of the most creative and exquisite dishes in northern Italy; my pasta course featured nine luscious ravioli. Just a half-an-hour drive from Brescia and Bergamo, and...
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Viale Te, 13, 46100 Mantova MN, Italy
Mantova may sound familiar. It's where Romeo was exiled from fair Verona in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. It may not sound like an obvious choice as an artistic hidden gem, but when Shakespeare wrote his play Mantua was a swamp land. The Palazzo...
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Piazza Bra, 1, 37121 Verona VR, Italy
This is one the oldest of the ancient Roman Coliseums, but it is not a relic - it still hosts concerts and the Verona Opera. An amazing venue to enjoy a live performance.
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Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy
The Grand Canal is the no-brainer must-do Venice experience, and the best way to explore the city's main thoroughfare is on a vaporetto, or water bus. For a great introduction to the area, ride the vaporetto from the railway station, at the edge...
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Monte Solaro, 80071 Anacapri, Metropolitan City of Naples, Italy
The summit of Monte Solarno, the highest point in Capri is almost 2,000 feet high! You can choose to climb it or opt for the considerably easier chairlift. Along the ride and at the top, you will enjoy an incredible 360-degree...
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Via Clavature, 17/C, 40124 Bologna BO, Italy
What makes a meal great? I like to think it is a combination of atmosphere, company and, of course, the food. Starving for carbs to keep me going for the day full of museum and church hopping. We stopped at an unassuming little restaurant with...
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3625 1 St, Naramata, BC V0H 1N0, Canada
Just a short hour drive away from Kelowna, and only a 5-10 minute drive from Penticton, Naramata sits hidden with acres of green vineyards cascading off of clay cliffs into Lake Okanagan. In the heart Naramara is the historic Naramata Heritage Inn...
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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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Via La Fabbrica, 11, 80071 Anacapri NA, Italy
If you don't have a yacht, a friend in the mega rich circle, or the time to stay on the island of Capri a day trip is worth at least a short visit while in the South of Italy. Since you aren't staying on the island you will have to catch the last...
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19017 Riomaggiore, SP, Italy
Having been to Italy before, I knew I would likely enjoy my maiden visit to Cinque Terre; I had no idea however, just how much. Riomaggiore is one of five picturesque villages that sit perched high above the Lingurain sea and make up what is...
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53037 San Gimignano, Province of Siena, Italy
The walled hilltop town of San Gimignano was my favorite in all of Tuscany. Beautiful medieval architecture, tall towers, and a stunning view of the Tuscan landscape surrounding the town make San Gimignano a not-to-be-missed stop on any trip...
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36015 Schio, Province of Vicenza, Italy
During my cycling trip in North Italy, I visited Schio, a little town at the foot of the Alps. Since I'd never heard about it before, I didn't know what to expect. But it left me speechless. Stone paved streets, old style houses, little coffee...
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Via Baldassarre Galuppi, 221, 30142 Burano,Venezia VE, Italy
Let the wind blow through your hair as you take a 30-minute vaporetto ride to Burano, an island in the lagoons of Venice. Known for its brightly-colored fishermen's homes, the island is largely free of the tourist crush of the rest of Venice....
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An address won't help you much on Burano. If you're looking for a specific spot on this tiny archipelago off the Venetian coast, let color be your guide. According to legend, island homes were painted in vivid hues to help fishermen find their way...
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Southern Europe
Umbria's main cheeses are: Pecorino (young), pecorino (aged a bit), and pecorino (well aged). It can grow a tad tiresome. So I was thrilled to discover this goat cheese farm outside of Orvieto. In our visit, my children helped herd the goats,...
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There is a reason why renting a villa in Tuscany is so popular - rustic farmhouses, rolling hills filled with olive and plum trees, golden sunsets, locally-harvested wine, creamy cheeses, and cool evenings spent with friends and family. Renting a...
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Via S. Francesco, 7, 52043 Castiglion Fiorentino AR, Italy
I have eaten well in my life. I have lived in many places, including the last 7 months in Italy. I have never. But never. Eaten like I did at Da Muzzicone. It was at da Muzzicone where I finally realized what all the fuss around Tuscan food was...
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33020 Sauris di Sotto UD, Italy
Every July, visitors gather in the village of Sauris for the Festa del Prosciutto. Located in the remote mountains of Friuli–Venezia Giulia, Sauris consists of two towns: the upper Sauris di Sopra and the lower Sauris di Sotto. Home of the famed...
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Via Evangelista Torricelli, 2/12, 00153 Roma RM, Italy
In spite of being utterly delicious and in a popular destination for dining, La Torricella manages to fly under the radar. A long-established fixture in Testaccio, this pizzeria-ristorante serves delectable, consistently delicious food in a...