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Our Summer Trip to Italy and Paris

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Via di Canneto Il Lungo, 16123 Genova GE, Italy
This is the kind of shop that only Genoa seems to offer: single product, one or two employees, and does what it says on the tin. It might be open, it might not, depending on the good humor of the proprietor. It seems totally preserved through...
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Via degli Orefici, 19, 40126 Bologna BO, Italy
A Restaurant, a Bistro and a Coffeeshop integrated into a bookshop, integrated into an old church - its as interesting as it sounds! The "Motherhouse" still is in Torino, some brothers and sisters are in Italy and Japan, the youngest in New York....
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Via Zamboni, 33, 40126 Bologna BO, Italy
The Museo di Palazzo Poggi, aka The Ulisse Aldrovandi Museum, is a museum of oddities collected by Ulisse Aldrovandi during the 16th C for his greatest aspiration, to assemble an encyclopedia of all living organisms upon the planet. The objects...
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Via Ugo Bassi, 25, 40121 Bologna BO, Italy
This pork sausage has been made for at least 2000 years, today the name is protected, ensuring that authentic Mortadella is free from fillers, artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. Only finely ground pork, high quality fat squares and a...
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Piazza Erbe, 28, 37121 Verona VR, Italy
A 500 year old hanging whale bone that will supposedly only fall when a man who has never told a lie walks beneath it marks the entrance to the Piazza Erbe, where there is a large outdoor market selling everything from food to crafts.
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Via Cappello, 23, 37121 Verona VR, Italy
We lock lips. And we lock hands. And here in Verona, you can lock your love around the gates of Juliet's (Giuletta, in her native Italian) home. Buy a cheap lock in one of the many storefronts that line the main streets through old Verona, and...
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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 dei Cavalleggeri, 1, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
I completely stumbled upon this gorgeous library in Florence on accident while wandering around the city by myself. It's about a 3 Euro entrance fee but being a book lover, there are few things more impressive than a reading library designed by...
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Piazza Santo Spirito, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
Walking through the Oltrarno neighborhood of Florence one night, I caught many glimpses of normal life for Florentines, from solitary people walking the dog to groups of young people crowded in restaurants, sharing laughs and evening drinks. No...
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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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Piazza di Santa Trinita, 3, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
The most beautiful view in Florence is undoubtedly high above the city on a rooftop watching the sunset splash across Florence with a 360 degree view. Experience what it's like to live like a local in one of the most beautiful cities in the world....
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Borgo Ognissanti, 93/r, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
A visit to Florence means a visit to the Medici legacy. The Uffizi Gallery, the Palazzo Pitti, the Palazzo Vecchio, and many other grand buildings are a feast for the eyes, but what about a true Medici feast? To eat as the Florentine ruling family...
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Via Maggio, 47, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
This shop is delightfully curious. The displays mix paper art like collages and laser cut-outs with collections—cameras, desk chairs, or both. There's a wall display of antique Penguin books arranged in a grid to show their stark black and white...
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Piazza del Mercato Nuovo, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
When you visit the area of the Piazza della Signoria and Piazza della Republica in Florence, don't miss this interesting attraction. From Piazza della Signoria, walk towards Piazza della Republica, and on the left side, you'll see Piazza del...
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Piazza S. Croce, 16, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
The Franciscan Basilica di Santa Croce, with its striped green-and-white marble facade, dates from about 1294. Inside are the tombs of many celebrated early Florentines, including Dante, Michelangelo and Machiavelli. Among the many art treasures...
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Via dei Neri, 74/R, 50100 Firenze FI, Italy
Fresh as you can get and a great price. The baker was bringing in steaming loaves of oven-fresh bread from the bakery down the street while we were standing in line!! Prosciutto on focaccia with warm Parmesan spread and arugula was delicious....
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Piazza Santo Spirito, 16/R, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
I love Florence: it's one of my favorite cities in Italy and in the world. But, the downside is that it can get ridiculously crowded. In fact, the last time I visited it was so crowded on the 'main side' of Florence, where the Duomo and all of the...
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Via delle Porte Sante, 34, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
One of the best views of Florence and its Duomo is from the entrance to San Miniato al Monte, across the Arno from the historic center, 2 bridges south/east of the Ponte Vecchio. I love how the green of the trees contrasts with the cloudy sky and...
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Piazza Santo Spirito, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
Florence’s most lively square is dominated by the blank, unfinished facade of Brunelleschi’s last church. Lined with trees and centered around a pretty fountain, the piazza plays host to a small daily market (where local ladies do their shopping)...
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The Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella (to give its full name) is now a global brand, but this is where it all began, in a frescoed, 13th-century chapel in Florence. The place is as stunning as the products that are still made...
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Via dei Vecchietti, 4, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
When people think of Florence, they usually think of Renaissance art and crowded museums filled with altarpieces and "Madonna and Child" images. While the Renaissance is the biggest draw of this historic city, there is a lot more to its art-museum...
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Via Federico Stibbert, 26, 50134 Firenze FI, Italy
Frederick Stibbert was a wealthy Anglo-Italian art collector who used his inherited fortune to turn his home into a museum in the 19th century. Today, the Stibbert has one of the quirkiest collections you'll find in a city most famous for its...
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Piazza San Felice, 8, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
Ultra-romantic poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning (famous for "How do I love thee, let me count the ways") and her husband Robert spent happy years in this Oltrarno apartment, that is now open to visitors. Thanks to a painting done when they lived...
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Via Santa Margherita, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
"Loda di Dio vera," Dante called Beatrice in the Divine Comedy: "True glory of God." Dante Alighieri wrote about Beatrice Portinari as his divine inspiration; if you have ever felt inspired to write to Beatrice, the Chiesa di Dante is for you. One...
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Florence, Metropolitan City of Florence, Italy
Food in Italy is still largely about seasonality, and never more so than in late fall when the new olive oil (‘olio nuovo’) begins to arrive in the shops. Take a drive into the Tuscan countryside anytime between late October and December and you...
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Via di Santo Spirito, 64/66 r, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
This busy, buzzy Oltrarno restaurant continues to be a personal favorite for its lively atmosphere and dependable cooking at reasonable prices. The menu offers ever-present favorites such as pasta with sweet tropea onions and cherry tomatoes as...
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Via S. Giuseppe, 5R, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Tucked behind the Basilica di Santa Croce in Florence is Scuola del Cuoio—the school of leather. To get into the school, one must go through the church's side door, walk under the church's tunnels, and climb up a nondescript set of stairs. There,...
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Via della Chiesa, 16/r, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
This authentic neighborhood bar, Il Chicco di Caffè (aka Lola’s), is run by Maurizio whose Mom, Lola, cooks for a truly egalitarian mix of local artisans, staff from the nearby Gucci headquarters, students and people like me (I live next door!) at...
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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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Piazza della Signoria, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Just off the main square, Piazza della Signoria, in Florence, this open air museum was beautiful in the morning as light spilled down and over the statues and general gorgeousness that is Florence. Walking through Florence was so different to...
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Via Emilia, 45, 40011 Anzola dell'Emilia BO, Italy
Italy is well known for its food but one of its most famous exports is gelato. A creamy, ice-cream like dessert, gelato can now be found in almost every corner of the world. As one of the main manufacturers of gelato making machines, Carpigiani...
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22 Rue de Savoie, 75006 Paris, France
In France, sparkling wine isn't just for special occasions, it's an everyday luxury. At least that's what you'll learn after a sampling of some 130 vintages at Dilettantes, a wine shop/bar specializing in bubbly. The tastings are hosted by one of...
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80 Quai de l'Hôtel de ville, 75004 Paris, France
La Cuisine Paris is located in the 4th arrondissement, just a block from the Hotel de Ville, and a short walk from the Notre Dame. When you step inside their darling shop, you’re greeted by their friendly, English-speaking staff in a simple, but...
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6 Rue Victor Cousin, 75005 Paris, France
Context Travel offers history, architecture and culinary tours in various European cities. I went on the " foodie" tour that began on a beautiful fall Paris morning in the toney neighborhood of St. Germain- de- Pres by meeting our friendly English...
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34 Rue de Cîteaux, 75012 Paris, France
Perhaps the best way to experience the city’s gastronomic gifts is to go straight to the source. A team of Paris By Mouth expert docents lead neighborhood food crawls, from the historic Les Halles market district to Montmartre, offering visitors...
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35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre, 75018 Paris, France
At the summit of Montmartre, the highest point in the city, you'll find the Basilica de Sacré-Cœur. Contrasting with the Gothic churches like Notre-Dame, the Romano-Byzantine architecture is both beautiful inside and out. While...
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2 Galerie de Montpensier, 75001 Paris, France
This beautiful courtyard, modern art installations, hundreds of Corinthian columned walkways and perfectly placed fountains and gardens, make the Palais Royal a photographer's playground. Personally, I can never get enough of the reflection...
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53 Quai des Grands Augustins, 75006 Paris, France
Entertain yourself for an hour or two while wandering the book stalls along the Seine in the magnificent city of Paris. I saw the long green boxes that line the walls along the Seine from the Louvre to Notre Dame Cathedral. The boxes were filled...
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19 Quai Voltaire, 75007 Paris, France
Paris is at its most magical at night. I highly recommend booking a late-night tour with Cedric's Paris Tours if you're looking for a "Midnight In Paris" experience. Cedric is a smokin' hot fireman by day and a brilliant and knowledgeable tour...
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Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
This former royal palace is one of the largest museums in the world, and its art collection is considered one of the most comprehensive. It contains around 400,000 works, although—mercifully, perhaps—not all are on display at any one...
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43 Rue de Seine, 75006 Paris, France
Cafe La Palette is one of the iconic cafes in the Latin Quarter in Paris, located in the gallery and art district of Saint Germain. The cafe is known for its large terrace overlooking rue Jacques-Callot and is popular among Fine Arts students and...
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6 Place Saint-Germain des Prés, 75006 Paris, France
One part tourist trap, one part beloved café, Les Deux Magots is a legendary spot that everyone should visit at least once when in Paris. Most famous as the place where the likes of Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre and Ernest Hemingway...
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13 Rue de la Butte aux Cailles, 75013 Paris, France
A tiny resto nestled in the 13th arrondissement of Paris. A short walk from the metro station Place d'Italie, this 18-seater offers pages of delicious crêpes and scrumptious bowls of cider to wash it all down with. One of those places that leaves...
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35 Boulevard de Courcelles, 75008 Paris, France
I've been to Parc Monceau only once and loved it right away. Maybe because it has a homey, neighborhood feeling, (a public park situated in the 8th arrondissement of Paris) maybe because of the classical colonnade in the middle of it, or maybe...
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Paris, France
My wife and two friends were tired of "museums" so they mistakenly decided to go shopping while I went to the Rodin Museum alone. It was breathtaking, the flowers were all in full bloom, the art on display inside was rare and beautiful, but the...
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55 Rue Oberkampf, 75011 Paris, France
No phone, no reservations. Things might seem strict and serious at Top Chef finalist Pierre Sang's first restaurant in Paris but it's all creative flavor pairings and playful presentations in the kitchen. On the inside - warm, exposed stone walls,...
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173 Rue Saint-Honoré, 75001 Paris, France
Astier de Villatte is well known for its light weight white porcelain plates and dishes, all shown in a big wooden closet at the entrance hall of the store, alongside home perfumes, candles and other colored decorative dishes. It serves as a...
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34 Rue Yves Toudic, 75010 Paris, France
Situated a block from the Canal St.-Martin in the 10th arrondissement, Du Pain et des Idées is your favorite corner bakery—only better. The owner, Christophe Vasseur, was named best boulanger in Paris in 2008, and for good reason....
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You'd think that having a Meilleur Ouvrier de France (a prestigious crafstman title) at the helm of a restaurant would imply steep prices, but at Semilla, you're in for both a great meal and a great deal. The international influence is strong...
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135 Rue Saint-Dominique, 75007 Paris, France
A few years back Christian Constant was avant-garde; he walked away from his Michelin stars to open a more casual dining experience. He chose conviviality over formality and Les Cocottes does that well with its steel bar stools, matcha colored...
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37 Quai Branly, 75007 Paris, France
I don't often appreciate "installation art," and I'm not sure that's what you would call this. But this "river" of light on the walkway at the Musee du quai Branly when we visited in May, 2013 was impressive. It was created by a series of...
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37 Rue de Verneuil, 75007 Paris, France
The historic Androuet fromagerie has been sourcing and maturing exceptional cheeses since 1909. Their shop on rue Mouffetard is staffed by friendly English-speakers who will be happy to explain and vacuum-seal your selections, including the...
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3 Boulevard Edgar Quinet, 75014 Paris, France
Step off the beaten path that leads to Jim Morrison’s grave at Père Lachaise and head instead to the lesser-known, yet extraordinary Montparnasse Cemetery. Locals bring metro tickets to leave on Serge Gainsbourg’s grave in...
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18-20 Rue Coquillière, 75001 Paris, France
At first glance, this cookware emporium feels like a dusty relic. But dig a little deeper, especially in the basement, and you’ll find just about anything you could need for the kitchen, along with plenty of treasures you don’t—duck press, anyone?...
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97 Rue Saint-Antoine, 75004 Paris, France
A near-daily ritual was a visit to this nearby Marais fromagerie, featuring an outstanding selection of cheeses and knowledgeable help. In the U.S., one often sees Brie, Camembert, Boursin, and Roquefort, but most of the 350-400 kinds of French...
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116 Boulevard Haussmann, 75008 Paris, France
Paris wine shops routinely host free tastings, often led by the growers who make the wine. Paris by Mouth publishes a calendar of tastings, but two shops can be depended upon to have something interesting on the weekends: Les Caves Augé and La...
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5 Rue de la Banque, 75002 Paris, France
Shopping passages were built in the 19th century to give Parisians protection from muddy streets and horse-drawn vehicles. Galerie Vivienne is a beautiful restored 19th-century passage with entrances at the Rue des Petits-Champs, Rue de la...
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8 Boulevard du Palais, 75001 Paris, France
Sainte Chapelle is a true Gothic masterpiece located on Île de la Cité. Sainte Chapelle was founded by King Louis IX as a chapel for the royal palace. Sainte Chapelle houses a small chapel downstairs that is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The...
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82 Boulevard de Clichy, 75018 Paris, France
In 1899, the cabaret, Moulin Rouge (red mill) opened in Paris. Moulin Rouge is near Montmartre. The cabaret is located in the Pigalle district and you can see the famous red windmill on the cabaret roof. This was the birthplace of the can-can...
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1 Rue de la Légion d'Honneur, 75007 Paris, France
Small enough to get around without being overwhelmed, the Musée d'Orsay is a favorite stop in Paris not just for its size but for its collection of impressionist, postimpressionist, and art nouveau art. Perfectly set in the center of the...
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25 Avenue des Gobelins, 75013 Paris, France
Exit greasy meats, messy eggs and milky tea. In France, breakfast is not the most important or most filling meal of the day, but rather the most relaxed, leisurely one. Picture this: a freshly-baked, buttery croissant with home-made apricot jam,...
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From the outside, L’è Maiala looks like any other cozy restaurant serving authentic Italian fare. But what you don't know is that you can pay by currency other than money. Yes, take fresh fruits, veggies, wine, olive oil, or anything else and the...
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8 Rue du Cherche-Midi, 75006 Paris, France

Shops and bakeries are introducing spruced-up versions of classic Parisian foods. Here are the best addresses to try traditional and eclectic takes on three iconic French treats.

1. CROISSANT The Classic: The flaky pastries from Poilane are made...