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Tuscany and Rome

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Piazza del Duomo, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
The cathedral, usually called the Duomo, is Florence’s most recognizable building. You are able to catch glimpses of its magnificent red-tiled cupola from just about anywhere in the city center. Construction on the church...
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Via Lambertesca, 14, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
This brick-vaulted restaurant and bar is a great venue for jazz fans and the line-up of live acts on Thursday and Fridays nights includes well-known Italian musicians. You can eat a full meal here (try the Risotto Caruso with clams, shrimp and...
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Via dei Michelozzi, 9/R, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
In spite of featuring in all the guide books, this Santo Spirito favourite has a loyal local following, and the place is always packed out with a mix of tourists and Florentines who line up for good value, homecooked food. I would recommend...
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Via dei Georgofili, 3r/7r, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
A useful address for a snack after a visit to the Uffizi or Palazzo Vecchio, this gourmet sandwich bar and deli, hidden away down a narrow lane, serves delicious panini plus the odd salad. The sandwich selection (made with focaccia freshly-baked...
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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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Via dei Palchetti, 6R, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
One of the most fun places I dined at in Italy was Il Latini, in Florence. It's in a large, maze-like building with aged prosciutto hanging from the ceilings, and art collaged upon the walls. Seating is at communal tables, and at times it felt...
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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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Piazzale Michelangelo, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
One of the best views of Florence can be savored from the Piazzale Michelangelo, a short walk across the Arno River from downtown Florence. For a fun afternoon head to the square and enjoy an enchanting panorama of the city, followed by a relaxing...
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Via della Vite, 102, 00187 Roma RM, Italy
Anglo American Book Co. is my best source for English-language books in Rome. They have an amazing inventory of beautiful books on the city. 39/06-679-5222. By Pepi Marchetti Franchi, as told to Elizabeth Minchilli. This appeared in the...
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Piazza di Trevi, 00187 Roma RM, Italy
Fontana di Trevi is, as it should be, one of the most visited landmarks in Rome. Seeing it is worth the blind stumble through narrow stone streets and alleyways. But do so at night (and in the rain, if possible) to be rewarded with...
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Via S. Giovanni, 91, 53037 San Gimignano SI, Italy
There are two rewards to climbing San Gimignano's steep steps and pathways. You lose yourself within the walls of medieval Italy and you find beauty and serenity beyond the walls.
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Via S. Giovanni, 91, 53037 San Gimignano SI, Italy
Several parks rim the crown of San Gimignano's hilltop. Wander up and around and you will find fantastic views of the town, towers, rooftops and countryside.
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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 delle Bollette, 13, 00187 Roma RM, Italy
Here is one of Rome’s best restaurants: Al Moro is very traditional and is well known for the quality of its seasonal ingredients, including porcini mushrooms, wild strawberries, artichokes, and asparagus. 39/06-678-3495. By Pepi Marchetti...
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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...