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Cathy Akins′s Wishlist
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Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy
Dominican friars mixed medicines at the original workshop in Florence starting in 1612. The Venice branch is also a traditional apothecary, selling herbal elixirs. Most shoppers, however, come here to buy modern perfumes and gaze at the antique...
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Sacca della Toletta, 1214, 30123 Venezia VE, Italy
This place was one of those shops you stumble upon, then wish you could spend the day. Not only did the Toletta have a really good selection of English books—from classics (including Thomas Mann's Death in Venice, of course) and recent novels to a...
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5174/B/517 Castello, Venezia, VE 30122, 30122 Venezia VE, Italy
One of the things Venice is best known for, after its gondolas and canals, is enchanting handmade masks—and mask shops abound in the city. One standout is Gottardo Stefano, where you can find any type of mask you might want: from feminine...
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Campo San Moisè, 1390/A, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
Maria e Susanna Sent has several shops where they sell their glass jewelry, the cutest one of them all just off the Ponte San Moisè in San Marco. This boutique is about as big as a broom closet, and that is certainly part of its charm. The...
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Campo San Giacometto, 122, 30125 Rialto, Venezia VE, Italy

At the foot of the Rialto Bridge with fantastic views of the Grand Canal, Osteria Bancogiro sits under the archway of the Bancogiro (a bank founded in 1600) from which the tavern gets its name. Here, you'll find a ground-floor wine bar serving...

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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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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, 57, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
During the day, the Piazza San Marco in Venice is an overwhelming flurry of activity, but once the sun sets, you'd be surprised at just how much a sense of ease and languor settles in. Life simply slows down as the crowds depart. Stop by...
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Piazza dell'Anfiteatro, 55100 Lucca LU, Italy
LOVE this shop in Lucca's Piazza Anfiteatro, created and run by four sisters who handcraft vibrant tableware, beauty products, a line of charming hand-printed cloth bags, and colorful paper products. The friendly staff and pretty displays make it...
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Padua, Province of Padua, Italy
Few things are more synonymous with Italy than rich, creamy gelato, and nowhere did I find better gelato than at Los Andes Gelateria in Padua, located at 43 Via Monsignor Fortin. A husband and wife couple from South America own Los Andes, and...
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Fondamenta Vin Castello, 30100 Venezia VE, Italy
Two things you need to know about gondola rides in Venice: They're worth it; and the price is agreed beforehand. Knowing those two things, you can happily hop aboard this traditional Venetian mode of transport and relax, because, touristy as it...
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Dorsoduro, 701-704, 30123 Venezia VE, Italy
There's plenty of art in Venice, from the churches to the Scuoli to the Accademia. But when you just can't look at another Caravaggio, and even Titian hair doesn't move you any more, refresh yourself with a visit to Peggy's house. The renowned...