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City, Coasts and Countryside: Central Italy

Central Italy has a special place in my heart. It’s where I learned Italian and fell in love – both with Italy itself and my own Italian. Read: How to Marry an Italian. Every chance we get Marco and I make our way south of the Po River to explore Tuscany or hop among the… Read more »

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Top Tuscan Day Trips From Florence by Train

The long, winding country roads, fields and fields of grapes separated only by cypresses and the nearly deserted hill towns in Tuscany lend themselves perfectly to a classic road trip. But it’s not the only way to see the Tuscan hills. Though the smallest towns are difficult to reach by public transportation, some of Tuscany’s most famous… Read more »

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The Downside of Florence’s San Lorenzo Market

The San Lorenzo Market is in a massive, covered building in the heart of the San Lorenzo neighborhood. It’s big. It’s bustling. And yet, I wasn’t able to immediately find it the first time I went looking for it. Actually, the San Lorenzo Market is comprised of two markets: an outdoor one selling goods and… Read more »

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The Churches of Florence

There’s so much to see in Florence that it can be hard to know what you’re even looking at. While touring the small, packed city, you’ll stumble upon world class church after world class church. It’s easy to get church fatigue, but with a little bit of background knowledge you can choose which ones interest you… Read more »

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The Opening and Closing Times of Florence

Museums Uffizi Gallery Open: Tuesday – Sunday, 8:15 – 6:50 pm (ticket office closes at 6:05 pm) Closed: Mondays, January 1, December 25 Full price March 1 – October 31: €20 Full price November 1 – February 28: €12 Reservation cost: €4, online or by phone at +39 055 294883 Free entry on the first Sunday of each month (get… Read more »

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Florence, Italy: What to Know Before You Go

Compared with Italy’s other big cities – Rome, Venice, Milan and Naples – Florence is an easy town to visit. The city center is compact, the people are relaxed and the food delicious. Plus, there’s so much to see that you can enjoy the world-class art and architecture with very little pre-trip preparation. Still, I’m a… Read more »

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Italian Palaces and Gardens Better Than Versailles

Marco and I just got back from a lovely 8-day vacation in Paris. Of course with that amount of time we couldn’t skip the Château de Versailles, the opulent royal palace for generations of opulent French kings. We had heard it was the top of the top in Europe. The palace to end all palaces. Opulence and… Read more »

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5 Ways to Fail Your Study Abroad in Florence

1) Never leave your apartment So studying abroad is harder than you expected. Navigating the streets, the language and the rain is exhausting. It’s better to just stay inside, right? Looking back on my study abroad experience, I’m shocked at how often I was in my apartment. Sure, I went out at nights and went to class… Read more »

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Study Abroad in Italy: Florence vs Milan

In 2010 I moved to Florence, Italy for a semester abroad. That is how it all started for me. Five years later I’m back, celebrating my two year anniversary with Italy and gearing up for my two year anniversary with my Italian husband. But even if you don’t end up falling in love with an Italian and… Read more »

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Cuba Libre, or What a Cocktail Has to Do With Freedom

I turned from my friends, took one step, and immediately forgot the Italian name of the drink I wanted. It was my second month in Italy, but only my first month openly drinking. Like most American college students, I drank much younger than the legal age limit. Also like most American college students, I mostly drank… Read more »