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Florence, Italy

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Il Duomo di Firenze

Il Duomo di Firenze

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Accademia di Belle Arti Firenze

Accademia di Belle Arti Firenze

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Il Duomo di Firenze

Il Duomo di Firenze

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Florence, the city of the lily, gave birth to the Renaissance and changed the way we see the world. For centuries it has captured the imaginations of travelers, who have come seeking rooms with views and phenomenal art. Florence's is a subtle beauty—its staid, unprepossessing palaces built in local stone are not showy, even though they are very large. They take on a certain magnificence when day breaks and when the sun sets; their muted colors glow in this light. A walk along the Arno offers views that don't quit and haven't much changed in 700 years; navigating Piazza della Signoria, always packed with tourists, requires patience. There's a reason why everyone seems to be here, however. It's the heart of the city, and home to the Uffizi—the world's finest repository of Italian Renaissance art.Florence was "discovered" in the 1700s by upper-class visitors from everywhere making the grand tour. Today millions of us follow in their footsteps. When the sun sets over the Arno and, as Mark Twain described it, "overwhelms Florence with tides of color that make all the sharp lines dim and faint and turn the solid city to a city of dreams," it's hard not to fall under the city's spell.

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Things You Can't Miss

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Tap the Soul of the City
Tap the Soul of the City

Wander narrow alleys and wide piazzas. Linger over spaghetti alla carbonara at a trattoria in the Piazza della Signoria or prosecco in artsy Oltrarno.

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Ingram Publishing/Alamy

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Pick Up a Copy of The Florentine
Pick Up a Copy of The Florentine

Or download this biweekly English-language newspaper that highlights what’s happening where (www.theflorentine.net).

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Jeffrey Blackler/Alamy

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The Accademia and Uffizi Gallery
The Accademia and Uffizi Gallery

Michelangelo’s David stands tall in the Accademia. The Uffizi, a Renaissance palazzo, is a treasure trove of must-see masterpieces. Reserve tickets.

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Don Klumpp/Getty Images

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Just Say No to ...

Beans, garlic and other things that can cause 'jet bloating.'

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Daniel Grizelj

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A Heart-Stopping View: The Top of the Duomo
A Heart-Stopping View: The Top of the Duomo

This tricolor marble landmark is renowned for glittering 13th-century mosaics, Giotto’s Bell Tower and Ghiberti’s monumental Baptistery doors.

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Sylvain Sonnet/Getty Images

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Try Culinary Travel to Spice Up Your Vacation

Consider yourself a foodie? Try visiting the John C. Campbell Folk School and other places to learn how to cook like a local.

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The International Kitchen

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Cross the Ponte Vecchio, the City’s Oldest Bridge
Cross the Ponte Vecchio, the City’s Oldest Bridge

Stroll past gold and silver jewelry stores toward the Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens. Stop at Madova for rainbow-colored handmade gloves.

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Alamy

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Short on Quality Time With Your Grownup Kids?

Want more quality time with your adult child? Check out these tips to plan a fulfilling trip that you both will enjoy and remember for years to come.

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Getty Images

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Bargain at the Markets
Bargain at the Markets

The open-air San Lorenzo Market is packed with clothing and leather goods, the Central Market has food stalls and the Straw Market has it all.

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Corbis

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The Galileo Science Museum
The Galileo Science Museum

Telescopes, globes, clocks and a room-size model of the universe illustrate the work of the father of modern science.

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Guido Cozzi/Corbis

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