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Mad Cow's Italy trip discussion thread


Where should we go for our trip?  

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  • 2 months later...
On 5/7/2021 at 8:13 PM, Chemical X said:

fyi, bobby and giada did only 4 episodes of their italy show.  i have watched the first 2, strictly rome based........honestly, enjoyed it a lot more than tucci.

also, automated pizza machines in rome;

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-05-07/pizza-machine-slices-in-rome-italy/100125350

that looks godawful ... I mean it couldn't look worse kind of awful.

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On 5/8/2021 at 11:33 PM, Binky The Doormat said:

So how do I watch this thing?  It looks like it was on CNN.

cnn streaming must have it archived.

off topic, we have decided our retirement, subject to italian elective residence visa, will have us going to florence.  prices are just better than rome and we prefer the culture aspect to the rough aspect of rome.  we had been thinking to rent, allowing the ability to up and leave....but we’ve now decided to maybe put 200€ towards an apartment.  needs outdoor space, otherwise, we are open.  it has to be able to have a/c installed.  prefer 3 rooms, they offer a lot of 2 room places (kitchen/lr combo and 1 bedroom).  we expect some kitchen and bathroom updating.  

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12 minutes ago, Chemical X said:

cnn streaming must have it archived.

off topic, we have decided our retirement, subject to italian elective residence visa, will have us going to florence.  prices are just better than rome and we prefer the culture aspect to the rough aspect of rome.  we had been thinking to rent, allowing the ability to up and leave....but we’ve now decided to maybe put 200€ towards an apartment.  needs outdoor space, otherwise, we are open.  it has to be able to have a/c installed.  prefer 3 rooms, they offer a lot of 2 room places (kitchen/lr combo and 1 bedroom).  we expect some kitchen and bathroom updating.  

Good choice.  Maybe you can end up getting my childhood apartment :)

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Posted (edited)
On 5/7/2021 at 9:13 PM, Chemical X said:

fyi, bobby and giada did only 4 episodes of their italy show.  i have watched the first 2, strictly rome based........honestly, enjoyed it a lot more than tucci.

also, automated pizza machines in rome;

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-05-07/pizza-machine-slices-in-rome-italy/100125350

so, we saw episode 3 of bobby and giada.  they’ve hit some places we love, but this episode they hit podere il casale, a place i think i’ve pimped in this thread.  dairy farm and commune.  they focused on cheese.

what they don’t show is that the husband and wife are real hippies, but euro hippies.  they have their farm open to passers through.  you can park an RV there or grab room and board in exchange for work on the farm.  many were taking advantage the times we visited.  

Edited by Chemical X
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also wanted to mention that airline NEOS is entering the US market, flying between JFK and Milan Malpensa.  they appear to be a discount carrier.  info is early, but i have heard twice weekly flights to and from, 1 per each day.  their first class seems to be like delta comfort class and they seem to be big dreamliner type planes.  could be a nice low cost option, even if it means taking a train from milan to your final destination.

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for those that like the culture and staying connected, italy magazine has been running a Founders Member special.  one time subscription fee of $199- and perpetual access to all content, ebooks, discounts, etc.  i signed up, cause they were also offering a gift basket of items from italy with membership....it came direct from italy and included pasta, specialty salt, sauces and was well worth indulging.  makes a nice gift.

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also, for those with spotify, i have an account and have curated over 8 hours of some of my favorite italian music.  most is current and includes rap, pop, etc.  If anyone is interested, it is named;

Pozzuolo Italian Playlist

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  • 2 weeks later...

for the transportation guys out there.  in 2-2019 florence completed tram line T2, which goes from unita to peretola airport in 20 minutes at the cost of a regular BIT ticket.  unita is directly across from santa maria novella train station.  opens up possibilities, especially for car rental.

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waaay early, but a reminder that ryder cup 2022 was pushed back to 2023 at marco simone, just outside rome proper.  they just completed the course renovation.  

9/29-10/1

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a friend of mine just rebooked her sicily trip for 2022.  she was going in 2020.  she has a friend in sicily that is a travel agent(from sicily) and put a lot of the trip together for her.  i've reached out to the travel agent to see what's what.  i really want to go to sicily.  it's fun to dream of

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1 hour ago, DA RAIDERS said:

a friend of mine just rebooked her sicily trip for 2022.  she was going in 2020.  she has a friend in sicily that is a travel agent(from sicily) and put a lot of the trip together for her.  i've reached out to the travel agent to see what's what.  i really want to go to sicily.  it's fun to dream of

if i’m not mistaken @jamnyhas amalfi and sicily knowledge.  he might be able to shed some light outside of etna, siracusa and palermo.

i had a cruise planned for 2020 leaving from rome, hitting naples, sicily and greece, pushed to 2022 then ultimately cancelled.

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4 minutes ago, Chemical X said:

if i’m not mistaken @jamnyhas amalfi and sicily knowledge.  he might be able to shed some light outside of etna, siracusa and palermo.

i had a cruise planned for 2020 leaving from rome, hitting naples, sicily and greece, pushed to 2022 then ultimately cancelled.

i did amalfi last time.  i'm dreaming of a week in amalfi and then 2 more in sicily.  

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We went to Sicily in 2016 and Amalfi in 2018, staying in Positano. Don't get me wrong, Positano and Amalfi are beautiful and we had a great time but I don't think I'd go back. Just too congested and touristy. We had an amazing room at Le Sirenuse and I could have spent months on that balcony but I much prefer more open space where you aren't fighting crowds everywhere. 

Sicily, on the other had, was absolutely incredible. We started in Palermo and drove most of the island, hitting Cefalu, Erice, down the west through Marsala, spent time at a beach resort in the south and ended up in Taormina. We only missed the southeast corner (Catania and Siracusa) and up to Messina. I would love to go back but I doubt we will. The most amazing driving I've ever done, especially in the cities. Barely any stop signs or lights but the traffic flows in an almost Zen like motion. I likened it to blood flowing through a body. Everyone just moving together in motion. It was awesome once you got the feel for it. Every area of the island is different, north to south and east to west. So much more than we expected.

 

Stayed here in the south for a few days Unfortunately 2 of the 3 days were rainy.

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16 minutes ago, jamny said:

We went to Sicily in 2016 and Amalfi in 2018, staying in Positano. Don't get me wrong, Positano and Amalfi are beautiful and we had a great time but I don't think I'd go back. Just too congested and touristy. We had an amazing room at Le Sirenuse and I could have spent months on that balcony but I much prefer more open space where you aren't fighting crowds everywhere. 

Sicily, on the other had, was absolutely incredible. We started in Palermo and drove most of the island, hitting Cefalu, Erice, down the west through Marsala, spent time at a beach resort in the south and ended up in Taormina. We only missed the southeast corner (Catania and Siracusa) and up to Messina. I would love to go back but I doubt we will. The most amazing driving I've ever done, especially in the cities. Barely any stop signs or lights but the traffic flows in an almost Zen like motion. I likened it to blood flowing through a body. Everyone just moving together in motion. It was awesome once you got the feel for it. Every area of the island is different, north to south and east to west. So much more than we expected.

 

Stayed here in the south for a few days Unfortunately 2 of the 3 days were rainy.

you know, i have hit 2 traffic lights in 10 years of driving in italy.  montepulciano and chiusi, 1 each.  i do know the word is il semaforo.  

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Posted (edited)

As of May 16, Americans are allowed to travel to Italy for tourism - but only if they arrive on government-approved ‘Covid-tested’ flights.

What is a Covid-tested flight? 

As defined on the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website ‘Viaggiare Sicuri’, Covid-tested flights are those where “passengers are allowed to board following a mandatory rapid antigen test performed before boarding or upon presentation of certification attesting the negative result of a molecular or antigen swab test taken within 48 hours prior to boarding. Upon arrival in Italy, passengers must test again at the airport of arrival.” 

Leisure travelers will not be admitted into Italy on any other flight.

Do I have to take a Covid-tested flight even if I’m vaccinated?

Yes, as of now, you do. The Covid-tested flight requirement applies to all travelers, whether vaccinated or not. Once in Italy, travelers arriving on a Covid-tested flight having tested negative also on arrival are exempt from quarantine. 

Which U.S. airlines operate Covid-tested flights?

Delta has operated Covid-tested flights from the U.S. to Italy since last December, but flying was possible only for essential reasons. 

Delta offers the following nonstop COVID-tested services to Italy: 

Five-times-a-week between Atlanta and Rome, increasing to daily May 26

Daily service between New York-JFK and Milan

Three-times-a-week from JFK to Rome, increasing to daily July 1

Additionally, Delta said in a statementthat it will “launch three more nonstop routes this summer: New York-JFK to Venice beginning July 2, as well as Atlanta to Venice and Boston to Rome beginning Aug. 5.”  

All Delta flights to Italy are operated in conjunction with partner Alitalia.

More recently, American Airlines has also started offering Covid-tested flights: the daily JFK to Milan Malpensa route since April 2, and the three-times weekly service JFK to Rome (FCO) since May 8. “With the recent change in Italy’s travel restrictions, any customers, whether traveling for leisure or essential business, are eligible to fly on American’s flights from New York to Italy starting May 16,” the airline said in a statement.  

American also operates four-times weekly service between Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) and FCO and “expects those flights to become quarantine-free and open to all travelers in the coming days,” the airline said in the same statement dated May 16, 2021.

It is not currently known if other airlines will launch similar flights.

Digital Passenger Locator Form (dPLF)

As of 23 March 2021, all passengers entering Italy via Covid-tested flights are required to fill, before boarding, a digital Passenger Locator Form (dPLF).

Passengers must provide their contact information and the address where they will be staying in Italy, so that the Italian Health Authority can contact them promptly in case they have been exposed to Covid-19 on their flight. Airlines are responsible for verifying that the dPLF has been completed before allowing the passenger to board the plane. Passengers who do not submit the form will be denied boarding.

The dPLF is available at the following link: https://app.euplf.eu/.  

Italy’s national curfew

Starting May 19, 2021, Italy’s national curfew will be pushed to 11 pm (previously it kicked in at 10 pm). It has also been announced that the curfew will be pushed an hour further to midnight from June 7 and lifted entirely on June 21. In all these cases, the curfew is in place until 5 am. The easing of curfew applies to low-risk regions only (regions where infections are low, classified as white and yellow zones - currently all of Italy is yellow, except for Aosta Valley, which is orange - moderate risk zone).  

Edited by Chemical X
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48 minutes ago, jamny said:

We went to Sicily in 2016 and Amalfi in 2018, staying in Positano. Don't get me wrong, Positano and Amalfi are beautiful and we had a great time but I don't think I'd go back. Just too congested and touristy. We had an amazing room at Le Sirenuse and I could have spent months on that balcony but I much prefer more open space where you aren't fighting crowds everywhere. 

Sicily, on the other had, was absolutely incredible. We started in Palermo and drove most of the island, hitting Cefalu, Erice, down the west through Marsala, spent time at a beach resort in the south and ended up in Taormina. We only missed the southeast corner (Catania and Siracusa) and up to Messina. I would love to go back but I doubt we will. The most amazing driving I've ever done, especially in the cities. Barely any stop signs or lights but the traffic flows in an almost Zen like motion. I likened it to blood flowing through a body. Everyone just moving together in motion. It was awesome once you got the feel for it. Every area of the island is different, north to south and east to west. So much more than we expected.

 

Stayed here in the south for a few days Unfortunately 2 of the 3 days were rainy.

you are staying in places that i don't stay.  :lmao: 

we stayed way up the hill, above the hotel santa caterina, just above amalfi, on the way to positano.  we overlooked the ocean  it was perfect.

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1 hour ago, DA RAIDERS said:

you are staying in places that i don't stay.  :lmao: 

we stayed way up the hill, above the hotel santa caterina, just above amalfi, on the way to positano.  we overlooked the ocean  it was perfect.

Wife and I did 3 nights here for our honeymoon.  Beautiful hotel and just amazing location.

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3 hours ago, DA RAIDERS said:

you are staying in places that i don't stay.  :lmao: 

we stayed way up the hill, above the hotel santa caterina, just above amalfi, on the way to positano.  we overlooked the ocean  it was perfect.

Yeah, I get that. We live a very minimalist lifestyle so we can save for really high end trips. Plus...no kids! 

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11 minutes ago, jamny said:

Yeah, I get that. We live a very minimalist lifestyle so we can save for really high end trips. Plus...no kids! 

this x everything

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If and when we do go back to Italy, I think that would make it our 10th time, I'd like to set up a hub in Tuscany to really explore the area and would like to go to the east coast like Rimini and Ravenna. We also went to Switzerland in 2019 but didn't get the chance to see Lugano so going there and spending some more time in the Como region would be great too.

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49 minutes ago, jamny said:

If and when we do go back to Italy, I think that would make it our 10th time, I'd like to set up a hub in Tuscany to really explore the area and would like to go to the east coast like Rimini and Ravenna. We also went to Switzerland in 2019 but didn't get the chance to see Lugano so going there and spending some more time in the Como region would be great too.

Same area, but was very pleased with Milano Marittima and preferred Riccione to Rimini.

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Saw @Chemical X notes above re: flights opening up for tourism w/ restrictions.  We are starting to think of rebooting the trip we had planned for May 2020, and target May 2022.  My assumption (hope) is that travel is loosened up considerably by then.  Anyway, we are starting to think through the best way to re-engage with trip planning ... early enough to secure decent flights and places to stay, but not so early as to deal with the uncertainty of "how things are today".  Encouraging to see things starting to move in the right direction.

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13 minutes ago, Boulder Toads said:

Saw @Chemical X notes above re: flights opening up for tourism w/ restrictions.  We are starting to think of rebooting the trip we had planned for May 2020, and target May 2022.  My assumption (hope) is that travel is loosened up considerably by then.  Anyway, we are starting to think through the best way to re-engage with trip planning ... early enough to secure decent flights and places to stay, but not so early as to deal with the uncertainty of "how things are today".  Encouraging to see things starting to move in the right direction.

We are doing the same.  Out 2020 trip was canceled.  Flights are going in 2021, but I would be concerned about what will be open.  Hoping next year will be back closer to normal.

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1 hour ago, gianmarco said:

Same area, but was very pleased with Milano Marittima and preferred Riccione to Rimini.

Thanks!

I've done no research on the area but I'll make a note of that!

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we have friends in the umbria region, castiglione del lago.  they own an osteria.  they are open, but have had no vaccine shots.  

i suspect this is a time when things are open 25-75%, but will be empty due to italy’s inability to quickly vaccinate.  may be a good time to visit for us, fully vaccinated, areas less crowded but functioning.

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so, this is off the beaten path and very european, but annually europe holds a multi country song contest called Eurovision.  each country, 39 this year, has their own competition to name a winner and all winners then compete against one another for judges votes, country votes and viewer votes, or something like that.  italy’s annual contest is called San Remo.  it’s a lot of fun watching on RAI, as i enjoy the music.  over the weekend, italy’s entry group, Maneskin, a glam rock type band won Eurovision with the song zitti e buoni.  It seems to loosely translate to Shut up and Leave.  trying to link their official song video here…..they were accused of snorting coke during the performance, but that seems to be sour grapes.  lol.  also, somehow flo rida was entered with san marino.  some of the songs were brutal, culturally it’s fun to watch though.

 

https://youtu.be/9mL6Cmkg2_A

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Train Travel Times for the Most Common Italian Routes  

Rome – Florence 

1 hour 31 minutes (Frecciarossa – Trenitalia)  

1 hour 23 minutes (Italo)

Rome – Venice 

3 hours 45 minutes (Frecciargento – Trenitalia)

3 hours 45 minutes (Italo)

Rome – Milan 

2 hours 55 minutes / 3 hours 20 minutes (Frecciarossa – Trenitalia) 

3 hours 14 minutes (Italo)

Rome – Naples 

1 hour 10 minutes (Frecciarossa – Trenitalia) 

1 hour 20 minutes (Italo)

Florence – Milan 

1 hour 40 minutes (Frecciarossa – Trenitalia) 

1 hour 50 minutes (Italo)

Florence – Venice 

2 hours 5 minutes (Frecciargento – Trenitalia) 

2 hours 5 minutes (Italo)

Milan – Venice 

2 hours 23 minutes / 2 hours 35 minutes (Frecciabianca – Trenitalia) 

Milan – Naples 

4 hours 40 minutes (Frecciarossa – Trenitalia)

4 hours 31 minutes (Italo)

The Most Important Train Stations in Italy

Rome: Roma Termini

Florence: Firenze Santa Maria Novella

Venice: Venezia Santa Lucia

Milan: Milano Centrale

Naples: Napoli Centrale

Turin: Torino Porta Nuova

Bologna: Bologna Centrale 

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On 5/11/2021 at 1:40 PM, Chemical X said:

also wanted to mention that airline NEOS is entering the US market, flying between JFK and Milan Malpensa.  they appear to be a discount carrier.  info is early, but i have heard twice weekly flights to and from, 1 per each day.  their first class seems to be like delta comfort class and they seem to be big dreamliner type planes.  could be a nice low cost option, even if it means taking a train from milan to your final destination.

As a New Yorker, I would like to say, 'oh baby, yes'.  

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Googling the potential NEOS flights, I saw this:

Quote

 Flights will depart JFK at 5:50 pm and arrive at Milan-Malpensa at 7:20 am the next day. Departures from Milan are set for 12:20 pm, arriving in New York at 2:50 pm the same day.

Annoying.  

The correct way to fly to Europe is to get to JFK at 9:30, wash down a muscle relaxer with two glasses of pinot noir in the Amex lounge, board your 10:30 red eye, pass out before the seat belt instructional, and wake up refreshed in Europe around 11:30 am local time.  

Leaving at dinner time, and arriving in time to milk some local cows is not ideal.  

 

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5 minutes ago, massraider said:

Googling the potential NEOS flights, I saw this:

Annoying.  

The correct way to fly to Europe is to get to JFK at 9:30, wash down a muscle relaxer with two glasses of pinot noir in the Amex lounge, board your 10:30 red eye, pass out before the seat belt instructional, and wake up refreshed in Europe around 11:30 am local time.  

Leaving at dinner time, and arriving in time to milk some local cows is not ideal.  

 

disagree.  arriving at 7.20a means car rentals are open, they are not 24h, plus you get a full day.  by the time you land, clear customs, get your transport, you can lose 2-3 hours.  you still have plenty of time to get loaded at the lounge and maybe sneak in the mystery pasta dish from the lounge.  how is that amex lounge by the way?  i usually use the delta cause it’s near the gates.

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6 minutes ago, Chemical X said:

disagree.  arriving at 7.20a means car rentals are open, they are not 24h, plus you get a full day.  by the time you land, clear customs, get your transport, you can lose 2-3 hours.  you still have plenty of time to get loaded at the lounge and maybe sneak in the mystery pasta dish from the lounge.  how is that amex lounge by the way?  i usually use the delta cause it’s near the gates.

Honestly, I think they close earlier anyway, the one time I used it it was afternoon. 

It's amazing. 

https://www.google.com/amp/s/thepointsguy.com/news/amex-centurion-lounge-jfk-first-look/amp/

 

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, jamny said:

I try to enjoy that Tucci food show, love the scenery, food and history, but he's hard to take. So pompous.

Oh man, I feel the opposite. I love his dry sense of humor. 

Edited by ex-ghost
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In an attempt to lure travelers to the region and to revive the local tourism industry, badly hit by the pandemic, the central Italian region of Lazio, home to Italy’s capital of Rome, has launched ‘Più notti, più sogni’ (translates as ‘More nights, more dreams’). 

The initiative, presented during a press conference held by Lazio governor Nicola Zingaretti, allocates 10 million euros, financed by the region itself, to encourage travelers to prolong their stay by providing one free extra night for those booking a holiday of at least three consecutive nights in the region and two free extra nights for those who book five nights.

Participating structures, which need to be approved first, will be listed on the region’s tourism website, Visit Lazio, and expected to be online some time in early June. Bookings can be made directly with the accommodation; the period of stay included by the bonus night package starts on July 1 and continues until depletion of the €10M. 

The initiative also aims to encourage visitors to discover Lazio beyond Rome. All provinces of Frosinone, Rieti, Viterbo and Latina, besides Rome, are involved. During the press conference, the regional tourism advisor Valentina Corrado highlighted how tourists in Lazio can enjoy mountains, sea, hills, and art cities, all in one region. They can also choose among 11 Blue Flag beaches, a recognition of the quality of waters and services, visit museums, taste typical products and participate in cultural and sports events.

In an advertising campaign to be promoted on social media, the region is also set to release a series of videos that highlight some of Lazio’s locations, such as Rome’s Park of the Aqueducts, the ‘dying town’ of Civita di Bagnoregio, the Sacred Woods of Bomarzo with their monstrous sculptures, and Santa Severa Castle, now a youth hostel. The advertising campaign falls under the hashtag #FaiUnSaltoNelLazio (Leap into Lazio), and is intended to attract young people in particular (which must explain the presence of two hip hop dancers doing their moves in front of the sites in the first video that was released). 

The Lazio initiative comes as Italy begins to open its borders to international travelers. Fully vaccinated travelers from the EU and Schengen area countries can enter without having to quarantine. It is still mandatory to present a negative Covid-19 test result on arrival, carried out in the 48 hours preceding entry into Italy.

Travelers from the U.S., Canada, Japan and Israel can enter Italy on Covid-tested flights. 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

the vasari corridor is set to reopen either late 2021 or during 2022.  this is the passage above the ponte vecchio that goes from the uffizi to the pitti palace.  has been closed about 7 years.

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