• Boboli Gardens - Tuscan Countryside - Florence, Italy

  • Piazzele Michelangelo - Sunset Through the Storm - Florence, Italy-2

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The Farmacia of Santa Maria Novella is a place I frequent often; just to have a little “aromatherapy”. When you enter this building, the fragrance is heavenly and so is the décor. This is one of the oldest pharmacies in the world, founded in 1221 by Dominican friars. In 1612, they began selling their products to the outside world, and that tradition continues today.
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There are skin care products, perfumes, elixirs, teas, home fragrances, and more. Inside the facility you can see the beautiful rooms and apothecary of the past complete with the vases, jars, and instruments used. There is a lovely chapel with frescoes recently restored and a small tea room to take a break.
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At Christmas time it is especially crowded with people shopping for gifts and taking breaks from the frenetic pace outside. When you are in Florence, I recommend you not miss this wonderful space. It’s free to enter even if you don’t buy anything and it well worth a visit.
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The Christmas Markets in Italy at Christmas time are so much fun, and there are so many of them! There is the large German Christmas market that is held each year in Piazza Santa Croce. I love to buy a cup of Vin Brule (hot mulled wine) and walk around the different booths in the crisp December air.
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There is the Christmas Market that is held at Palazzo Corsini, which is very upscale and helps cancer research. The Palazzo Corsini is a great venue for this event. Entrance is free and it is worth going to get a glimpse inside the beautiful structure that is usually closed to the public.
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Then there are the many random markets that pop up in all of the piazzas in Florence which sell a variety of things and offer samples a lot of the time! The Christmas markets definitely add to the festivities of the holiday season in Florence and are a great place to buy gifts!
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Wow! What a terrific performance of Jesus Christ Superstar at the Teatro Verdi in Florence! This theater is small and elegant, and the production, starring Ted Neeley. Ted Neeley is most famous for starring in the original motion picture of Jesus Christ Superstar in 1973. I remember when it came out and I was 15 years old and it was incredibly controversial. I loved it even more because of the controversy, which was in keeping with the times.
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This production, now in Florence in 2014 with Ted Neeley at the age of 71 was stunning. Modern technology and a great set, combined with spectacular voices made for a great performance. Well worth the 40 euro per ticket that I paid! The crowd was on their feet at the end everyone was joining in the clapping and singing. I have seen this play (and the movie) many times throughout the years in a variety of theaters and cities.
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This production is touring Italy through the end of the year, and in the beginning of 2015, new screenings of the original movie Jesus Christ Superstar will be presented in select cities in the USA. Look for it in your city!

If you live in Florence, check out the Teatro Verdi website here for upcoming events