The 9 Best Fashion Museums in the World

Fashion week takes over the world in London, Paris, New York City and Milan twice a year but that doesn’t mean fashion lovers can’t get their fill in the rest of the year. All across the world are incredible fashion-focused museums, some free to check out while others accept a small payment. It is here at these museums where visitors will find one-of-a-kind pieces, a history of shoes, more bags and purses in one spot than you ever imagines, famous articles of clothing, avant-garde fashion and more. From Milan the capital of the fashion world to a UNESCO site in Amsterdam to Italy, there are the best fashion museums in the world.

9. Palazzo Morando, Milan

It wouldn’t be a complete list without a fashion museum in one of the worlds most important design capitals. The Palazzo Morando is housed in the Renaissance palace that was at one point home to Milanese noble families until it was donated to the city in 1945.

It wasn’t until 2010 when the Castello Sforzesco’s costume collection was merged with the former Museum of Milan’s collection that this became one very chic museum. Although you won’t find loads of clothes on display like others, this museum features two separate display areas and includes a collection of clothing, accessories, and uniforms. As a bonus, this museum is free and open to the public.

Via Artribune

8. Christian Dior Museum and Garden, Granville, France

This museum is actually the former childhood home of the famous couturier and now is a place of memories dedicated to the life and work of Christian Dior. Since the year 1997 a temporary exhibit is held each summer who theme is linked to the fashion designs of Dior and his fashion house and since 2010 an Autumn and Winter exhibition presents the museums own collection.

This cliff-top villa houses the designer’s exquisite creations as well as pieces from the fashion houses other notable designers including Yves Saint Laurent and John Galliano. Open 7 days a week from 10am-6:30 pm, this is truly a treat for the biggest of fashion lovers.

Via Le Relais du Louvre

7. Ferragamo Museo, Florence Italy

This museum is dedicated to Salvatore Ferragamo, the inventor of the wedge and the cage-heel, one of the greatest inventors when it comes to shoes of all time. The museum opened in 1995 in an effort to illustrate Ferragamo’s artistic qualities and the important role he played in the history of shoe design and international fashion. Much of his success came from Hollywood Starlets across the pond such as Marilyn Monroe.

The museum is host to photographs, sketches, books, magazines and over 10,000 models that were designed by him until 1960 when he passed away. The shoes are on a biennial rotation and are all works of refined craftsmanship. Visitors can marvel at the incredible display of shoes and step back into a true artist’s mind through the many artifacts displayed.

Via style.corriere.it

6. Costume Institute at the Met, New York City

For anyone interested in costume fashion, there is perhaps a no better place on earth than the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This museum is home to over 35,000 costumes and accessories ranging from the 15th century to the present and representing five continents.

It underwent a two-year renovation between 2012-2014 and has since reopened to the public with one more special exhibitions annually. Fashion-focused tours are available year-round that discuss costume history within the context of the Museum’s collection of armor, textiles, paintings and more with an audio guide. If you can attend the annual gala expect plenty of celebrities and high profile fashion designers.

Via amny.com

5. Museum of Bags and Purses (Tassen Museum), Amsterdam

It is the largest of its kind in the world, a fascinating story that features fashion, art, customs, and history. The museum also happens to be situated in a lovely canal house in the center of Amsterdam and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Canal Ring Area.

On display is the development of bags and purses from the Middle Ages to the present day and this is truly the only place in the world where you will find so many handbags in one spot. Featuring 17th-century-period rooms, the actual Versace bag used by Madonna, over 5,000 bags and purses, a lovely restaurant with a view of the gardens and guided tours, a trip here is well worth taking, especially if you just happen to love bags.

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4. Museo De La Moda, Santiago, Chile

This privately operated fashion museum has an incredible permanent collection of Western clothing, particularly from the 20th century and is well known for a few key items. It is here where you can see John Lennon’s jacket from 1966, the cone bra that was designed for Madonna and an evening gown worn by Lady Diana in 1981. There are more than 10,000 pieces in this collection, with only a fraction on display at one time.

Temporary exhibits here are incredible and have ranged from a Michael Jackson tribute to a Mad Men 60’s theme. There are thousands of sketchbooks, photographs, and books on fashion and design that are also available to view as long as an appointment is made in advance. Opened in 2007, this fairly new museum is host to an impressive number of important fashion pieces.

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3. Museum at FIT, New York City

New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology has given the world incredible fashion stars and its museum is one of the only ones in the city that is open to the public. It hosts rotating exhibits that pull from the school’s impressive collection of one-of-a-kind pieces from designers such as Chanel, Alaia, and Halston. Not only does this museum feature exhibits but also talks, tours, lectures, book signings and fashion conversations with leading designers.

The permanent collection here encompasses over 50,00 garments and accessories from the 18th century to the present, with an emphasis on avant-garde fashion. With three different galleries, a photographic studio, workshop, and conservation laboratory this is one impressive museum. Expect patrons here to be dressed to the nines while they check out the fashion.

Via RueBaRue

2. Gucci Museum, Florence

Guccio Gucci started the label in Florence in 1921 and it is fitting that in 2011 a museum devoted to this designed finally opened its doors. The museum provides a history of the Florentine fashion house, containing a permanent exhibit of the iconic pieces of the brand such as bags, clothes, and accessories.

Along with stunning evening gowns including ones worn by Hilary Swank, amusing exhibits such as monogrammed scuba diving flippers and early-edition monogrammed luggage, there is a contemporary art space which features incredible related exhibits. Black and white photographs line the staircase and a Gucci-upholstered car from the 70’s complete the picture here.

Via Florence Inferno

1. Victoria and Albert Museum, London

It is the world’s largest museum dedicated to art and design and contains an incredible collection of costumes and applied arts from all over the world. It can be overwhelming at times to decide what to look at and taking the one-hour tour is a good way to get acquainted. The collections here range from Indian textiles to painful footwear but for the fashion lovers, heading to the fashion section should be first on the list.

It is here where you will find a 400-year span of men and women’s clothing and one gigantic collection of hats, after all this is Britain. Except for occasional special exhibits, this museum is actually free to visit as well. Check out 17th-century gowns, samurai armor and medieval love rings, all on display here at this incredible museum.

Via evelinakhromtchenko.com

The 6 Most Beautiful Views In Italy

We have all wondered where those photographers get those stunning postcard prefect pictures of Italy, but wonder no more. Italy is full of stunning views, whether you are atop an active volcano or looking out from the bell tower of a gorgeous sun bleached church. The best part about these views is that you don’t need to be a professional photographer to capture them. Try to head to these vantage points either early in the morning or at dusk to capture the perfect photo, or leave the camera at home and just enjoy the beauty. Either way, here are six beautiful views in Italy worth checking out.

6. Bell tower of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice

It is well worth it to fork out the few euros for the elevator ride up to the 60-meter high bell tower, which offers incredible views of Venice. It is actually located right across the street from St. Mark’s Basilica, which features long line-ups and a pricey 10 euros to ride up its bell tower. Instead head to this church and monastery for uncrowded views of the entrance to the Grand Canal, the dome of Santa Maria Salute and snow-capped mountain peaks in the distance. This 16th century church is worth visiting on its own, with its brilliant white marble that gleams above the blue water lagoon.

Bell tower of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice

5. Piazzale Michelangelo, Florence

What is visiting Florence if you cannot manage to get that sweeping panoramic that includes both the stunning city and the mountains. The Piazzale Michelangelo is a square that offers just that. To get here, visitors will walk uphill along a beautiful tree-lined street, or take a taxi/bus if you aren’t feeling like walking. The square is dedicated to Renaissance sculptor Michelangelo and has bronze copies of some of his marble works found elsewhere in Florence: the David and the four allegories of the Medici Chapel of San Lorenzo. The view from here is simply stunning, capturing the heart of Florence from Fort Belvedere to Santa Croce, across the lungarni and the bridges crossing the Arno and the octagonal bell tower of the Badia Florentia.

Piazzale Michelangelo, Florence

4. Amalfi Coast

It is hard to narrow down a most beautiful view when it comes to the Amalfi Coast, as there are just so many. But if you feel like strapping on your hiking boots and hitting the trails, you will find some of the best views along the Sentieri degle Dei trail. You will see down the coast all the way to the tip of the peninsula and on a clear day you can eve see Capri. It’s no wonder that this trail’s name is actually ‘Pathway of the Gods’. If hiking isn’t on the agenda another great place to take in the views of the coast is Villa Rufolo, a villa located in the historic center of Ravello, originally constructed in the 13th century. The views from the villa take in the stunning coastline and the sea, and all that is will cost you is $5 euro.

Sentieri degle Dei

3. Janiculum Hill, Rome

It is one of the only places you can capture the entire city of Rome in one spot and visitors here will capture panoramic views of the city, including the Pantheon, Spanish Steps and St. Peter’s Basilica. Janiculum Hill is located just across the river from the centro storico and choose to either hike up the hill or take one of the buses. It is the second tallest hill in the contemporary city of Rome and was believed to be the center for the cult of the god Janus, thus earning its name as Janiculum Hill. It has been home for water mills, the site of a memorable battle and a place of worship. Now it is a spot where locals walk, a park where children play and the best place to see Rome in its entirety.

Janiculum Hill, Rome

2. Mt. Vesuvius, Bay of Naples

It is one of the most explored and well-known volcanoes on earth, due in large part to when it blew its top in A.D. 79 and destroyed the ancient city of Pompeii. This volcano has had no shortages of explosions, including the most recent one in 1944 but that still doesn’t keep locals and tourists from heading to the top to see the epic views. A hike around the crater’s lip will give views of Naples, its sweeping bays and Pompeii. While up there make sure you listen closely as you can heard the occasional cascade of rocks tumbling into the crater. Observe whisps of smoldering steam and take a moment to remember that this all mighty and powerful volcano will most definitely erupt again in your lifetime.

Mt. Vesuvius, Bay of Naples

1. Corniglia-Vernazza Hiking Trail, Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre aka Five Lands are the five small coastal villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso located in Liguria. The best view is the main hiking trail between Vernazza and Corniglia where visitors are treated to gorgeous views of the seaside and Vernazza. While the views are spectacular, hikers should be warned that this is no easy stroll. Much of the path here is steep with sheer drops to the sea below and the journey is made by hundreds of tourists each summer. There is another option that offers almost as spectacular of views. Start from Vernazza on the number 2 trail towards Corniglia and near the beginning of the path make sure to turn around. Here is where you will get that picture postcard view of Vernazza. Try to come here in the morning, as later in the day the sun will be straight in your camera lens.Cinque Terre 2

The 10 Best Cities in the World 2015

More than 128,000 readers of Condé Nast Traveler voted for their favorite cities in the world outside of the U.S. and the votes have been tallied. It should come as no surprise that the major cities such as Rome, London and Paris made the list, thanks to their iconic landmarks, fantastic cuisine and abundance of things to see and do. There are a couple of sneaky cities that made this list, ones that are not obvious at first but once you dig deeper it becomes abundantly clear why they are favorites. Discover the top 10 best cities in the world as of 2015 according to the readers of Condé Nast Traveler:

10. London, England

It is one of the world’s most visited cities and offers an abundance of things to see and do for people of any age. London is a mash of wide-open spaces and chaotic cityscape, a combination that seemingly works for this city. Central London is where you will find the awesome galleries and museums, and the most iconic of sites, the double decked buses and the famous phone booths. The landmarks such as Big Ben, Tower Bridge and the London Eye enthrall visitors as does Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Hampton Court Palace with their beautiful green spaces. There are a ton of restaurants, bars and clubs to choose from when the sun goes down, along with friendly locals. Arts, culture, history- you will find it all here in this city that rates as one of the best 10 cities in the world in 2015.

elenaburn / Shutterstock.com
elenaburn / Shutterstock.com

9. Kyoto, Japan

Step back into time when you visit Japan’s ancient city of Kyoto where quiet temples, sublime gardens and colorful shrines make up the landscape. There are said to be over 1000 Buddhist temples found in this city and it is here where visitors can appreciate the masterpieces of religious architecture. The city is surrounded by mountains on three sides which offer incredible hiking. Don’t be surprised when wandering the streets to find a secret temple or unique shop that you may have passed by and not noticed, as it seems secrets lie throughout this city. A large range of excellent restaurants are located throughout the city, most housed in traditional wooden buildings where you can gaze over incredible gardens while you eat. Experience the ancient times of Japan as you wander the streets, stopping to chat with friendly locals, visit the ancient specialty shops such as pickle vendors or tea merchants and ending your day with a soak in the local public bathhouse. It will be clear why this is one of the best cities in the world.

TungCheung / Shutterstock.com
TungCheung / Shutterstock.com

8. Bruges, Belgium

Entering this city is to be transported into the middle of a fairy-tale that is based in a medieval town. Cobblestone streets, market squares with soaring towers and historic churches at every turn help make this one of the most picturesque cities in the world. Built between the 12th and 15th century, it remains one of the best preserved medieval cities. Dreamy canals link the market squares, nighttime brings evening floodlighting and in the spring the daffodils cover the courtyards. It is one of the most visited cities as well, due to its overwhelming beauty. Visiting in the winter is the best away to avoid the throngs of tourists, and although cold and icy, there is something magical about this medieval city when it’s covered in snow. Make sure you spend at least a couple of days exploring here.

Emi Cristea / Shutterstock.com
Emi Cristea / Shutterstock.com

7. Prague, Czech Republic

This beautiful historic town is worth visiting for the beer alone- kidding, sort of. Arguably, it does boast the best beer in Europe but there are so many other reasons that this city was voted number 7 as the best in the world. It’s maze of cobbled streets and hidden courtyards are a paradise for those who love to wander throughout the city, exploring ancient chapels, awe-inspiring gardens and hidden pubs with no tourists in site. The landmarks are truly spectacular here, from the 14th century stone bridge to the hilltop castle to the lovely lazy river that inspired one of the most beautiful pieces of 19th century classical music, Smetana’s Moldau. Quirky doesn’t even begin to describe this city, with its nuclear hidden bunkers, cubist lampposts and interesting fountains. Marvel at the Bohemian art, discover the stunning architecture and order a beer by simply placing a beer mat on the table.

Prague, Czech Republic

6. Rome, Italy

Italy’s eternal city continues to enthrall visitors from all over the globe. Rome is known for its history, fine art and incredible food. There are endless sights to take in including The Colosseum, Pantheon and St. Peter’s Basilica. There are extraordinary restaurants to eat at, cafés to drink at and tiny local shops down alley ways that serve up the best pizza and pasta you have ever had in your life. Masterpieces by Michelangelo and fountains by Bernini are strewn throughout the city as well as towering ancient churches overflowing with beautiful stained glass and ornate decorations. Whether you are a history buff that can spend weeks wandering through this city, or a foodie who wants to enjoy local wine and fine dining, or someone who just wants to experience an incredible city, full of locals with a gruff sense of humor, Rome should be at the top of your list.

Vatican Museums Rome

5. Paris, France

It has established itself as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, boasting iconic landmarks, cobblestone streets, historic buildings and charming sidewalk cafes. There would be no point in visiting this city if you are planning on skipping the most iconic landmark, the Eiffel Tower. Make sure not to miss the other “big” sights though, such as the Arc de Triomphe, the Notre Dame cathedral, and the impressive Louvre. Finding a place to grab a bite to eat here is almost overwhelming as it’s reputation for cuisine is outstanding. Whether you are looking for a neighborhood bistro or an epic fine dining experience, every single establishment here prides itself on it’s food and wine. Paris also happens to be one of the great art repertoires of the world, with scores of museums throughout the city, from the famous Louvre to the smaller ones boasting contemporary and modern art. There is no shortage of places to discover in this incredible city.

cesc_assawin / Shutterstock.com
cesc_assawin / Shutterstock.com

4. Sydney, Australia

It is Australia’s biggest city and even after spending a month here it can feel as though you have barely scratched the surface of what it has to offer. The city can be loud, in your face and chaotic offering crazy firework displays, drag queen clubs, hip bars, live music and no shortage of parties to attend. Sydney can also be wild in terms of nature, with National Parks bordering the city and working their way into it. Native critters show up in unsuspecting places and parks compete with skyscrapers and suburbs. Spend endless hours at the beach, specifically Bondi Beach, one of the world’s greatest beaches. Dine at lively restaurants, visit the Sydney Tower for spectacular views from the glass platform or spend hours’ people watching from one of the outdoor cafes.

Bondi Beach Sydney Australia

3. Vienna, Austria

Packed with history, host to great nightlife, full of incredible restaurants and home to quiet tucked away corners, Vienna is a city that begs to be explored. It is one of the most musical cities in the world in part due to the great number of composers and musicians that were born here, lived here and worked here. Visitors to the city should count on taking in the incredible music at one of the famous music venues such as the Staatsoper and Musikverein. Dining in the city is always a treat with its bistro pubs serving up delicious brews and wine, or in creative restaurants where chefs are taking things to a new culinary level. An incredible transportation system makes it easy to get around, the city is known for being incredible safe and the locals are both welcoming and friendly.

volkova natalia / Shutterstock.com
volkova natalia / Shutterstock.com

2. Budapest, Hungary

This city is rich in history, natural cites and unique cuisine, drawing visitors from all over the world. A famous hallmark of Budapest is their hot springs that surround the city, making bathhouses one of the most popular activities in the city. Soak your troubles away in one of the many that are located within the city. Budapest is often called “The Paris of the East” due to its stunning architecture including Roman ruins and the Buda Castle which was built in 1265. Don’t count on just indulging in goulash, there is actually a lot more to Hungarian food and Budapest has the reputation of being a food capital, offering incredible dining options along with excellent wine. Discover a city whose history is almost too complex to understand, a city that is rebuilding with hope and reconciliation, a city that will leave you feeling in awe of it.

pavel dudek / Shutterstock.com
pavel dudek / Shutterstock.com

1. Florence, Italy

Despite Rome and its incredible architecture, and Milan- fashion capital of the world; the best city in Italy and the world in 2015 is actually Florence. Some say you can visit time and time again and not see it all. This city is romantic, magnetic and busy, home to incredible world-class art, food and wine. Don’t miss the iconic Uffizi Gallery or the modern-art museum- Museo Novecento, as well as the Palazzo Vecchio, the stunning fortress palace. Head to the maze of streets in San Lorenzo for a food lover’s paradise or to the 400-year-old pharmacy that still sells traditional elixirs in the central square of Piazza di Santa Maria Novella. The narrow streets of this city tell a thousand tales, through its historic buildings, through the food and wine, and it’s no wonder why it’s number one on this list.

Florence Italy

12 Amazing Galleries Every Art Lover Should Visit

So much more than décor, artistic works have long been used as modes of self-expression and cultural identity, as well as tangible historical tools that visually display the progression of society throughout the ages. Through changes and innovations in technique, mediums and subject matter, a piece of art has the ability to transport the viewer to different points in time, or alternatively (in the case of the modern movement) to different realms of consciousness, and provide some insight into a highly subjective human endeavor. For those of you that want to revel at works that are classical, weird and everything in between, here are the world’s top 10 must-see galleries.

12. Auckland Art Gallery – Auckland, New Zealand

Since opening in 1881, Auckland Art Gallery remains the largest gallery of fine and visual art in New Zealand, currently holding over 15,000 works dating from the 11th century to the present. What started out as a small collection of pieces by European masters, has now grown into the most comprehensive collection of New Zealand art, as well as distinguished pieces by Maori and Pacific Island artists. Art lovers will love how this smaller gallery contrasts with the (though beautiful) often overwhelming scale of the famous European galleries, and appreciate the chance to admire how such an architecturally split environment (the building is part renaissance and part modern) beautifully showcases such a diverse range of works.

ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock.com
ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock.com

11. Rijksmuseum – Amsterdam, Netherlands

Translated literally, Rijksmuseum means “state museum” and is just that, chronicling the development and progression of Dutch art and history through its vast collection of paintings, sketches, photography and applied arts. The newly updated gallery, which reopened in 2013 after a 10-year renovation, offers a unique art-viewing experience, displaying all types of pieces (i.e. paintings, sculptures, furnishings, etc) together in galleries organized by time period. Though holding a small amount of international art, including a dignified collection of Asian art, it is the works hanging in the Gallery of Honor that are the highlight of the museum. It in this corridor that you will find the masterpieces of the Dutch Golden Age of painting, including Vermeer’s The Milkmaid and Frans Hals’ Portrait of a Couple, all leading to the gallery’s most treasured piece: Rembrandt’s Night Watch.

Mediagram / Shutterstock.com
Mediagram / Shutterstock.com

10. Prado Museum – Madrid, Spain

Established in 1819, the Museo del Prado in Madrid contains the single largest Spanish art collection in the world, along with notable European fine art works of the 12th-19th centuries. In fact, in addition to displaying works by Francisco de Goya, Diego Velazquez and El Greco, the Prado now also houses the largest collection of art by the Italian masters outside of Italy. A stroll through this national art museum will reveal such well-known pieces as Fra Angelico’s The Annunciation, Rubens’ The Three Graces, and Goya’s The Third of May: The Execution on Principe Pio.

The Prado Museum Madrid

9. National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art – Seoul, South Korea

Composed of several branches in the Seoul area, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art was opened in 1969 as the country’s only gallery devoted solely to works  from 1910 and onwards. The main branch, located in Gwacheon, currently houses over 7,000 works featuring well known Korean artists such as Ko-Hui Dong, Ku Boh-Ung and Kim Whan-Ki, as well as a sizeable collection of international artists like Andy Warhol, Joseph Beuys and Marcus Lupertz. Art lovers will also appreciate the gallery’s commitment to discovering and showcasing the works of artists new to the contemporary art scene in its many temporary events and exhibitions.

Joymsk140 / Shutterstock.com
Joymsk140 / Shutterstock.com

8. Musee D’Orsay – Paris, France

Opened in 1986 in the former D’Orsay railway stations (originally built for the 1900 World Exhibition), the gallery contains a vast selection of fine art pieces created between 1848 and 1914. The collection is comprised mainly of works from the Louvre, the Musee du Jeu de Paume which became devoted exclusively to Impressionism in 1947 and the National Museum of Modern Art, which in 1976 trimmed its collection to only include pieces by artists born after 1870. Today, the gallery houses six unique collections in several artistic disciplines (paintings, sculpture, objets d’art, photographs, graphic arts and architecture) and is home to Renoir’s Bal du Moulin de la Galette, Manet’s Olympia and Cezanne’s The Cardplayers.

pio3 / Shutterstock.com
pio3 / Shutterstock.com

7. The National Gallery – London, England

The National Gallery in London’s Trafalgar Square holds the country’s national collection of art (it belongs to the people, so admission is free!) and consists of over 2,000 Western European paintings dating from the medieval period to the 19th century. The national collection was established in 1824 with the English government’s £57,000 purchase of John Julius Angerstein’s 38-piece personal collection. Originally displayed at Angerstein’s house, the Parliament agreed to construct a dedicated gallery building in 1831, doors opened at the current location in 1838. The collection greatly expanded in the early 1860s under director Charles Eastlake, and now contains several must-see works such as Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, Titian’s Bacchus and Ariadne and Monet’s Bathers at La Grenouillere.

The National Gallery, London

6. Tate Modern – London, England

Another London staple, the Tate Modern is one of four museums in the Tate family and, as its name suggests, houses the UK’s national contemporary and modern art collection (dating from 1900 and later). Housed in a converted former power station in the banks of the river Thames, the gallery offers a unique experience for art lovers, displaying pieces in thematic zones rather than in typical chronological order. The themes currently on exhibit are Energy and Processes, Structure and Clarity, Poetry and Dream and Making Traces, and feature works by Picasso, Rothko and Rothschild.

Tupungato / Shutterstock.com
Tupungato / Shutterstock.com

5. Uffizi Gallery – Florence, Italy

An unlikely home for fine art masterpieces, the Uffizi Gallery was originally commissioned by Cosimo de Medici in 1560 to hold the offices of the Florentine Magistrates and Judiciaries. Today, this original purpose is especially evident in the gallery’s cramped spaces which were built to accommodate just a few individuals, not the thousands that now flock through its doors each day. Nevertheless, the Uffizi is one of Italy’s best attractions, containing 45 halls that chronologically display works from the 13th to 18th centuries. Highlights of the collection are Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus and Michelangelo’s Doni Tondo, and also not to be missed are the gallery’s iconic Vasari Corridor and Octagonal Tribune designed by Bernardo Buontalenti.

T photography / Shutterstock.com
T photography / Shutterstock.com

4. Vatican Museum – Vatican City, Italy

Dating back to 1503, today’s Vatican Museum is comprised of a combination of pontifical museums and galleries, whose acquisitions began with Pope Julius II’s collection of sculptures. The complex now houses quite a large number of museums, exhibiting everything from Christian Antiquities to ancient tapestries and mosaics to religious and secular relics. The museum also contains a vast painting gallery (Pinacoteca) which opened in 1932 and consists of over 400 paintings displayed more or less chronologically from the 12th to 19th centuries. Undeniably, the largest draws of this museum are the incomparable pieces found within the Sistine Chapel, where visitors can admire the works of Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Rosellini and Signorelli, as well as the world famous ceiling masterpiece by Michelangelo.

Vatican Museums Rome

3. State Hermitage – St. Petersburg, Russia

As one of the world’s largest museums at over two million square feet, and housing over three million items, the State Hermitage Museum complex holds an astounding collection of fine art that is a must see for any art lover. Housed in 120 galleries in four of the Hermitage’s main buildings—the Winter Palace, Great Hermitage, Small hermitage and New Hermitage—visitors  will find the works of Matisse, Degas, Titian, and Rembrandt. The collection, which was established in 1764 by Catherine the Great, now consists of over 600,000 works of art and includes such famous paintings as Da Vinci Benois Madonna, Matisse’s Dance and Rembrandt’s Flora.

Popova Valeriya / Shutterstock.com
Popova Valeriya / Shutterstock.com

2. The Metropolitan Museum of Art – New York City, USA

The largest gallery in the United States, The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the biggest attractions in NYC, drawing over six million visitors each year. And once you’ve seen it, it’s easy to see why—the current collection includes over 2,500 European paintings, the largest Egyptian art collection (outside of Egypt) and the world’s largest collection of American artistic works. The museum also boasts extensive holdings in African, Asian and Islamic Art, as well as an impressive amount of antique weapons, armor and costumes. With over two million works housed in over two million square feet of space, the Met has something for everyone, making it a must-see for art lovers of all styles and periods.

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
T photography / Shutterstock.com

1. The Louvre – Paris, France

As the largest and arguably most well-known art gallery in the world, the Louvre currently houses over 35,000 artistic works and draws over eight million visitors a year. With a history dating back to the 12th century as a city fortress, and later, royal residence, the galleries of the Louvre were not used for art exhibition until 1699 when the artist residents held their first “salon”. The Museum Central des Arts (located in the Salon Carre and Grande Galerie) was opened to the public in 1793 with a growing collection of paintings that eventually expanded into other parts of the building. The site became exclusively devoted to culture in 1882, and today consists of over 650,000 square feet of exhibition space holding some of the world’s most renowned masterpieces, including Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People and Durer’s Self Portrait.

cesc_assawin / Shutterstock.com
cesc_assawin / Shutterstock.com

6 European City Escapes Perfect for a Weekend

There are countless European cities and towns to top a traveler’s list of continental adventures—many quintessential for a weekend getaway. So many fascinating details comprise the historical aspects of Europe’s greatest cities, showcased throughout museums, galleries, and impressive landmarks dotted across the continent. Add in some interesting gentrification, modern cultural amusements, and spice it up with a whole lot of contemporary fixings, and these six cities skip to the beat of their own drum. Whether you’re a budget traveler or a big spender, the following cities welcome almost any budget and propensity.

6. Rome, Italy

“Rome wasn’t built in a day” couldn’t be more sincere. The legendary city practically bleeds history through incredible, ancient buildings, beginning with the Forum. To the west is Capitoline Hill, to the east the renowned Colosseum, and the south is celebrated for the Baths of Caracalla and Palatine Hill. The backdrop along the beautiful River Tiber sets scenes for days of old and unbridled romance: you’ll find ancient Rome, Vatican City, endless cathedrals, and the Renaissance capital of Raphael and Michelangelo. Make time for the trendy shops, lively café culture, and fashionable restaurants—it’s all just one big, modern and delightful dichotomy. If you’re in Rome for history, forgo the car and relish instead in the pedestrian center where most famous ruins and buildings are clustered or hop the metro, ditching the dizzying traffic jams. Slip into Rome’s Mediterranean tempo while perusing the historical legacies and 21st century pleasures.

Rome, Italy

5. London, England

Incredible diversity, pulsing energy, centuries-old history, and innovatively impressive, London is England’s most progressive city. The Thames River carves through London like a snake, flanked by attractions both exciting and scenic. Head to central London to the most famous sites, including galleries, museums, and legendary landmarks but relax in the fact that, when the busy pace is overwhelming, there is a wide choice of green spaces to unwind, like pretty Hyde Park. Take pub culture by the horns—there’s no better place to pub hop—and sample some of the beautifully diverse, ethnic restaurants along with local English favourites. “Mind the Gap” as you venture onto the city’s renowned Tube, and enjoy affordable and convenient transportation. Take a twirl on the London Eye, crane your neck at Big Ben, and revel in the arts at Tate Modern—it would take years to soak this city up in its entirety.

Top Cities 2013 - London

4. Florence, Italy

Rolling hills, cypress trees, and olive groves come to mind when conjuring landscapes surrounding Florence in Italy’s Tuscany region. This is where you won’t just explore a piazza, you’ll experience it while settling in for an unforgettable meal or remarkable wine. Fans of art from the Renaissance shouldn’t miss this haven of period pieces, best seen at the Uffizi Gallery Museum. The Arno River passes through, setting the scene for a different mood from sunup to sundown while slender streets give way to historic palaces, towering cathedrals, and busy piazzas. As romantic as it all is, fashion is as fundamental in Florence as the arts are; both Roberto Cavalli and Gucci were born in the city, breaking bread with the well-dressed wealthy amid the wine-fueled cocktail parties in the hills. Fashion doesn’t rule the roost though; there’s plenty of history, great nightlife, and sights for non-Fashionistas to enjoy too.

Florence Cathedral

3. Munich, Germany

Crowds flock to Munich for Oktoberfest—the best destination for the Autumn celebration—and are equally enthralled with its beautiful, summertime setting, yet Munich can be enjoyed in any season. This Bavarian capital is party central, supremely conveyed when in the Old City (Altstadt), when every square is filled with people eating, drinking, and enjoying life. The beer gardens and local Hofbräuhaus are typically German, brimming with revelry. Sophistication and culture is as much a part of Munich as the merriment is, evident throughout a prominent arts community, gastronomic endeavors, and mercantile joys. Less gritty than Hamburg or Berlin, Munich’s central core is lively and enchanting, where the chime of church bells entrances and the streets are fitted for people over cars. Safe, clean, and somewhat rustic, visitors can walk or cycle the English Garden, shop, eat, and drink in the Gärtnerplatz, then cruise on over to the traditional farmer’s style Viktualienmarkt.

Marienplatz Munich

2. Barcelona, Spain

Catalonia’s capital city is drenched in history while featuring so many modern twists, it’s downright mind-boggling. Barcelona is one of the most thrilling cities in the world, hitting on just about every interest, from family fun to some pretty wild nightlife. The spread of attractions is incredible: Gothic architecture, vibrant markets, lovely beaches, and pumped up nightlife. Galleries and world class museums exhibit cultural highlights along with a full roster of music and theater performances. If you haven’t heard of Gaudi, look him up immediately. His jaw-dropping, magically styled buildings are literally unlike anything in the world. Every shopaholic gawks at what’s on offer throughout popular retail avenues of Passeig de Gracia and Placa de Catalunya while casual souvenir seekers love unusual shops along Las Ramblas, a colourful pedestrian avenue. From the Gothic district to the endless collection of famous Spanish tapas restaurants, there’s something here for everyone.

Park Guell Barcelona Spain

1. Prague, Czech Republic

The capital city of the Czech Republic, Prague, is one of the world’s most breathtaking cities. One sweeping look and Prague administers a scenic trance with its incredible skyline, soaring stone buildings, and cobblestone streets. The pull of the gardens and Renaissance palaces inside the Little Quarter (Mala Strana) seem extra magnetic for the riverside location and museums of modern art, along with fantastic bars and restaurants, colour this district with charisma—just south is pub-laden Smíchov. The 14th century Charles Bridge carves through; a spectacle and hotspot overlooking lazy and exquisite Vltava River, and the perfect spot to admire Prague Castle. Wandering aimlessly is how to really see Prague in its glory of mazy courtyards and cobblestone streets, always pulling you in for a little more. Walk through Old Town where unanticipated gardens, old school pubs, and pleasant cafes eat into hours, especially through neighborhoods like Bubeneč and Vinohrady.

Prague

10 Must-Try Foods In Florence, Italy

Surprise! Italian food isn’t, strictly speaking, “Italian food.” There are lots of similarities, but for the most part, each of Italy’s 20 regions serves up its own distinct cuisine. Tuscany is no exception. Many visitors book cooking tours through the region, but there’s no reason to miss out on the food if you remain in Florence. A food and wine tour offered by a passionate local, such as Curious Appetite, is a fantastic way to learn about the city’s most delicious nibbles. A tour is a great starting point, but make sure you don’t leave Florence without trying each item on this list.

10. Schiacciata

The cuisine of Tuscany is known as cucina povera, or “poor kitchen,” and the bread of Florence embodies this concept. It’s said that in the 12th century, Florentines didn’t want to pay a salt tax to nearby rivals Pisa, and so they’ve been making their bread without it ever since. Much of the bread served in the city is bland, so the schiacciata is a lovely surprise. It’s a flat bread drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt, much like what many of us know as focaccia. Try it stuffed with salumi and cheese for a mid-day snack.

Schiacciata Focaccia

9. Cantucci

If you’re looking for ultra-rich, ultra-sweet sweets, Florence bakeries might not be the place for you. This is a cuisine that uses olive oil rather than butter, after all. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pause and sample the treats those lovely little pasticceria are offering up. Stop in and pick up a bag of cantucci, tiny biscotti made with almonds. These twice-baked little gems are lovely dunked in your morning cappuccino or evening espresso (never, ever have your cappuccino after noon!) but even better if you dip them into the local dessert wine known as Vin Santo.

Cantucci

8. Zuppa di fagioli

Tuscans are known as “bean-eaters”, so don’t allow yourself to leave Florence without sampling at least one dish made with cannellini beans. Fagioli all’uccelletto is a popular side dish in the city. If you know a little Italian, don’t be alarmed – there are no birds, or uccelli, present in this dish. It consists solely of cannellini beans stewed in olive oil and tomatoes, with a bit of salt, garlic and sage to impart flavor. The dish may sound simple, or even boring, but it’s an excellent accompaniment to the roast meats prominent in Tuscan cuisine.

Zuppa di fagioli

7. Panzanella

Spending your summer vacation in Florence? Be sure to try this local salad, which once again embraces the Tuscan tradition of “poor cooking.”  Leftover, stale bread is used to create a delicious meal. The bread is soaked in water, then squeezed dry. Tomatoes, onions, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper are added to create the customary Florentine panzanella. The bread can be soaked in the vinegar or basil might be added to the finished product, but additional ingredients – capers, mozzarella, or lemon juice, just to name a few – are looked down on by those that embrace tradition.

Panzanella

6. Gelato

Gelato is not confined to Tuscany. Nor is there a particular “spin” given to it in Florence (although some say it was born there). But it’s not possible to spend time in this city and not be confronted with heaps upon heaps of creamy gelato, enticing the weary tourist to stop for refreshment. Don’t fall for it! The best gelato is handmade in small batches, and there are no vivid pinks or bright greens to be found. Look for small stores displaying nothing but covered tubs, and do your best to sample what’s in season.

Gelato

5. Ribollita

Whereas you’d eat panzanella in the summer, come winter you’re more likely to find ribollita on the menu (don’t worry; gelato can be consumed year-round). This dish, whose name means “reboiled”, might best be described as a soup, but the texture is ultimately much thicker than even a stew. Ribollita is yet another Tuscan dish with roots in cucina povera, as it originated as a use for the previous day’s minestrone and was thickened with day-old bread. You might not expect it from a dish composed of stale bread, kale, carrots, tomatoes and other assorted vegetables, but it’s remarkably tasty.

Ribollita

4. Pappardelle with cinghiale sauce

Cinghiale, or wild boar, is a bit of thing in Florence – there’s even a fountain featuring one in the city’s New Market. You’ll often find pasta with wild boar sauce chalked up on the menu boards scattered around the city. Foreigners might find this a bit outside of their comfort zone, but if you’re one that enjoys pig, you’ll definitely love this gamier version, which ups the flavors of a pork ragu. The sauce is most likely served over pappardelle, a rather wide noodle favored in Tuscany, although sometimes it will be served over tagliatelle, a noodle which resembles fettuccine.

Pappardelle with cinghiale sauce

3. Olive Oil

Many of the olive trees in the groves surrounding Florence are said to be around 600 years old, and those ancient limbs are the ones that provide the tastiest fruit. In Tuscany, olive oil isn’t a luxury, but rather a necessity, present at every meal. And like wine, olive oil differs based on climate, growing conditions, the soil, and other factors. Olive oil from Tuscany has a more delicate taste than those from further south, although the flavors vary even from town to town. Stop in at shops around Florence and it’s likely the proprietors will let you sample a few!

Olive oil

2. Bistecca alla Fiorentina

This Florentine dish is for serious carnivores only. But no matter how much you love meat, don’t attempt to tackle this one alone! Bistecca alla Fiorentina is a T-bone steak that typically weighs in at well over a pound, brought to diners with the meat hanging over the edges of the plate. The beef comes from the local Chianina cattle and the steak is meant to be served rare – this is where that bland Tuscan bread is a perfect accompaniment, allowing diners to soak up all the juices. Those juices are the only “sauce” you’ll find on this steak, but the meat is so delicious you’ll need nothing else.

Bistecca alla Fiorentina

1. Lampredotto

Hands down, the dish you absolutely must eat when visiting Florence. If you have squeamish members of your party, just don’t tell them that lampredotto is made of the fourth cow’s stomach. If you yourself are unadventurous, you’ll forget all about the fact that you’re consuming tripe once it melts in your mouth. This ultimate “poor kitchen” dish is available in restaurants, but is often best at one of Florence’s food stalls or carts. There it is typically served as a sandwich, with the lampredotto layered inside crusty bread that’s been dipped in the broth the meat was cooked in.

Lampredotto

10 Things to See and Do in Florence

Florence is the capital city of Italy’s Tuscany region and is historically famous as it’s considered the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. With a population of approximately 380,000, it is also the most populous city in the Tuscany region. Florence was proclaimed a World Heritage Site in 1982 and is rich in culture with its Renaissance art, architecture, monuments, palaces, churches, numerous art galleries and museums. This incredible heritage has given it the distinction of being called one of the most beautiful cities in the world by Forbes Magazine and is ranked among the top 50 fashion capitals of the world. You can roam some of the oldest streets in the city to the Arno River and the see the newest area of Florence called the “Oltrarno”. Whether you enjoy museums, old architecture, art or the outdoors, there is something breathtaking and awesome to see in this incredible city.

10. Florence Street Sign Art

While traveling through Florence, you may notice something a little unusual about the street signs. Though all the other historical architecture and beauty around you may distract you from paying much attention to the street signs, (especially if you’re traveling on foot) it’s worth paying attention. The signs are a virtual pop art exhibition. An artist by the name of Clet Abraham living in Italy for over 20 years, has been enhancing Florence’s visual experience by altering the traffic signs adding stickers and secretly creating humorous scenes out of the ordinary signage posted all over the city. Since the stickers are removable, his artwork is often short-lived but not unnoticed or unappreciated. He has created some controversial works of art as well but it’s mostly received with great admiration. Over the years, the municipality has come to accept his work and it is slowly becoming quite a tourist attraction. Clet actually has a studio in Via Dell’Olmo where you can buy stickers and see more of his work. Whether or not you have children with you, discovering the hidden treasures created by Clet is an enjoyable experience for all.

Italianvideophotoagency / Shutterstock.com
Italianvideophotoagency / Shutterstock.com

9. Shopping

While visiting Florence, you will want to take the opportunity to visit some of the numerous shops located here. There are vintage shops, designer boutiques and luxury shops you won’t want to miss while looking for something new and fashionable or for some souvenirs to take home. Via Tornabuoni, Via della Vigna Nuova, and Via dei Calzaiuoli are home to many luxurious shops, designer boutiques and jewelry stores. If you have a little money to burn, you’ll want to visit these streets in the Santa Maria Novella district or you can at least window shop and dream of owning them one day. Via Maggio is known as the destination for antique collectors. Located near Pitti Palace, the street is full of antique shops featuring treasures from as far back as the Renaissance. The San Lorenzo Market features many leather shops if you are looking for a new bag or jacket. For those looking for something a little more budget friendly, a stop at some of the outdoor flea markets located in and around Mercato Centrale in the San Lorenzo district is a great place to shop for just about anything including great food to sustain you on your journey.

Eddy Galeotti / Shutterstock.com
Eddy Galeotti / Shutterstock.com

8. The Florence Baptistery

The Florence Baptistery, also known as Baptistery of Saint John is a minor basilica in Florence. It’s an octagonal building standing in both the Piazza del Duomo and the Piazza di San Giovanni. It was constructed sometime between 1059 and 1128 in the Florentine Romanesque style making it one of the oldest buildings in the city. It’s renowned for its three artistic sets of bronze doors featuring relief sculptures created by Andrea Pisano and Lorenzo Ghiberti. Michelangelo called the east doors the Gates of Paradise. Many historically significant people were baptized here including the poet Dante, members of the Medici family and other notable people of the Renaissance. By the end of the 19th century, all Catholic Florentines were baptized here. The octagonal shape has become commonplace for baptisteries since the number eight is a symbol of regeneration in Christianity. Under the roof on the corners are lions’ heads with human heads under their claws. On the west side is a rectangular apse and on the roof there is an octagonal lantern. It is a beautiful holy building to enjoy while visiting the city.

The Florence Baptistery

7. Ponte Vecchio

The Ponte Vecchio or Old Bridge is a medieval stone bridge crossing the Arno River featuring closed-spandrel segmental arches. The bridge is well known for having shops built along it and though in the past the shops were occupied by butchers, they are now home to jewelers, art dealers and souvenir vendors. There are two other bridges crossing the river as well -Ponte Santa Trinita and the Ponte alle Grazie. It is believed that the concept of “bankruptcy” originated here when a merchant could not pay his debts and the table he used to sell his wares (banco) was broken (rotto) by soldiers. This practice was called bancorotto (broken table) and possibly became banca rotta meaning broken bank since the merchant had no more table or place to sell his wares. There are many padlocks along the bridge popularly connected to the idea of love. It’s thought that by locking the lock and throwing the key into the river, the lovers are eternally connected. However, there is now a fine for doing this, so the frequency of this practice has decreased substantially.

Ponte Vecchio

6. Pitti Palace

The Pitti Palace (Palazzo Pitti) is an enormous Renaissance palace situated on the south side of the Arno River near the Ponte Vecchio. It was purchased by the Medici family in 1549 and served as the chief residence of the families of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. Through the years, many treasures were amassed by the families and it has since become a museum displaying paintings, plates, jewelry and other luxurious collections. In 1919, the palace and its contents were donated to the people of Italy by King Victor Emmanuel III. It’s the largest museum in Florence with its main palazzo block measuring 32,000 square meters and divided into several galleries. The main gallery is known as the Palatine Gallery housing over 500 (primarily Renaissance) paintings which were once part of the Medici family collection displayed as it would be in a private collection. The works are hung and displayed as they would have been in grand rooms as they were intended rather than in chronological order or according to school of art. The other galleries also consist of numerous rooms and incredible works of art.

Palazzo Pitti

5. Boboli Gardens

The Boboli Gardens is a picturesque park located in Florence with one of its main features being a collection of sculptures dating from the 16th to the 18th centuries and some Roman antiquities. Located behind the Pitti Palace, the gardens are some of the first and most familiar formal Italian gardens of the 16th century. The layout provides wide gravel walkways, statues and fountains and many incredible details incorporated into the semi-private and public sectors making it an exquisite pleasure to experience. The lavishness of the gardens was unprecedented in its time only to be enjoyed by the Medici family since no parties or entertainment were ever hosted there. Because there is no natural water source to the gardens, a conduit was built to the Arno River to feed water into an elaborate irrigation system. You won’t want to miss a stroll through these Gardens while in Florence. The artistry and natural beauty is breathtaking and the Amphitheater and Andromeda fountain are works of art only enhanced by nature’s hand.

Boboli Gardens

4. Basilica of Santa Croce

The Basilica of Santa Croce (Basilica of the Holy Cross) is a minor basilica of the Roman Catholic Church and a principal Franciscan Church located in Florence. Located in the Piazza di Santa Croce, it’s the burial place of many historically important and famous Italians like Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Foscolo, Gentile and Rossini, giving it the moniker The Temple of the Italian Glories (Tempio dell’Itale Glorie). With 16 chapels displaying many frescoes, tombs and cenotaphs, it is the largest Franciscan church in the world. Inside is a magnificent floor plan of a Tau Cross (a symbol of St. Francis) 115 meters in length with a nave and two aisles separated by octagonal columns.  The 19th century facade consists of an ornate design with a Star of David prominently displayed in the center. In the cloister, there is a monument dedicated to Florence of Nightingale who was born in Florence and named after the city. The former dormitory of the Franciscan friars is now the location of the Scuola del Cuoio (Leather School) where visitors can watch creations being made for sale in the adjacent shop.

Basilica of Santa Croce

3. Piazzale Michelangelo

Piazzale Michelangelo is the premier place to have a panoramic view of Florence. It’s a public square with observation points offering a magnificent perspective on the city below. The square was built in 1869 on a hill just south of the center during the “rebirth” of the city’s middle class. It was dedicated to the famous sculptor Michelangelo…hence the name. Some bronze copies of some of his famous marble works can be found there, such as David and the four allegories of the Medici Chapel of San Lorenzo. This popular tourist spot offers more than just an amazing view of Florence and the Arno Valley. When the terrace was being built, a hillside building was added intended as a museum to display Michelangelo’s sculptures but that never materialized and now the building houses a restaurant where many visitors enjoy a meal while taking in the view. You can access the Piazzale by car along a lovely tree-lined street called Viale Michelangelo, take a tour bus ride or on foot up the stairs or ramps from the Piazza Giuseppe Poggi. However you decide to get there, don’t forget to bring a camera to preserve the picture perfect beauty for a lifetime.

Piazzale Michelangelo

2. Uffizi Gallery

Built at the request of Francisco de’ Medici in 1581, the Uffizi gallery is the primary art museum of Florence and one of the best known museums in the world, housing art mostly from the Renaissance. It’s home to some extraordinary pieces of work by world renowned artists such as Botticelli, Giotto, Michaelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Raffaello to name a few. The works from all centuries are featured here, though the largest part of the collection dates from the 12th to the 17th centuries. The Uffizi Gallery welcomes more than a million visitors annually and with good reason. This must-see destination houses some of the world’s most famous artists and their masterpieces. The Gallery is currently under extensive renovations to help ease your visit with modernization as well as making improvements to the preservation of the works within it. The museum is still open while these improvements are being made, but things could be moved around. Since it’s spread out across three storeys, you will want to plan your visit ahead of time to find out what stage renovations are at, so you will get to see what you want to see.

T photography / Shutterstock.com
T photography / Shutterstock.com

1. Florence Cathedral 

The Florence Cathedral or Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower, is the main church of Florence. Construction on the Gothic style building began in 1296 and it was structurally completed in 1436. The basilica face consists of polychrome marble panels in different shades of green and pink and bordered in white, accented by a 19th century Gothic revival facade. Located in the Piazza del Duomo, the cathedral complex consists of three major buildings and include the Baptistery and Giotto’s Campanile. They are a major tourist attraction in Tuscany right in the heart of the historic center of Italy. The basilica is one of the largest churches in Italy featuring the largest brick dome ever constructed. It was built on the site of the church of Santa Reparata and the remains can still be seen in the crypt. A statue of the architects responsible for the building and dome can be seen overlooking their masterpiece to the right of the cathedral. The inside of the cathedral is quite plain comparatively, but features attractive mosaic pavements, the not so common working clock above the entrance and intricate artwork. It’s quite cool in the summer making it a wonderful place to escape the heat and take in some history.

Florence Cathedral

10 Worst Cities in the World for Pickpocketing

When you are traveling, you always need to be watchful of your valuables. This is especially true of items that you carry in your pockets. When you are traveling in a foreign country, you need to be especially careful in certain places that are known for pickpockets. Here is a guide to the ten worst cities in the world for pickpockets.

1. Barcelona

This beautiful Spanish seaside city hides a danger underneath its surface. It is notorious for thieves who like to prey on unsuspecting tourists. The large crowds and boisterous noise provide the perfect environment for pickpockets to operate.
Pickpocket 1

2. Prague

This is widely considered by many to be among the most beautiful cities in Europe. It draws in legions of tourists every year, but many of them leave with less cash than they should. Be very wary of the large crowds that provide cover for pickpockets at the tourist hotspots like the Charles Bridge in Prague.
Pickpocket 2

3. Rome

Rome is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and that reputation draws in the thieves. They have easy pickings with the many tourists who walk around in a daze as they gaze upon all the famous sights. Be mindful of your surroundings at all times in Rome, especially in busy areas.
Pickpocket 3

4. Madrid

Spain can be proud of many things, but having two cities among the top five most notorious pickpocket locations in the world is not one of them. The Spanish capital of Madrid is also one of the world’s pickpocketing capitals. The metro and the markets are the locations where tourists need to be especially careful to guard themselves against the sticky fingers of petty thieves.
Pickpocket 4

5. Paris

They say that Paris is a city for lovers. That reputation may help explain why it is one of the world’s leading pickpocketing sites. The lovers walk around in a haze as they enjoy their romances, which makes them easy marks for the thieves who patrol the city’s streets. They are especially prevalent on the city’s metro lines. The crowded trains make it easy for them to operate without getting caught. People are packed in so tight that it can be difficult to notice someone’s hand reaching into your pocket.
Pickpocket 5

6. Buenos Aires

This is one of the wealthiest cities in South America, which brings in lots of thieves who are looking to siphon off some of that wealth. One of the most infamous tricks these thieves pull is to have one person dump something on a tourist. An accomplice then comes in to “help” the tourist by cleaning them off, which gives them an ideal camouflage for rifling through the mark’s pockets.
Pickpocket 6

7. Florence

One of the most famous artists’ cities in the world is also infamous for its pickpockets. It is easy for these thieves to steal from tourists when they are gazing in rapture at the stunning artworks that abound in the city.
Pickpocket 7

8. Amsterdam

This is one of the most delightful tourist destinations in the world. Its thieves are just as welcoming as the rest of its residents, and it is easy for them to operate in Amsterdam’s laidback atmosphere. The thieves make easy work of the inebriated tourists who like to indulge themselves in Amsterdam’s legendary party scene.
Pickpocket 8

9. Hanoi

The Vietnamese capital is also the pickpocketing capital of Asia. The city is full of noise with its steady stream of motorcycles, cars and taxis always honking. This noise and the bustling crowds provide a nice cover for the petty thieves who ply their trade on Hanoi’s busy streets.
Pickpocket 9

10. Athens

No city on Earth has more historical sites to see than Athens. These sites often put tourists into an enchanted stupor in which they become easy prey for the legions of pickpockets who operate here. Tourists need to secure their money well before heading out to see the famous historical ruins of the city like the Acropolis and the Parthenon.
Pickpocket 10

I Do! 10 Best Places In the World to Elope

Weddings can be beautiful, once-in-a-lifetime experiences, but they can also cost thousands of dollars and be a major headache to plan. By eloping, you can leave these worries behind and add a sense of adventure to your wedding. There are many amazing spots around the world where you can exchange vows, but here are ten of the best.

1. Florence, Italy

Italy is home to a number of romantic locales, but Florence may be the best spot for elopement because it is easy for foreigners to obtain a marriage license The city’s stunning architecture creates a romantic atmosphere unlike anywhere else on earth. Florence is also home to a wealth of historic churches, so this is a great place to go if you want a religious wedding.

Florence Italy

2. Niagara Falls, New York

The Falls will make a spectacular backdrop for your wedding, but you can also say “I do” in a helicopter flying over them. Obtaining a license for a Niagara wedding is simple. United States citizens should head to the New York side of the Falls, but couples from overseas can also get one from the Canadian side.

Niagara Falls 1

3. British Virgin Islands

Getting a marriage license in the British Virgin Islands is easy, and the warm weather and tropical setting will create memories to last a lifetime. You’ll find a number of resorts that offer packages specially designed for eloping couples.

British Virgin Islands

4. Florida Keys

Florida is an ideal spot for elopement because they don’t require out-of-state couples to undergo a waiting period or blood test before they can tie the knot. The Keys are filled with gorgeous scenery, and nothing is more romantic than getting married on the beach at sunset.

Beach Wedding 1

5. Scotland

The Highlands of Scotland will provide a perfect romantic background for your wedding ceremony. This is an ideal spot for lovers of the outdoors, as you can go golfing, hiking, and horseback riding on your honeymoon. Marriages in Scotland have historically been informal affairs, and it’s easier for foreigners to obtain a marriage license here than in other European countries. However, documents and fees need to be submitted at least fifteen days before your ceremony.

Scotland

6. Costa Rica

This Central American country is super friendly to visitors, and to obtain a marriage license you only need a passport and two non-related witnesses. There are plenty of secluded beaches that are perfect for a ceremony, but if you want a really unique spot, you can get married under a waterfall in the rainforest.

Costa Rica 1

7. Reno, Nevada

Las Vegas might be the place to go if you need to get married quickly, but Reno is the much more peaceful and romantic option. Just imagine your wedding taking place on the shores of Lake Tahoe with the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the background. Marriage licenses are easy to access in Nevada, and there’s no waiting period.

Reno Nevada

8. Maui, Hawaii

Hawaii has a number of stunning islands, but Maui is the most popular destination for eloping couples. The beautiful beaches and clear blue waters make it a perfect spot for an intimate wedding ceremony.

Maui Hawaii

9. Napa Valley, California

Napa is one of the most romantic destinations in the United States. You can have your ceremony in a secluded vineyard with the Valley’s beautiful hills in the background. As a popular spot for eloping couples, there are several resorts in the area that offer elopement packages.

Napa Valley California

10. Bermuda 

This Caribbean island is home to pink sandy beaches and breathtaking ocean views. The island also has a large number of beautiful and historical churches where you can hold your ceremony. To get married in Bermuda, you must submit a notice of intent to one of the country’s newspapers fifteen days in advance.

Bermuda 2