Okay, here's my collected wisdom and helpful advice:1. For Paris food information, I find Clothilde's suggestions at chocolateandzucchini.com to be the best around. Her suggestions for markets (I generally love markets and need no other excuse to wander around in them, but if you want to put together your own lunch or picnic, that works as reason enough too):http://chocolateandzucchini.com/parismarkets.php2. I would also check out Clothilde's excellent Twelve Hours in Paris post (http://chocolateandzucchini.com/archives/2008/09/twelve_hours_in_paris.php)She's got lots of other little items about Parisian food on her blog. I highly recommend it.3. Florence: if you go to Sienna -- and you SHOULD go to Sienna -- have a meal at Oteria La Piana. Yum.4. If you plan to see any of the big museums in Florence, particularly the Uffizi Gallery, you really should make ticket reservations ahead of time. Trust me. You will avoid what is very likely to be a line that takes hours. You can book tickets online.5. If Luis will stand for it, go check out the Ferragamo Shoe Museum. It's free, it's Ferragamo. It does require an appointment, and it's only open certain days. Check it out:http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/getaways/071797/shoe17.html6. Then, if Luis will continue to stand for it, go check out actual designer duds and such at the Mall -- the outlet mall of all outlet malls. Buses leave for it regulaly, and you could buy me something nice to thank me for being so very helpful. http://www.intuscany.net/guides/the_mall.htm7. Every guidebook will tell you this, but I'll say it too: if you want to experience Venice on the water without having to shell out exorbitant gondola fares, one option is to take the water taxi that goes from the main train station (you catch the boat right outside) down to Piazza San Marco. If there's a line to get on, wait and let the crowds pass so that when the next one comes along, you can get a seat right up in front. There is no better way to see the Grand Canal, and it's super cheap.8. Rome: it's cliched and touristy, but I like the Campo del Fiori at night. I wouldn't eat there (overpriced), but an after dinner stroll, gelato in hand...that cannot be beat. And if you want something random, when you wander by the Spanish Steps, go take a look at the interior of the McDonald's that's right next to it (on the right side if you're facing the Steps). It's the nicest, swankiest McDonald's I've ever seen.
Thanks so much for the great suggestions. I'm working them into the itinerary right now. Cross your fingers that Luis will be a good boy and let me go shopping--yeah!
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