Tuscany/The Veneto, Italy
Best wine destination in 2013: Tuscany.
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Shop: There’s something a little intimate—and thrilling—about the way the ladies at Madova measure your hands for gloves. You place your elbow on a little beige velvet cushion, and they painstakingly slide the leather over and between your fingers. Look for a stunning selection of colors, lengths, and linings at this 94-year-old, family-owned glove shop near the foot of the Ponte Vecchio in Florence (Via Dè Guicciardini, 1). In Verona, oenophiles might want to skip the usual Italian luxury goods on the Via Mazzini for wine browsing in the Enoteca Dal Zovo Oreste (Vicolo San Marco in Foro, 7). This jam-packed temple to intoxicants (plus oils and vinegars) is owned by a sommelier—look for a huge variety of wines, grappas, and liqueurs.
Off the Beaten Track: In Rome, the Catacombe di San Callisto offer a peek into an underground city of the dead. More than 500,000 Florentines, including many early Christians, were buried here during the era of Roman persecution (Via Appia Antica, 126). The consumption of horse meat is a longstanding tradition in Verona, where, in opposition to much of Europe, they actually do it on purpose. The dome-ceilinged Osteria al Carro Armato (translated as “the tank”) offers several traditional dishes featuring horse meat (Vicolo Gatto 2).