Soaking Up the Joys of Traffic-Free Florence

05/09/2016 05:59pm ET | Updated May 10, 2017

Some people shop randomly. I sightsee randomly. And after a long day of determined and focused sightseeing while researching my guidebook, I find a special joy in just being out and lapping up the beauty of a great city like Florence. Its downtown is traffic-free, the street musicians are top notch, and romantic floodlighting spills onto the goofy selfie-stick salesmen. Then suddenly it hits me. Seeing the Baptistery newly restored, I, for the first time in my life, truly appreciate the amazing stonework in this zone. Here, 900-year-old Baptistery stones, 700-year-old Duomo (cathedral) stones, and 150-year-old Duomo facade stones all come together in perfect harmony.

This is Day 25 of my 100 Days in Europe series. As I research my guidebooks and make new TV shows, I'm reporting on my experiences and lessons learned in Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Bulgaria, Romania, and beyond. Find more at

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