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Here you'll find Greece's largest collection of icons—which are paintings, usually of the Holy Family and saints, characteristically done on wood. Two new galleries flank the elegant 19th-century Florentine-style villa that was once the home of the eccentric, American-born Duchess de Plaissance (1785-1854). To know how much Athens has grown since then, consider this: When the Duchess lived here, it was her country home. Today, it's flanked by the Hilton hotel and apartment buildings. The icons are among the finest in the world, as are the ecclesiastical vestments and Bibles. Entire altars are on view, as well as a reconstruction of an early Christian church. Other exhibits, such as "Aspects of Public and Private Life," focus on items used in daily life from late antiquity until the fall of the Byzantine empire in 1453 C.E.—pots and pans, sandals and footstools. Allow at least an hour for a visit—two if there's a special exhibit going on. The small shop sells CDs of some haunting Byzantine liturgical music