Piazza Santa Croce is pretty much like any in Florence -- a nice bit of open space ringed with souvenir and leather shops and thronged with tourists. Its unique feature (aside from the one time a year it's covered with dirt and violent Renaissance soccer is played on it) is Palazzo Antellesi on the south side. This well-preserved, 16th-century patrician house is owned by a contessa who rents out her apartments.

For more on this intriguing neighborhood, click here.

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