My European Tour Pt. 12 Florence, Italy

Come, Ren , say Hi !

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My 12th post is about my visit to the city of Florence , the capital city  of  the region of Tuscany.  Florence is a city that sparked The Renaissance and  is also the birthplace of Michaelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Boticelli,  Dante , Machiavelli, Florence Nightingale, the powerhouse Medici family, and  * cough * Gucci, and Ferragamo.  It  was a rich medieval city , the centre of trade and finance during the Middle Ages,  the centre of music ( Florence was where Opera started ) and  was considered the wealthiest city at that time, and today, has been ranked as one of the most beautiful cities in the world.  The Italian language used to be just a Florentine dialect,  but was adopted as the language of choice for the whole of “united ” Italy.

We did the city tour on foot. We were happy  we had a   Florentine tour guide  that had a sense of humour v and was  most passionate about the city.  ( Well, he always compared Florence to Rome, Venice, etc.,  )  He was very effusive, lively, and  very demonstrative of his feelings .   Perhaps he was  just being very  Italian.

On the way to Florence…. Behold ! Tuscan countryside !

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City of Florence under the Tuscan sun.

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.Below was our tour guide. Look at his right hand… he was really emoting, and almost singing his description of the beauty of his city.

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.Just to let you know I was at Via Torta…. Hmmm, torta is what I have for breakfast  almost everyday.

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.The buildings  look shabby and run-down, but actually , they are just gloriously old..  They are well-preserved 600 year old medieval buildings. DSCN0982

.Above is my group…. Huh ?  My back looks fat ! ! =_=”   ( That’s me in white hat and striped shirt )

Below is the Piazza della Signoria.  On the left side is Michaelangelo’s statue of David, in front of Palazzo Vecchio.

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Palazzo Vecchio

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455. Michaelangelo’s David. That’s a copy. The real thing is in the museum, which is where it should be.

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Behind me is the Fountain of  Neptune. This statue was made in 1565, commissioned for the wedding  of one of the  Medici sons. The fountain itself was the terminal of an ancient Roman aqueduct ( like The Trevi Fountain in Rome ) and is still functioning  today.  The  Medici family were the most prominent in Florence. Two Popes came from their clan, but the more famous son, Lorenzo de Medici, was a great patron of the arts. He was an accomplished musician himself, and commissioned works by Michaelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Botticceli, all Florentines by birth.  Then and to this day, he was known as Lorenzo, the Magnificent.  The most famous political  writing of Niccolo Machiavelli, ” The Prince“, was dedicated to Lorenzo.

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I assume we all know of Machiavelli?  His name has become synonymous with opportunism, scheming, deceit, cunning, etc. . In his book, The Prince, Machiavelli emphasized the use of deceit, brute force, elimination of rivals,  etc. to achieve political stability and power . The end justifies the means  neatly sums up the theme of his book.   

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430.Above is the Basilica di Santa Croce ( Basilica of the Holy Cross ), built in 1294..  It is a Franciscan Church, and  is the burial place of  Michaelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Rossini, and other notable Italians. On the left, you can see the statue of Dante. The designer of the church’s facade was Jewish. Take note The Star of David  at the top.  He also wanted to be buried there, but since he wasn’t Catholic, he was buried under the porch, and not within the walls of the church.

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.The dormitory of the Franciscan friars is now a Leather School. We toured the place and watched how they crafted the purses, bags, etc. We also bought purses. I bought 2 bags. Florence is also known for their leather crafts.

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Having lunch. Do you see that small bowl on the table ? That was a bowl of pasta  ( with just white sauce) and it cost $15. The small pizza was $14.  Very expensive.  Below was the open air restaurant where we had lunch.  Oh, by the way, do you see the lady taking a picture?  She kind of looks like a zombie.

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.Do you see the yellow middle building? That was Michaelangelo’s workshop.

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.Above is the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, also called the Duomo, was built in 1296, and completed in 1436. The design was Gothic. The cathedral complex  , just like in Pisa, includes the the Cathedral, the Campanille ( freestanding belltower) and the Baptistery. ( where people are baptized). Below is the picture of the facade, courtesy of Wikipedia.

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DSCN0990.The Belltower ( Campanille)

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.I’ve said before that the beauty of Europe is man-made, haven’t I ? This is why I want to show intricate details of  these amazings buildings. They are  so breathtakingly beautiful.  Can you imagine if these structures were destroyed by numerous wars , or  by  natural elements ?

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.The cathedral ‘s exterior walls are made of white, green and red marbles.

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That dome is made of bricks and is the first  octagonal dome that was built with no external buttresses to keep the structure from spreading and  falling.  Lifting over 4 million bricks was an engineering feat by the engineer who built the dome,  Brunelleschi.  He invented the machines to hoist the bricks up to the top.

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Above is the statue of  Brunelleschi  outside a palace, just across from the cathedral,  looking up towards  his achievement, which is still the largest masonry dome in the world.

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.I  managed to take a picture of an open doorway of a private residence.   That’s a beautiful indoor courtyard.

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Above is another church. On a walking tour, we passed by several more churches like the one above. It’s amazing. These churches are a mere walking distance from each other.  One Aussie guy in our group called it ABC.  Another Bloody Church.  Oy ! o_O”

Walking from 8 to 5 was really tiring. But it didn’t  stop us from taking another walk –  around  at the hotel.

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.And relaxing , while waiting for dinner .

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The view from our hotel room.

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This is it for now. Monaco, Avignon, and Carcassone are next.

Good day to all, and PEACE !  Oh, and it’s December now . Wow !  Happy Holidays to all ! ( I hope I’m first to greet my dear readers )

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88 responses to this post.

  1. Overall Beautiful Package 🙂 Zombie(If that person came to know about this) 🙂

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  2. Very well captured… 😉

    Florence is my favorite italian city… 🙂

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  3. Have a fun and safe Holiday 🙂

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  4. Love the hat….

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  5. Beautiful pictures and I LOVE the hat! 🙂 I always like the way you start the post … nice detail on the tour guide and it does help that they have a sense of humor. 🙂

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  6. Maligayang pasko, Ren… 🙂 ahaha, kakatuwa na naman ang ‘yong mga hirit, especially this part “xxx and * cough * Gucci, and Ferragamo.” 😉

    una, i like what you wore that day – cool and with the hat, ahaha. you looked acclimated already, lol.

    second, i like the second pic – lovely, picuresque, serene… the other pics are wonderful, too. yeah, so many ABCs, hehe, so many interesting churches with intricate structures. naramdaman mong parang educational trip? hehehe

    thirdly, you don’t look dead-tired at the end of the day. and yes, what a view from your hotel. lucky girl, you.

    keep well. this probably means the exams have not succeeded in killing you, lol. 🙂

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    • Maligayang Pasko din sayo, Ate . Komusta na ang Philippines? madami na bang Xmas decors?Florence is really an old city. halos lahat medieval buildings. bawal yata mag build ng modern buildings doon. It’s the same for other cities in Europe. Owners cannot even remodel. Dapat ganoon pa rin… except the bathrooms, etc.

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      • Yis, pasko na sa Pilipinas, dami nang poinsettia, sabit-sabit at ilaw-ilaw, hehe…
        Florence is an interesting city, from the figures and architectures it spawned in the 15th century. O, e, di ang ganda, parang namamasyal talaga sa old times – puro relics, hehe… 🙂

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        • Buti sa Philippines, may Fort Santiago pa. In Europe, the older, the better. They thrive in tourism. Sobra dami ng tao. Do you notice the tourists in my pictures? Aaaargh.

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  7. Oh you just reminded me that Diane lane starer movie ” Under the Tuscan sun ”

    Nirav 🙂

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  8. Ah, Firenza! I bought a wonderful pen there that I still have. My only problem with the city was that it was full of American students.

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  9. Hi RenxKyoko, How long were you in Europe? You have covered quite many landmarks. Are you home yet? 😀 Fae.

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  10. Thank you for the amazing photos of the old city. I was there 36 years ago many times when I was station in Germany..

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    • Does it look different now? It’s a World Heritage site so owners of buildings there aren’t supposed to change anything, except for occassional painting of outer walls.

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  11. I love reading your Europe post as I can relive my own tour :). Great photos 🙂

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  12. Again, gorgeous pictures! I was in Florence for a few days back in college…remember seeing the David, but not the other sights. I love the star of David on the church!

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  13. Hi Ren! I didn’t get to Florence. On one hand, that’s a bummer…on the other hand, something to go back for, especially after seeing your pictures. The ABC line was a little funny though – the sheer amount of churches does start to wear you down. Just like statues of guys on horses. So, so many statues of guys on horses.

    Anyways, always great to see you post something. Peace girl!

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    • You forgot to mention the fountains, ha ha. Come to think of it, yes, there were so many statues of guys on horses. He he he. Did you get to see the ruins? Tell me , Oppa , did you like the food? the pizza?

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      • Ren! Well…this is embarrassing…but I tried to see the ruins and the pantheon in Rome and got totally lost and couldn’t find them. Not a great sense of direction, my friend! I did see some ruins…however not THE ruins. haha Ah well!!! I also failed to get tickets for The Last Supper in Milan and stood outside helpless. Did you go Milan?

        I liked the food a lot, yeah. I will say that I was on a tight budget and stuck to a low quality diet. Still, it was pretty good. I really miss salami sandwiches now!

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        • No, I didn’t go to Milan. I didn’t get to see Pompeii, either. I so wanted to see that. there was another tour that we were supposed to take, the one with Pompeii and Greece, but it was for more than one month, and I had to come back within the month .

          Oppa, I think you didn’t prepare for your Italian travel. =_= ‘ Did you make an itinerary before you went there? And read up and research?

          You liked the food? Hmmmm… I guess I expected too much from real, authentic italian food. I was a bit disappointed. I mean, we make better pastas at home.

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  14. Well, I would want to dine where these greats were born ! Maybe there was something in the food there that made them…you know… genius 🙂 Having a good tour guide is important in such trips. Not only is he/she informative, they probably put up a perspective as to what one should look for. Please do one thing for me- take some contact details of this guy. I will take it from you when I am about to be there 🙂 Fair enough ?
    Photos are lovely ! I don’t know if I would be able to absorb these places in a day or two. It would take quite some time for me. Maybe a month for Italy… 🙂

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  15. Oh, I ‘ve forgotten his name ! It was the tour company that had contact with the guy. They were most probably independent tour guides. The hotels usually have tours of their own. Oh, one month in Italy maybe too much, unless you want to visit all the cities…. We didn’t go to Pompeii. I think you should see that. We were in Italy for 6 days… not enough, I have to admit.

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    • Well my plan was a month for the entire Europe. But since you described Italy in such amazing detail, I was thinking maybe I should prolong the tour a bit. I guess 10 days would be enough for Italy right ?

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  16. Some of these shots are magnificent and moving. Thanks again for sharing.

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  17. What a lovely post! I hope you enjoy your staying in the beautiful Tuscany! 🙂

    Love,
    Mari

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  18. as usual, you leave me feeling as if I’m there renx 🙂 hope you don’t mind, I listed you on my humble blogroll, should’ve done it a loooong time ago! thanks again renx!

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  19. nice pictures! i love to visit this place. i hope next year. pwede pong magtanong kung magkano ang budget for your european tour? just a range will suffice. i have this urge to go backpacking alone in europe. bahala na kung saan makarating. haha!

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    • Depends on whether you’ll go backpacking or joining a tour and where you are coming from…..
      We joined a tour, plus plane fare… about $5,000, a person for a one -month tour, 9 countries….. maybe you’ll spend additional $1000 for other stuff there , like optional tours and dinners, tips.

      By the way, food is very expensive, especially if your Euros come from philippine pesos. A small slice of pizza in Italy ‘s like PhP 200, and a plate of pasta is like Php 600. After I’m done with my travelogue, I’m going to post about travelling tips. Watch out for that post.
      Cheers, Apollo !

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      • di na masama ang 6k for a month long vacation. 9 countries pa. kung sakali, dito ako sa us manggagaling siguro. saka baka isang linggo lang na pasyal un. di ako pwedeng magleave ng matagal eh..

        i sure will wait for it. thanks!

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        • Italy is the country for you if it’s just one week. One day at The Vatican. Hotels there have one day tours. You can join them. You know what, actually one week is not enough if you’ll go backpacking. You will waste so much time looking for places, and transportation. The only problem with tour groups is the speed of the tour. We were at the Vatican for half a day. It wasn’t enough. Suggestion….. Don’t join a tour group going to The Vatican.

          Anyways, I’ll have a separate post for this.

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  20. I love that white hat

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  21. 3 years later…
    “My European Tour Pt. 394” XD
    It surprises me though how you can still remember all this information. 🙂

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  22. Thanks for taking us with you to another beautiful place, Ren. We all are enjoying this wonderful trip. I specially like the picture of the architectures. They are so huge and beautiful. Enjoy your holidays, Ren.

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    • I[m glad you are enjoying my trip. The pictures are amatuerish, as you can see, *smiles*, but they are exactly as how I see them…. could have been better though, lol.

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  23. I have to say I love your tour. You recount it with such energy and enthusiasm that it’s almost like being with you. Amazing photographs as always. I’ve been to a number of Italian cities but never Florece. With your help I almost feel I’ve been there now. Lovely

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    • That’s how I want my readers to see the pics , and to read my post, as if they they’ve been there, too, countingducks. And believe me, I’m one with you guys. There are so many stuff in the pics that I feel I’ve not seen, either, if you know what I mean. To be honest, I don’t remember anymore, and those photos just remind me that , “oh, right, I’ve been there.”

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  24. Posted by WordsFallFromMyEyes on December 6, 2012 at 11:44 am

    I want torta! I want it for breakfast toooooooooo 😦

    Ah Renx, this is awesome. The pictures are so perfect, great quality – and your write-up.

    Love that guy reaching up to catch the fallen statue. You know, I had heard of Machiavelli but you gave me a bit of education there because I didn’t know a lot about it. But ah yes, the end justifies the means – who has NOT heard that.

    Wonderful travels 🙂

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    • Ahaha ! Noelle, torta is just egg omelette, or beaten egg with something. ! he he he. We call it torta at home.

      Yep. Machiavellian… pretty evil, if I may say so myself,…. the Pope banned that book ….. but later day historians say Machiavelli was just being sarcastic.

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  25. Fascinating description and pictures. like almost being there. Thank you

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  26. Awesomely beautiful images! The air that eminates from your trip is very breathtaking, i am jealous as i view all that you had a chance to embrace, the old but new feel…i am sitting here wishing i was there. Loved your post. Thanks for sharing dear sister. Much love to you!

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    • Thank you ! ! ! I think the photos are so amatuerish it’s embarassing to post them here, but they’re ” honest ” pictures. I was like, ” Ooooh, that’s nice, then I would just take a photo of it, without bothering to focus, align, etc. lol…

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  27. Posted by ~REBECCA DAWN~ on December 7, 2012 at 2:59 am

    I was amazed by the intricate design of the church!!! it is fascinating to see so much history, and be humbled by it.
    gack, $ 14 for pasta… well that’s like here at Boston Pizza..hee hee. now if you said it was around $ 20 I would have been blown over!
    you looked so cute in your hat!!!
    oh your going to love me… (sarcasm) I am giving you a blog star….for the blog of year award I gave you earlier…
    I am being evil >_<

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    • Thanks, Rebecca. You are so generous to moi, hahaha.

      What? A $14 is very expensive. We could buy that from the freezer section here for $5, bigger and better tasting.

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  28. Hello ! I’ve nominated you for Blog of the year award.Congrats !
    http://cristimoise.wordpress.com/2012/12/08/blog-of-the-year-2012-part-iii/

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  29. Ah! $14 pizza for tourists. 😀

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    • I know, right ? We really felt a bit agitated because that was so expensive compared to food here in the US. It was plain highway robbery. It didn’t even taste good. There was nothing on top except tomato sauce and cheese.

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  30. I love your pages and your form of self-expression, it is a pleasure to have you share your gifts through your pages Thank you. I have nominated you for blog of the Year please visit my page Blog of the year awards and nominations Thank you! Revised
    Posted on December 9, 2012

    Reply

  31. Reading your blog is like reading a book. I am sitting but traveling at the same time. 😀 Thank you! But I still think I should go there some day 😀

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    • Yes, you should ! Also, giancarlo, I just sent something for you. But not with FedEx. The FedEx office is too far away. I sent the package thru regular mail, but I got insurance. There are 5 items, and much as I hate to inform you coz it’s so tacky, I hope the package gets to you. One is quite expensive, he he he.

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    • GianCarlo, I just sent a package, but not thru FedEx. The office is too far away from my house…. Oh, gosh, I hope you get it….. I got insurance though. There are 5 items, and I really, really hope nobody pilfers it. One is really expensive, Giancarlo. Sayang pag manakaw yan, ha.

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    • GianCarlo, Actually It was my brother whom I asked to mail it for me. he didn’t mail it coz he thought your address was not clear and specific enough. A school address? Who will receive it? Can you just email me your home address ? Privare message. Complete mail address. there’s something expensive there… sayang pag nawala ! Urgent….

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  32. What a wonderful place! 🙂

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  33. Hi Ren! I liked the sculptures and the architecture especially the Duomo! I wish I could go there someday. 🙂

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  34. Absolutely breathtaking photography! Your adventure took place in a wonderful part of the world; I hope I can see it for myself one day! Thank you for sharing! : )

    cambriacorner.wordpress.com

    Reply

  35. Posted by JK Bevill - Lost Creek Publishing on March 22, 2013 at 7:15 am

    Reblogged this on lost creek publishing.

    Reply

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