Living La Dolce Vita in Tuscany

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By Rhea Albert

On a balmy September day I joined 9 others to tour Tuscany.  Led by Steve Solosky of The Traveling Professor and his local tour guides, we were first based in Florence for 4 days at Hotel Guelfo Bianco, a fabulous Charme & Relax hotel.

Our lovely tour guide Lisa, originally from Lynbrook, L.I. escorted us to the Accademia to see David. This tomato saw him over 40 years ago and I can attest that nothing has changed!

Next day we were off to the Uffizi gallery  and a custodian opened the doors so that we might tour the corridor to the Pitti Palace. Who knew that the Medicis had their own church right inside?

Living La Dolce Vita in Tuscany, the three tomatoes

While the rest of the group went to lunch, I crossed the Arno River on Ponte Vecchio gazing at all the shops. While Florence is known for its fabulous leather goods I had a mission: to find perfume for a friend which was easily accomplished (okay I cheated, I had a picture and a map).

That night we all gathered as Steve took us to Mercato Centrale, a huge emporium with all kinds of food selections with Eataly in one corner with two chefs conducting a cooking class of pasta.  We found a table and off we went to partake of Italian cuisine.

Living La Dolce Vita in Tuscany, the three tomatoes

The next day a comfortable van came for us as were off to the wine country with a first stop at Piazzale Michaelangelo overlooking all of Florence.

Living La Dolce Vita in Tuscany

Arriving at Poggio Amorelli Winery in Castellina there was much laughter as wine was imbibed with assorted nibbles. After, many bought wine in the shop.

Next we were off to Padua to Belludi 37  for the 3 days.  Touring with a local husband and wife team, we saw the local markets, Duomo and a private tour of the anatomical theater in the  University of Padua.This is where human dissections were done in secret, hidden from the Church and it was very eerie to say the least!

Next were cabs & train to Vicenza to view the Teatro Olimpico, Palladio’s last work of stage and theater design.  Wow what staging!

Living La Dolce Vita in Tuscany, the three tomatoes


While there, we lunched at Righetti , a self-serve restaurant using the honor system to pay when you are finished….had the best Lasagna there made with bechamel sauce.

On the way back to the hotel we visited the 911 Memorial – very impressive.


One day Steve and I rode the train to Venice just to ride the vaporetto to St Marks and back.

Living La Dolce Vita in Tuscany


Our last day was spent in Verona to see the ruins and Juliet’s house and statue and a lunch at a restaurant in a church



This tour was fabulous with such attention to details and comfort…ah to be back there again eating a gelato

Living La Dolce Vita in Tuscany


Rhea Albert lives on Long Island and loves exploring the world and sharing her travels with us.


  • Tomato Travel Tips

    Travel Tomato Style! Oh the places we'll go! Sometimes it's The Three Tomatoes, or special guests, or other Tomatoes who love to travel too, and they share their advice, tips, and favorite spots.

7 Responses

  1. Marta Cooper says:

    Loved the travel log and pictures. Sounds like a great trip!

  2. Erica Carr says:

    A delightful article….makes you wish you could have tagged along!

  3. Amanda Reno says:

    Great article, loved the pictures! Please take me with you next time!

  4. Thank you for the kind review of my “The Traveling Professor” tours. To get first notice of all the tours I run, sign up for my newsletter:

    Steve Solosky, The Traveling Professor

  5. Lynette says:

    Your travel blog, along with pictures, makes the trip sound wonderful. Looking forward to traveling with Steve on one of his trips.

  6. Barbara says:

    Fantastic article, especially the photos and interesting details like the mercato centrale. Really makes you want to jump on a plane and run off to italy.

  7. Mary says:

    What a lovely tribute to Italy. This article makes me want to follow in your footsteps and see these amazing places up close and personal. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us.

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