05/26/2015 05:42 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Tuscany Memories

Travel in Tuscany these last couple weeks has given me a chance to really improve my Rick Steves' Florence & Tuscany guidebook. And that time has been filled with great travel memories.


It seems that if I ever want to have a great visual experience, all I need to do is leave my hotel room without my camera. I almost never do. But the other night in Lucca, I wanted to take a little stroll and keep it really simple. I turned the corner into the Piazza of the Roman Amphitheater and the light took my breath away. After a storm, when the sun comes out, you get some really dramatic light. Thankfully, iPhones take amazing photos. So I whipped it out and snared a memory.


One of the time-consuming chores when researching my Florence & Tuscany guidebook is driving to the various farmhouse B&Bs. And at each one, I'm greeted enthusiastically (as so many or our travelers chose to enjoy these great countryside values). At Il Canto del Sole (just south of Siena), everyone around the pool was there following my guidebook -- and the joyful camaraderie made me want to be on vacation there, too.


My favorite guide in Tuscany (Roberto Bechi) has a son who is crazy about baseball. Of all the memorable moments I've had in Italy this month, playing catch with Miki was one of the most fun. Miki plays in his local baseball league, and just yesterday, I learned he hit his first home run. Yeah Miki! (Roberto: A home run is when the man with the bat hits the little ball so far that he can run around all four bases, making it to what's called the "home plate" before they can retrieve the ball. In doing so, he scores one "run" for his team. The team with the most "runs" at the end of the game wins.)