September has begun, and my fall tour season has started. I have to admit I find it difficult to write my blog while I’m on tour, but I am trying! At this moment I am in Padova starting a Village Italy tour for Rick Steve’s Europe. If you didn’t already know, I have spent the last 18 years of my life working for Rick. I love the Village Italy tour and often call it my baby, as I did the very first one together with my colleague, Dave Hoerline, in 2001 when I was pregnant with my now almost 16-year-old, Filippo. Mamma mia, where have the years gone? This tour has morphed a lot over the years, but we have always used Padova as the first stop on the tour. It is not quite a village, but is an interesting, university town that works very well logistically as a starting point. The setting for William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, and home to the second oldest university in Italy founded in 1222, Padova is a lively, progressive city, with amazing artwork by some of history’s most important artists, Including Giotto and Donatello. Bubbling with students, and always on top of the latest trends, food and otherwise, Padova is absolutely worth a visit. While you are there, be sure to visit pasticceria Racca for una pausa pasticceria. Their bite size petite fours are to die for!
One of my favorite budget categories when I’m on tour is the extras. As guides we get to use it to treat our tour members to whatever we want…anything we feel is characteristic of the area. It can be food, drink, entertainment… today it’s food. In Italy it is often food, what a surprise! I had some time to kill this morning, while my group visited the Scrovegni Chapel. Normally I would go into the chapel with the local guide too, but they limit the number of people that can visit to 25 and I was the tipping point.
I learned about Racca Pasticceria from my friend and colleague, Cristina. Born and raised in Padova, she is very proud of her city and all the good things it has to offer. Racca is one of her favorite places when she wants a bite of something sweet. They have been making parties here since 1933 and do it beautifully. Their tasty little bites are just €1 a piece. Be sure to check it out if you come for a visit and buon appetito!