Helping you see the world, one experience at a time.
la bella italia
Italy is just one of those places you go and fall in love with.
My love relationship with Italy started many years ago. The more I learned about it - the culture, the different regions, the richness of their cuisine, the incredible contribution to the arts... the more I fell in love with it.
You see, my whole family has Italian heritage from both mom and dad sides. Mom's family comes from the south (province of Salerno). Dad's family comes from the North (Veneto region). Growing up, Italian culture was all I knew. From my grandma cooking bread and pasta from scratch to a very large family (I have 10 uncles and aunts just from my dad's side and last time we counted, 40+ cousins) to the yelling over dinner that sounded like we were fighting when in fact we were just having a pleasant conversation (ok, maybe some fighting but all was well five minutes later).
When I met my husband, I told him my dream was to go to Italy. He then gave me a "Trip to Italy" voucher as a gift for one of my birthdays but it took years for us to be finally able to plan it. Needless to say, my desire to go just kept growing.
Until one day, I heard the captain saying "welcome to Milan". Ah, I was finally in Italy! We brought our kids along... and it couldn't have been more special.
I made sure to book us into unique experiences that would help us understand Italian culture from different sides. This is some of the things we learned:
- How to make pizza from scratch.
- How to recognize a true gelato (and not fall on the tourist traps).
- How to make pasta from scratch.
- How the Chianti wine is made.
- How olive oil is made.
- How balsamic vinegar is made.
- How parmesan cheese is made (and I had been buying fake ones!).
- How to get in awe with the Tuscan Hills.
- How the Mediterranean Sea is very very salty.
- How the locals walk. A lot and everywhere.
- How a boat ride to Capri made us feel small and big at the same time.
- How you can travel just a couple of hours and see a very different Italy.
- How the small villages used to fight back in the day.
- How the Roman empire was absurdly powerful.
- AND SO MUCH MORE!
After that first trip, we went back many times and to different regions. I haven't been everywhere in Italy but I plan to. Each region has its own culture and it's great to learn about them.
I love Italy so much that I decided to create a special label just for it. Under this label, you and I will create the most memorable Italian trip we can think of.
This is how it works:
1. We start talking about where in Italy you want to go.
2. We talk about what you want to see and do.
3. I put together an itinerary that makes the best use of your time there.
4. We add all the fun stuff: experiences that will fill your heart and soul.
5. You send me a postcard from there, of course!
Just fill out the below form and let's start planning your bellissimo viaggio (that's "beautiful trip" in Italian!)
The most visited regions of Italy - and the itineraries I often create - include:
Florence and Tuscany. Perfect for art lovers, cultural activities, excellent food, countryside, smaller picturesque villages. You can enjoy this region year-round but the best time to go is Spring and Fall. You can get around using trains but it's also ok to rent a car. Drivable roads and easy access between cities.
Amalfi Coast. Perfect for beach lovers, relaxing boat rides, good food, and the most amazing sunsets. Be ready to WALK. A lot, often, up and downhill. You get around with public transportation (local buses, very suitable for the average tourist) or private driver. Do not rent a car here. The best time to go is late Spring, Summer, and early Fall. The rest of the year you will find the shops in the smaller villages closed although the bigger cities will be open (like Sorrento).
Sicily. Amazing history, unique culture, beautiful beaches, and lots of culturally rich activities. You can go year-around but do try to avoid summer as it can get very crowded (and expensive!). Somehow drivable but I recommend to use trains and local tours to get to the places you want to see.
North Italy: Milan and the Lakes: Como and Garda with beautiful villages around it. Find the local market's schedule to go shopping in a unique way. Rent a boat if you feel comfortable. Go in the summer to enjoy lake activities. Go in the winter if you want snow (some very nice ski areas nearby, by the Alps). Go in the Spring and Fall to enjoy mild weather although it can be unpredictable. Verona is worth a visit.
Rome: the one and only. So.much.to.do. We can fit the basics - Vatican, Fontana di Trevi, Coliseum, Spanish Steps - in a couple of days if you are willing to be on the go but to take it all in, more days (or more visits) are needed. Do not rent a car there. Use the trains, the subway and Taxi/Uber to get around.
Venice: the one and only part II. It is unique, messy, and beautiful. Plan to use a good part of your time there losing yourself in the alleys. See the little shops, stop by the canals, buy a slice of pizza and a cup of gelato. Avoid going from October through January as it is the typical high water season, though flooding can occur at any time during the year. Just be flexible and enjoy the uniqueness!
Other regions: there are more places to see in Italy! If you are looking into something outside the "common places" let me know as I can still help you!