My recent trip to Europe proved two things:
- I am a Francophile (lover of all things French) through and through.
- Italy will never stop surprising me.
In France, there was never a moment when I wasn’t captivated by the gentle kindness and sincerity of the people or the unquenchable beauty of my surroundings, whether urban or countryside. These were no surprise; rather a vivid reminder of why I fell in love with France almost 20 years ago.
Italy is different. Every time I visit this country, something (or lots of somethings) manages to shock me, to sweep me off my feet. I used to think that Italy was the loud girl at the party—the one you couldn’t look away from because you knew the trainwreck was looming. The chaos. The catcalls. The pigeon poop. It was all a bit much for me—but in an oddly exciting way. If you’ve been to Rome, I have a feeling this resonates with you.
This particular visit to Italy took me to a region that I adore most for its food and architecture, but the travel conference I attended took me to a couple of towns I hadn’t visited before. These tiny coastal towns were not what I think of when I imagine Italian beaches. There were no colorful walls or picturesque views like these:
I was thankfully able to capture this glimpse of the ocean from my hotel patio:
Kind of a letdown, huh? But wait!!
I wasn’t in itty bitty Rimini or boarded-up Milano Marittima for the beach or my own personal vacay, now was I? I was there to meet with local suppliers and discover what new, interesting, exciting ways they could help me over-deliver for my clients and clients-to-be. Let me just say, in this, there was NO disappointment!
The BEST of my Unexpected Italy
Artistic Workshops + Learning Experiences
These ideas thrilled me! Here’s why:
> You don’t have to be an artist to join the mosaic, fresco, or painting workshops! All skill levels are welcome and even your kids (over age 5) can be part of the fun! My daughter would absolutely LOVE this, and what an amazing way to get your kids (or yourself) engaged in Italy’s glorious art!
> These workshops can be done independently or I can integrate them into your touring plan. For example, a mosaic workshop in Rome would greatly enhance your appreciation for the Byzantine mosaics in Ravenna, and a fresco class would bring to life the incredible works you’ll view in Florence.
> These kinds of activities provide more opportunities for groups to keep everyone happy and loving life! If two of you want to, let’s say, go to a pasta-making class with an Italian chef or Nonna, but the others are only interested in eating spaghetti, they will need something to do that is worth their time and doesn’t take away from the group’s sightseeing plans. Not into art? What about…
– Gladiator Training
– Photography Classes
– Car Exhibits and Thrilling Test Drives
– Private Shopping Excursions
– Segway Tours
– Film Tours
Tourism for Disabled Travelers
Italy might just be one of the most oft-traveled destinations in the world, but its stone streets and archaeological sites that are thousands of years old have kept it off-limits for many disabled travelers. I had the pleasure of meeting with a company who has made tremendous strides in making these major sights accessible and enjoyable for travelers with a wide variety of disabilities. They are provide service and equipment from the time your plane lands to the time it takes off again. Their services are highly personalized and their equipment is pretty awesome—everything from personal assistants and accessible hotel accommodations to specialty wheelchairs for visits to places that were once out of the question. They are constantly expanding their offerings to accommodate more special needs—which I happen to think is a fantastic concept I hope other companies will catch onto.
**Please reach out to me if you have questions about how your special needs traveler can best enjoy a European vacation. I will do my best to partner with suppliers who can accommodate your travel party in a sensitive and meaningful way.
La Dolce Vita
Okay, so the good life isn’t exactly a new concept in Italy! But how numerous indeed are the ways you can easily and comfortably live the good life during your Italian vacation! I have major travel envy for my clients who now can enjoy Italy by sea with accommodations aboard their own chartered yacht! With five cabins and a full crew, this splendid vessel is an awesome choice for families or groups of friends to explore the Italian Riviera, Cinque Terre, Amalfi Coast, Sardinia, Corsica, and beyond. Talk about guaranteed views! And the best part is that you don’t have to shlep your stuff around Italy with you!
P.S. Private yacht charters are also available throughout the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas in Spain, Portugal, France, Greece, Crete, Malta, and Croatia. Let me know if you’re interested!
Don’t have your sea legs? We should visit about some of the out.of.this.world resorts I toured! Think relaxing spas, stunning suites, gorgeous beaches, stellar service, and a full menu of food + wine themed activities. I think I hear my next Jetlag Experience calling!
I understand that these unexpected ideas may not be for you. Perhaps you want to explore the hidden towns of Italy, indulge in cooking classes and gourmet experiences, sample wines in Piemonte (after your truffle hunt?), lounge by Lake Como, or gaze out over the hills from your Tuscan villa.
Feeling outdoorsy? Maybe you’d prefer to hike the Dolomites, ski the Alps, swim the Adriatic, or cruise around the Mediterranean.
Whatever your wishes, you can be sure of this: Italy has no shortage of beautiful places to surprise you! If you’re ready to begin planning your journey to this stunning country or another one, I hope you’ll give me a call or shoot me an email so that I can bring all my expertise to your vacation.