Christian Fratello

Encino, California Travel Agent

VIP Italy

My grandmother is Italian, so I’ve always had a special feeling for Italy. Now, it is a real thrill to plan my clients’ and my own trips to Italy. I love being able to make the trip extra special. Do you want to see the Vatican and other museums and galleries when they are closed to the general public? Would you like to go on guided hiking, mountain-biking or horseback riding treks through the Dolomites, Tuscany and other regions? How about touring a vineyard and dining with the owner? These are just some of special touches I can add to a trip to Italy. And with trusted suppliers such as Italian Journeys and Your Private Italy, I am confident that my clients will receive VIP treatment from start to finish.

I have gotten to know Italy very well by working closely with colleagues, luxury tour operators and hoteliers, and through my own travels.

Italy has some amazing hotels, but I also can arrange stays in private villas. Fully staffed, with babysitters if desired, these are ideal for families as well as for destination weddings and executive retreats. 

Another bespoke type of journey is to charter a private yacht that can take you beach-hopping to secluded beaches around Sardinia and Corsica or sailing along the Amalfi Coast and to the island of Capri

Of course, few people visit Italy for the first time without doing the famous trio of Rome, Florence and Venice.  While there are many wonderful hotels that are located in the center of town, some of my favorite accommodations are true hideaways and attractions themselves, making relaxing “at home” an important part of your stay. 

In Florence, for example, Il Salviatino is a restored 15th century Tuscan villa with Renaissance gardens that overlook the city. As at most hotels I recommend, as a Protravel agent, Il Salviatino will upgrade my clients’ accommodations, subject to availability, and provide a complimentary spa treatment and daily a la carte breakfast in their room.  

Similarly, in Venice, the Belmond Hotel Cipriani, offers extra perks for my clients. A four-minute boat shuttle from St. Mark’s Square, it is like another world, with a private vineyard and gardens and hand-painted murals in the guest rooms. It often hosts A-list celebrities and was a setting in the James Bond film “Casino Real”. 

Also offering special perks is Sofitel Rome Villa Borghese. Set in a 19th century building, it is located just opposite the Villa Borghese Gardens and film director Federico Fellini used to stay in one of the suites in the 1960s. I always try to book higher floors with views of the gardens.

Expert advice

My most important advice to my clients headed to Italy is not to try to squeeze in too much in too little time. It’s more important to take the time to savor a few experiences in depth and let yourself really feel the place than to run around checking off awesome sights like chores on a to-do list. If you’re like most visitors, you’ll be back!

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Tracing My Italian Roots

My most wonderful trip was a “trace-your-roots” adventure with my dad. My goal was to take my dad to the place his mother/my grandmother was born. But, and it’s a big but, we had no idea where that was!

I worked with my personal contact at Your Private Italy, a destination management company I... Read more from my Tracing My Italian Roots story.