San Diego, California Travel Agent
La Dolce Vita in Italy
I’ve been to Italy more than 30 times, from the Dolomites in the north to Sicily in the south, and I have not found a place that I did not love. Italy is one of the most popular destinations for Americans, and with good reason. Everywhere you go, you feel welcome. The only downside can be that the most popular and famous places such as Rome, Florence, and Venice can be incredibly crowded in high season.
For my clients, this is not a problem. My connections with hoteliers and suppliers allow me to open doors for my clients to many exclusive experiences, including truly private tours of the Vatican, access to limited-access areas of historic sites, and museums and private parties at venues not usually open to the public.
Most people know how romantic Italy is, but are often surprised how family-friendly it can be. What better way for children to appreciate art than to learn to create their own masterpieces? I can arrange drawing, painting and even stained glass classes for budding artists of all ages. I also can arrange for child-friendly guides who can make museums fun and interactive. Some create treasure hunts; others preview what you will see so children can try to spot something specific in each work. It engages them and makes them feel smart, and that turns a museum visit into a happy event, not something they dread or feel forced to do.
And of course, who does not want to learn how to cook their favorite pizza and pasta dishes? One of my favorite foodie experiences is in Bologna with an Italian celebrity chef. You shop the markets for the ingredients and then cook in her 15th century home. After lunch, she can also take you on a guided tasting tour that includes a visit to a fine balsamic vinegar factory.
The Amalfi Coast is quite romantic, but the crush of people in summer is not. Private yacht tours, either for couples, families or small groups, are a delightful way to see the coast and go beyond the tourist spots. You can sail from town to town, stop at a quiet beach for a swim, and enjoy the views from the water.
Italy also has some lesser-known areas that provide less touristy and more authentic experiences. Music lovers might enjoy a visit to Cremona. Here, Stradivarius crafted his renowned violins, which you can hear in concert, and workshops still produce quality violins. Or you might take in a concert at the Oratorio del Gonfalone in Rome, an enchanting church decorated with breathtaking frescoes by 16th-century Mannerist painters.
Lake Como is a great place to unwind. My favorite way to tour it is on the water as your guide tells you tales about the elegant villas and small towns you visit and sail past. One of the prettiest is Bellagio, where you can shop your way along pretty lanes and settle in at a five-star grand hotel overlooking the lake.
This is just a small sampling of what I can arrange for you in Italy. Please think of me when you are ready to plan your dream trip to experience “la dolce vita!”