Check back for more pictures and stories from our September 2015 Trip to Italy! Email Joey at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 315.476.6857 to find out about our possible October 2017 trip.
NOTE: Joey, her Ciao radio co-host Jim Battaglia, and his wife, Francine, led a tour group, our 4th group, along with Trafalgar tour director Gianluca DiCarlo, on a trip to Italy for 2 weeks from September 10th to September 23rd! The picture above was taken by Joey's mom and really is what the Florence skyline looks like!
Travelers who have been on all or some of our tours to Italy (2009/2011/2013) asked us to do it again! So we met with the tour operator Trafalgar to outline the itinerary we dreamed up for 2015. They gave us everything we asked for and more! We were thrilled to once again have Gianluca DiCarlo, the tour director who met us at the airport and was with us 24/7. Gianluca is knowledgeable and entertaining ...and, as always planned surprises along the way while making sure that everything went smoothly.
The wonderful hotels we stayed at provided generous breakfast buffets every morning (the steaming cappuccino is to die for!). We built in a few other meals but purposefully left room for exploring cozy trattorias in the towns where we visited.
We left September 10th and landed in Rome where our hotel...where we stayed in 2013...was just a few blocks from the Piazza del Popolo and within walking distance from the Spanish Steps.
From Rome we traveled down to Naples where we stayed at the Royal Continental with its waterfront view of the iconic Castel dell'Ovo on the Bay of Naples. Most of the group took the optional tour to the incredible Amalfi Coast and Positano while I went with a friend to the beautiful seaside city of Salerno where my family had many ties.
We spent 4 nights in Tuscany traveling around its gorgeous countryside. We stayed in the just outside of the medieval town of San Gimignano at a hotel with the most amazing view of the hills with the town in the distance. Of course we visited Florence and spent a few hours in the little town of Vinci (birthplace of Leonardo da Vinci and listed as one of the best small towns of Italy). We stopped in Siena (with its gorgeous ceramic shops) and had the best gelato on several visits to San Gimignano.
We toured the Il Cioccolato Amedei factory where we sampled a great variety of their superior chocolates (yes! we all bought some!) and took a wine tour with lunch at the beautiful Tenute Giucciardini Stozzi Winery where we met the descendants of Liza del Giocondo who posed for the famed Mona Lisa) during this leg of the trip through Tuscany.
We cruised along with shores of the once forgotten hamlets of the Cinque Terre and along the breathtaking coastline of the Italian Riviera. Santa Margherita, where we stayed was just beautiful and our visit to one of the most photographed villages along the coast, the village of Portofino was wonderful! Gianluca treated us to an apertiv0 (more on that later) with Italian style appetizers.
We ended our trip in the scenic lake region of Northern Italy at the foot of the Alps where we stayed in the sleepy village of Baveno and visited Milan to see the famed La Scala Opera House...and, spent our last afternoon in Lugano, Switzerland.