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My Italian Transformation

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My Italian Transformation

I got my start in the travel industry almost ten years ago after a Life Changing trip to Italy. My husband and I traveled to Italy for our daughter’s graduation from culinary school (she had been attending Alma in Colorno for the previous six months), and was now on her way back to take her finals and graduation. Proud Parent Moment!!

We stayed in Colorno in a lovely B&B on the outskirts of town. A short walk into town along cobblestone streets and lovely architecture. Upon entering the town square it was something out of a movie with quaint restaurants and coffee shops, and old Italian men sitting at tables playing dominoes. Set back from the town center towers my daughter’s school, ALMA – La Scuola Internazionale di Cucina Italiana. Once know as Ducal Palace of Colorno owned by several esteemed Italy families, after the unification of Italy it was property of the state and acquired by ALMA. It is a magnificent structure with beautiful gardens and grounds.

Over the next three days my husband and I explored Colorno as a local and wandered the cobblestone streets early because each day all the businesses close from 12-4 so that residents can take their time eating lunch, which we very happily participated in sipping wine and eating wonderful local meats, cheeses and breads. On our final day in Colorno we took a private guided tour of Parma visiting a farm where we watched a local family make Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, visiting a curing house for Prosciutto di Parma ham, dined outside for lunch on a vineyard where we again drank and ate the wonderful fare that Parma has to offer.   Last stop was a vineyard to taste some of the most amazing balsamic vinegar I have ever tasted.  It was at this stop that I was very quickly befriended by the owner of the vineyard, and almost 10 years later, we still regularly email and talk on Skype.

Next stop, and our base for the next 7 days, another lovely B&B on a hilltop in the port city of Livorno overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea. A little slice of heaven. By day we traveled the sites of Livorno, Florence and Pisa, by night we dined at a local family owned and run restaurant, that by the 2nd night, the owner would have our favorite table reserved and promptly serve us local wine and some of the most amazing food we had ever tasted (we were ruined). Meals in Italy are not scarfed down, but eaten slowly and savored, usually taking several hours to complete. While in Livorno, we also had our first experience seeing the local wild boars, Cinghiale, which DOES NOT look like a common farm hog, but literally some huge beast that you would only imagine in a horror movie. This was quite interesting. This town was quite quant, tucked away on a hilltop, away from the bustling seaport below.

We traveled by train to Florence and Pisa and walked from the train stations to the main sites so as to explore the cities. Florence is a bustling city filled with art, architecture, museums and SHOPPING.  We definitely needed another day to really explore all it has to offer. Pisa was another quaint city where we of course had to see the leaning tower and the other surrounding magnificent buildings. This was definitely a tourist area; however, we decided to explore the surrounding city where we finally found ourselves a lovely outside café where we dined on wonderful pizza and other Italian fare.

Our final stop was a day in the bustling city of Milan; again, another city we really needed an extra day to explore. We walked the streets and checked out the local scene and shops while eating cones of creamy gelato.

While traveling from city to city by train the scenery was nothing short of AMAZING. Beautiful fields of sunflowers as far as the eye could see and lovely vineyards spread across the countryside. Through the coastal cities there were crashing blue waves against the rock cliffs, as well as lovely beaches where locals splashed in the water.

We were so sad to live Italy, and definitely left a part of our heart there. So excited for my return to Italy in July to explore the Roman Countryside. This time……. I just might not come back.

Give me a shout if you want to join us!!

 

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Trasformativa is a US based travel company with offices located in Durham, NC and Clarksville, VA.  We are  focused exclusively on transformational travel. Our experienced and qualified travel agents offer many different types of transformational travel opportunities. We work with individuals and groups of many sizes to help them find a true difference. Most of the people who contact us are luxury travelers and leaders of groups who are traveling together. This includes, yoga or fitness instructors, health and wellness professionals, human resource directors, sales managers, CEO’s, church group leaders, corporate trainers, personal chefs, wedding planners, brides, corporate travel professionals, and also individuals looking to plan an exciting and out-of-the-way trip for a group of their friends.

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