San Diego’s Laura Massoni, of the travel agency by the same name, states that deciding to specialize in travel to Italy was the best decision she ever made. “It was the best decision in my life, and when I get there, I kiss the ground, like the pope,” she said. Massoni explained that her agency likes to give travelers “authentic” experiences by providing travel to towns like Lecce, Turin and Matera. She also noted that on October 17, 2014, Matera was declared Italian host of European Capital of Culture for 2019, and will be awarded the European Cultural Capital Award for 2015.
Both she and her family recently travelled to Turin which hosts the soccer/football team, Juventus, the most successful team in Italian history having won 28 (Serie A) national titles. Another plus is that the Piemonte region of Italy is home to the white truffle, one of the rarest foods in the world. A little known fact about Turin is that it is the birthplace of solid chocolate. Chocolate was produced there before it was produced in Switzerland.
“We tailor and customize trips to Italy and ensure that our travelers have wonderful experiences,” added Massoni, who also has an office in Italy which checks arrivals of clients and helps them get settled. “For the person who wants to go deep and bring back experiences and stories of their time in Italy, we make sure to cater to their needs in every way,” added the travel maven. Massoni related that she has been able to secure wheelchairs, specialized sleeping accommodations for disabled travelers and even special vegetarian diets.
According to internet sources, 46,119,000 visitors go to Italy each year; Italy is ranked third in the top ten places to travel. Aside from its high-fashion districts, extremely good food, art, architecture and history, travel to Italy is also wonderful for lovers, excellent for gourmands and a paradise for wine connoisseurs, not to mention that Italians are well-known for catering to children.
A big catering need of today’s travelers, according to internet sources, is the accompaniment of children on trips. “Visiting Italy with kids is one of the easiest and most pleasant of travel experiences,” says Susan Van Allen, an expert on travel to Italy and author of 50 Places in Rome, Florence, and Venice Every Woman Should Go. She added that “Italy may be the world’s most welcoming country to kids because almost all Italians adore their own children and will roll out the red carpet for others’ children. Travelers will often tell stories of taking their baby to an Italian market, where immediately Italian women will gather around to admire and coo over them. Even Italian waiters bend over backwards to accommodate children, bringing them special orders and treats.”
Thanks to today’s travel agents, fun excursions to Italy are packed with pleasurable, fun trips that can be customized to meet almost any traveler’s needs; at an affordable price. Knowing where to go and where to eat are also key to having great Italian vacations. Although many travelers mainly go to the three major cities of Italy and the more popularized travel spots, smaller towns, off the beaten path, opens a new world of fun, excitement and novelty.
The city of Lecce is a great example of a little known delight where many tourists are going. According to Silvestro Silvestori, owner of the cooking school The Awaiting Table, Lecce is being touted as the “coastal gem” of Southern Italy.
“There are world-class churches, such as Santa Croce, il Duomo di Lecce, San Matteo, and Santa Chiara, but it’s the purity of architecture that makes Lecce so special,” says Silvestori. He explains that “Rather than a few architectural stunners, it’s the entire city that amazes, as if you stepped back through a time portal, into the late 1600’s, or the Baroque era, when everything was designed over the top. The entire city is golden, carved into intricate and ornate patterns. It’s considered a national treasure here in Italy. Outside though, it’s virtually unknown. Stroll Lecce at night and you’ll see what all the fuss is about.”