I start with a couple of days in Rome. I have a few new faces I’m scheduled to meet there, transportation routes and logistics to check for an upcoming tour, several new restaurants to try and of course, time set aside to visit with old friends. I will have a cooking day with my old kitchen cohorts which will be incredibly fun. Hopefully, by the end of this trip, I’ll finally get a handle on making gnocchi.
After Rome, I head off to Naples for a couple of nights. There, I’m very excited to experience a wine tour and a scenic tour as well as meet new guides, hoping to find new colleagues for future tour groups. I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to sample lots of the wines of Campania, and to be able to report back on the best ones.
I end my trip with a day or two in Umbria, meeting with winery folks, ceramics makers, artisanal food producers, drivers and guides; always trying to add new colleagues to my ever-growing list of great people to work with.
Friends think I’m on a boondoggle vacation; flitting around Italy, eating and drinking my way through ten days of pleasure. It’s not exactly like that actually. My days are filled with appointments, and I spend a lot of time rushing from here to there. Yes, I eat well, and I drink well. Please. I’m in Italy and I will take full advantage of great food and wine opportunities. I am not stupid. But foremost on my agenda are connections, people connections.
My clients work hard for their vacation dollars, and then they trust me with their time and money. I do not want to disappoint. I want to have lined up a string of great places to see, restaurants to eat in, food producers to meet and wineries to taste in. Then there are the bits the clients don’t really “see”. I need to be sure the hotels I choose are the right ones; clean and with great service, the drivers safe and courteous, the guides knowledgeable and entertaining. A lot goes into making someone’s dream vacation a dream come true.
So stay tuned for future blog posts from Italy, where yes, I will be eating and drinking my way through ten days of pleasure. But, more importantly, I’ll be hoping to meet a lot of great people along the way.
Italy, here I come!