Nancy Kay Streiter
New York, New York Travel Agent
Italy Travel Expert
I can never get enough of Italy, and many of my clients share my enthusiasm. Last year, I took three week-long trips to Italy plus a 12-day journey, and I only revisited two cities. Each time I go, I discover awesome new places and experiences and add to my Rolodex of trusted suppliers.
First-time visitors often want to visit Rome, Tuscany, and Lake Como, but no two trips are the same. For example, I am sending a multigenerational group that includes some young adults.
They are all into Michelin-star dining and great wine, so every day will include some great food experiences. Then, for the younger members of the family, I have included activities such as kayaking on Lake Como and a Vespa tour in Rome.
For clients into hands-on culinary experiences, I often suggest cooking classes. One of my favorites is in the medieval walled city of Certaldo, a 16th-century village with a handful of interesting artisan shops and restaurants. The woman who runs the class has eight individual work stations, one for each participant. There, you prepare a multi-course meal and then everyone dines together. I loved it and so does everyone I send there.
In season, there are a number of places where you can go truffle hunting and then learn to create a wonderful meal around them. There are also some wonderful villages known for specific foods. Pienza, in Tuscany, for example, creates wonderful cheeses, and I can set up a cheese tasting in one of its many cheese shops.
I often send return visitors to Puglia, which like Tuscany, has wonderful villas, vineyards and medieval walled cities. This year, I finally got to see the picturesque Trulli houses, traditional white limestone huts with conical roofs in the town of Alberobello. This iconic building style dates back to prehistoric days and some of the structures you see today date back to the 14th century.
I pride myself on being able to find the right activities and experiences for my client’s individual travel styles. Cinque Terre, five coastal villages built into spectacular mountains, can be explored on foot, by rail or by boat. One of the most romantic experiences is to travel from town to town in a private boat.
Similarly, on the Amalfi coast, I can arrange a private boat to hop from town to town. In addition, the captain will drop you off with a gourmet picnic lunch on a private beach for a few hours.
Italy’s Dolomite Mountains also offer spectacular Alpine skiing and hiking and stunning scenery. An expansive lift system allows you to ski or hike from village to village, stopping for traditional lunches at slope-side restaurants. The ambiance is very family friendly and unpretentious, and village shops sell locally-made wood-carvings and other unique regional crafts.
It is easy to understand why so many people love Italy. The food is wonderful, the art is amazing and the architecture spans the centuries. Every city you go to is a little bit different than the city before. Italy also has one of the most welcoming cultures I have experienced. I’d love to help you discover your personal Italy!