Siena always feels like a home-away-from-home for me because it’s the first place that I lived in Italy. One of my most treasured memories with my clients was also in Siena. I hosted a tour group at a private contrada dinner before the Palio in Siena in the courtyard of the museum, a lovely, candle-lit medieval space. The 97-year-old head of the contrada began singing and all the members gradually joined in, the sound of their voices echoing off the stone…it was magical. My connections in Italy run deep, and when I connect my travellers to them, they have unique, personal and often magical experiences that are possible when you make friends in faraway places. No matter how beautiful a place is, it is the people you meet that really create the magic.
I’d visited six countries by the age of six months, and so it began. The travel bug was well-ingrained and by seventeen, I’d spent a summer living in Siena, Italy studying Medieval & Renaissance Art. While I studied, I explored Italy and guided trips in Europe for a top Canadian travel outfitter, laying the groundwork for my future career as a trip planner. I returned to Canada, but the taste of a foreign lifestyle was just too delectable, so after several semesters at the University of Toronto, I returned to Florence to complete my BA and stayed for nearly three years.
After my time in Italy, I later lived in France, working for a Burgundy-based company designing luxury tours throughout Italy. After four more years of living the European lifestyle and gathering an inspired network of local colleagues, I returned to Canada determined to share some of the special people and places I’d encountered with other like-minded explorers. So many friends and acquaintances shared their genuine curiosity about “the real Europe,” and with this, I recognized a niche market that craved authentic cultural travel experiences. It was this potentially unsatisfied traveler demographic that led me to launch my own company in 2005. I focused on curating these authentic travel experience for people who didn’t have the time and resources to do it on their own.
Many worldwide research and personal trips later, my destination knowledge is in-depth and I work in a variety of markets in destinations throughout Italy, Europe and beyond. While I have many favourite places, my next trip to Italy is never very far off.
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