THE POWER OF NEW FRIENDSHIPS, MY FIRST WINERY STAY AND NAVIGATING THE NEW ENTRY PROTOCOLS . . .
In January of this year, I began planning a business trip to Italy to scout new properties for clients. With the help of Rome Private Excursions and Luca and crew, we put together an itinerary that would offer agents a wide variety of what Italy has to offer their clients. Fast forward to June 29th, and here we are traveling with a group of 10 female Travel Advisors from all over the United States, who soon became such good friends we consider ourselves a sisterhood. We had never met in person – only via Zoom. All we knew is that we were all Travel Advisors with a desperate need to travel again, to educate ourselves and to drink in all that Rome and Tuscany has to offer. We came back with SO much more! We have become each other’s greatest fans, shoulders to cry on, ears to vent to, a prayer chain for all who need it, new traveling partners and even nursing each other back to good health when needed. The power of our friendships can never be fully realized until strangers are thrown together in a foreign country and come out feeling like family. Let me say that I consider myself truly blessed to know all of them!
Now, to that something I had dreamed about for many years. After three fantastic days and nights of tours and hotel site inspections in Rome, we were swept out to the rolling countryside of Tuscany. A place where so many dreams are made of. Our first stop was in Montepulciano at De’Ricci Cantina Storica Cattedrale del Vino. This historic wine cellar produces some fabulous Brunellos as well as Chiantis and we had a lovely tour and wine tasting here. Afterwards a stop in Montechino to La Porta Ristorante for lunch and then on to Tenuta Torciano in San Gimignano where we would stay for 3 glorious nights! On the way, taking in the beauty of the countryside and all of the vineyards of so many types of grapes, I felt like I was in a dream.
We were met by the charming son and nephew of Pierluigi Giachi whose family has owned the winery for over 300 years. A lovely aperitif in the canopy near the central part of the vineyard and we had our first introduction to their magnificent Chiantis and Luciana, a delightful, fresh white wine. Luciana soon became my favorite so much so that I had some shipped back to the USA!
We were immersed into their culture almost immediately. From our cooking class where we learned to make fresh homemade pasta to being introduced to Moreno, who taught us all about truffles and how his adorable dogs are trained to find the truffles underground, we were made to feel like a part of their family. One very special treat was to be taken into the village of San Gimignano to experience a late afternoon aperitif on the rooftop terrace of Chigi Tower. One of the few remaining towers in San Gimignano and owned by the Giachi family. The views took our breath away! We can now arrange special dinners or celebrations with the winery to be held on this same rooftop!
Our stay at Tenuta Torciano is one we will never forget! And to now have the relationship with them to be able to send clients there and know they will experience the very best of it all, is a comfort to us as Travel Advisors.
I cannot leave this without mentioning that this trip began as a business trip to Italy. Americans were still not welcomed into the EU. Then as our departure date was looming even closer, the rumblings that they would open soon to the US began. However, the requirements changed almost weekly, if not daily. It was not easy sorting out what was actually required because the airlines were saying one thing and the Italian Ministry another! After many, many phone calls to the airlines and being on hold for hours on end (literally four hours one night), they finally aligned with the Italian Ministry and we had only days to go before departing.
My point of this last story is that in today’s travel environment, consumers need the expertise of Travel Advisors to truly help them navigate this erratic climate. So, even though you think that trip on one of the online travel companies seems like a “great deal”, you are missing out on the personal and professional services of a Travel Advisor who will have your best interests at the forefront. I’ll leave you with that thought to chew on a bit.
Have a fabulous week! Stay tuned for more travel stories and updates . . .