Italy Here We Come

About a year ago, Carol contacted Chimera Travel looking to plan an all women's trip to Tuscany to celebrate an important birthday. Their ideal trip was a 10-day vacation to Tuscany and Venice that involved a combination of sightseeing and culinary experiences.

With varying travel experiences and interest among the group, the challenge was to incorporate everyone's preferences into a trip that still captured what Carol had imagined for her birthday vacation. After several email exchanges between myself and the six women, I decided that in order to organize everyone's ideas and interests, an in person meeting was best.

Given the itinerary, we chose to meet at a local Italian restaurant to discuss the trip and get an action plan together. We went through each part of the trip step by step, and eventually came up with an itinerary that included a bit of something for everyone.

The women flew into Rome and several hours later hopped on the train to Florence - their pre-booked first class rail tickets made this plane to train transition smoother. Once in Florence, they took the day to wander the city and take in the sites. The following day was their day museum day. Florence's Uffizi Gallery and Acadamia are incredibly popular, and without advanced tickets, visitors often wait three to four hours at each to get in. Luckily, we'd decided to pre-order their tickets for a specific date and time, so they just had to arrive at will call an hour before their entrance time to pick up their tickets.

After a busy two days of sightseeing and museums, it was time to add in some culinary flare. They were booked on two private excursions. They first made a visit to the vibrant food markets in Florence followed by a chance to roll up their sleeves and cook some authentic Italian cuisine. On their last day in Tuscany, a private guide took them through town of Montepulciano for wine tasting at several vineyards. The ladies thoroughly enjoyed their cooking and wine experiences - so much so that their guides provided their personal contact information in case any of the women came back to Tuscany.

Following four days in Florence, the group headed to Venice, where they had no set plans, though plenty of ideas for what they'd like to do. They spent the days visiting the sites, feasting in Northern Italian restaurants, collecting souvenirs in boutique shops and simply just enjoying their time in a wonderfully unique city.

After returning home, the women used an online photo gallery to create an album which they all ordered in hard cover. I met with them after the trip to follow up and hear their stories, and they had already begun talking about where they could take their next group trip. Though it took a lot of careful planning and coordinating, it was a pleasure to work with these women and I look forward to creating their next vacation experience.