"BUT ... WE REALLY WANTED TO GO!"
I hear you. Yes, I know you waited months, even years for this ... told your friends and family how excited you were, started counting down the days ... began thinking about what you were going to wear ... maybe even picked up a new suitcase. You were ready to go.
But then… the unthinkable happened. An unknown virus took over our lives, our jobs, our family, and our very basic freedom to choose as a society. The World has officially stopped.
The global threat of Covid-19 is one of the most challenging things we have ever faced. Not only from our own perspective as a tour Company, but as a human collective. This pandemic is not just forcing us to adjust our travel plans, but dramatically influencing the way we live.
My heart breaks for all the clients who won't be able to enjoy the vacation they've waited so long for, but also for my beloved Team of Journey Directors, drivers, hotel staff, and City Guides in Italy who are going through a very difficult time.
As you may know, many of my staff members here in the USA are expats like myself, with close family and friends in Italy, so for us, this is as hard to deal with from both an operational standpoint as well as an emotional one.
But let me be clear, Nada's Italy is not going anywhere. Rest assured, I have an exceptional team and with your support, we will come out of it much stronger than ever. Once this moment has passed, we all have faith and confidence that life will return to normal. Italy will be back to sharing the stunning sites it is known for with travelers from around the world.
I have faced many challenges in the past and can tell you that Nada's Italy is a resilient Company. I see how committed, hard-working, and passionate my staff members are and I know we will be here ready to plan more extraordinary experiences for you when all of this is said and done.
We have been showered with emails, texts, and Facebook messages of encouragement and solidarity from our beloved clients.
To add to that, more than 85% of those scheduled for Spring and early Summer tours have chosen to reschedule, as opposed to canceling their Nada's Italy trip.
And, most importantly, they have something super exciting to look forward to in the near future, which can be a huge mood booster right now for those who are itching to travel.
I couldn't be more thankful that our clients continue to support us and know we are here for each other during this stressful time.
As we are asked to slow our lives down during this unprecedented moment in our history, I can't help but to stop and look back at the past 15 years of starting, building, and running Nada's Italy.
When a handful of "brave souls" decided to join me on a trip to Italy in 2004, my intention was to simply share a part of the beautiful lifestyle I had grown up with and places that were dear to my heart. I had the desire to inspire people to live in the moment, enjoy the good things in life, connect with others on a deeper level, taste genuine food, and discover a part of themselves by seeing how Italians enjoy life.
For years, my wonderful Mamma would drive from Florence to a charming villa I had rented in the countryside, packing every square inch of space in her car with food, pots, and pans. She would spend all day preparing her favorite traditional local dishes. Besides an incredible spread of pecorino cheese, cold-cuts, fresh veggies, bruschettas, and seasonal fruit, Mamma's main courses included a Tuscan spelled soup (Tuscan bean & barley soup), "rabbit Etruscan" (braised rabbit with olive and red wine reduction, which had people talking for days ..), and of course, her homemade tiramisu '.
I remember her in the kitchen all day yelling in a "loving way" at my step-dad Alvaro because he wasn't chopping the vegetables the way she wanted him to. Despite the fact that he couldn't speak English, his lively hand-gestures and comical reactions could entertain everyone for hours. But Mamma was on a serious mission: making everything perfect for all those who had traveled from so far away to be at her table for dinner that night.
As the Sun started to set and the crisp air got cooler over the hills of Tuscany, the warm aromatic smells would wind up the hallways and stairs of the villa, slowly reaching every room, offering a delightful invitation to all the guests who would then quickly begin their migration towards the dining room to see what Mamma had cooked up.
Over the years, I have had the honor and pleasure of getting to know so many wonderful people.
Because of the incredible opportunity I've been given to share my family, my life, and my Italy with the world, I feel like I was the one who learned to appreciate life, relationships, and the simple things now more than ever.
(Photos of Nada's Family and some of her first travelers from 2005 - 2007)