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A New Grand Tour
On Thursday, I’ll be trying out something new.
The inspiration comes from my trip consultations. Usually, my clients and I use the session to strategize the logistics of their trips, but sometimes they ask me a broader question about Italy that I would love to answer in elaborate, geeky detail. And so I will start doing just that via a podcast hosted here on Substack.
Here’s what else I’m working on…
If you’d like to travel with me, there are three opportunities in 2023.
The first is soon, April 22-29th: Spring in South Italy.
I don’t do small group tours in Florence, Venice, or Rome because — you don’t need me in those places! South Italy is where the mass tourism market hasn’t mowed over the best stuff, and so I prefer to show you places you won’t find on Google or in a glossy travel magazine. (I know, I’ve pitched articles about these places to the glossies, but the locations aren’t attractive to their advertisers (cough, cough, cruise lines).
Because I still chafe at the idea of attending a group tour, I created this to make you feel like you’re traveling with a take-charge friend who is excited to show you all the great people and places she knows here.
This tour is timed for just before the high season, so you can see and actually enjoy Positano and Pompeii. But the best parts of the week are spent in and around Borgo La Pietraia, enjoying wine, figs, and the best buffalo mozzarella in Italy.
The second is Five Days in Naples. I’m mad about this city and want you to be too.
In Florence, Venice, and Rome, wealthy people own most of the real estate in the city centers, which means you find mostly hotels or apartments for tourists. In Naples, the working class lives in the city center, which is why it has a reputation as “gritty.” I think it’s a privilege to see how everyday life co-exists with ancient ruins, world-class museums, and 600 churches.
This is a hybrid tour where you are on your own in the evenings but meet up with a cool group of people daily to explore the city with different experts. We keep it small — 8 people max — so we only ever feel like a group of friends. This tour is ideal if you’re traveling solo or with a friend and want to have smart conversations while marveling at beautiful things in between stops for the best coffee in Italy and fried pizza.
Last up is Jenny Kroik’s Grand Tour. The title is a nod to the Grand Tour of the 19th century when artists and writers made a tour of Europe’s treasures with South Italy as a key destination. It gave us the word “tourism.”
Jenny is a prolific illustrator who has had three New Yorker covers. I was a fan of Jenny’s work for a while. Then in 2018, after seeing her second New Yorker cover, I sent her an Instagram message and invited her to be a guest on my tour of Arthur Avenue. I sensed she would connect with the neighborhood of vintage signs and old-school window displays. She accepted, and as we chatted to coordinate a time, we realized we lived directly across the street from each other. My windows faced her front door in a city of 8 million people. That visit to Arthur Avenue became a wonderful friendship and Jenny’s third New Yorker cover.
Jenny and her husband Rob joined me last year for Spring in South Italy and were as enraptured by Borgo La Pietraia as I suspected they’d be. In this retreat, Jenny will show you how to take in the beauty, put it on paper, and give it back to the world as art.
I hope you can join me in Italy. Have questions? Please send me an email at email@example.com
See you Thursday!