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A Letter From the Founder
by Jon, Founder
On March 28, 2020, Ciao Andiamo celebrates NINE years in business, curating authentic Italian experiences for our beloved guests. It is surreal to think about all that has transpired along this incredible journey, and how far we have come since those very first days of operation.
When Ciao Andiamo first began, “we” were a team of one, “headquartered” in the living room of a New York City apartment. I had left a promising career in the corporate world to build a business around my long-time passion for all things Italian. From a decade spent studying the Italian language, to multiple stints living in the bel paese – first in the small town of Sesto Fiorentino, just outside Florence, and later in the bustling metropolis of Milan – I was fortunate to have been able to discover the immense beauty of Italy, not as a tourist, but as a local.
I did all I could to soak in real Italian life, and immerse myself in the country’s culture, history, food, wine, and natural beauty. More than anything, it was the people, with their tremendous Italian spirit, who impacted me so profoundly, and inspired the mission of Ciao Andiamo: To help travelers discover Italy through local eyes, and fall in love. My hope, in starting this business, was to enable travelers to have a different kind of experience than that of the typical tourist, to go deeper, and connect with the country and Italian way of life, on unforgettable adventures full of passion and meaning.
After the early days of learning the ropes of the travel industry, and molding and fine-tuning the ways in which Ciao Andiamo could successfully deliver on its mission for our travelers, some special things began to unfold. Most notably, I connected with Max and Cristiana, a husband and wife dream team, with years of experience in the Italian hospitality industry–from running their own B&B in an off-the-beaten-path corner of the Umbrian countryside, to managing a hotel in Rome, and leading VIP guests on insider excursions. Max and Cristiana were effectively on their own parallel journey, looking to build something meaningful and lasting, with a shared vision and passion for authentic Italian adventures. We began to collaborate in curating all kinds of experiences for travelers, and soon joined together as official business partners and co-owners of Ciao Andiamo.
It was a perfect union, and we got to work building our respective offices and teams, in New York City (where the focus would be on growth, trip planning, and client services), and in Umbria, Italy (where we would manage our invaluable relationships with carefully selected collaborators across Italy, oversee operations and bookings, lead insider tours, and closely look after all our clients during their travels). So began the next phase of Ciao Andiamo, and we slowly transformed what had begun as a small passion project into a dynamic business poised for smart, continued growth, while keeping the personal touch, and staying true to our roots and mission.
While Ciao Andiamo’s Italian journeys come to fruition through the dedication, passion, and care of the Ciao Andiamo team, and our exceptional network of guides, drivers, chefs, producers, and artisans, none of this would be possible were it not for our wonderful travelers. Grazie to you all for trusting in us over the years, for your enthusiasm, curiosity, and zeal, and for being part of the “Ciao famiglia”. We cannot wait to continue our adventure together, for many years to come.
As we now begin our 10th year in operation, we find ourselves in a moment unlike any other in the history of Ciao Andiamo. COVID-19 has impacted so many individuals, families, industries, and businesses across the globe, ours included. It has been a tough moment for travel in general, and certainly for tourism in Italy. However, we remain grateful for the health and safety of our team members and partners, and for the outpouring of well wishes and encouragement we have received from so many of you. We know this moment shall pass, and when it does, we will be ready to resume in the promise of our mission, bringing to life extraordinary Italian journeys for our travelers, and welcoming you all back to Italy with open arms.
We do not take for granted that all of you have been impacted by COVID-19 in one way or another. We are keeping each and every one of you in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time, and know that we will get through this all together. Italy trip planning is, understandably, not top of mind for many right now. But if you find yourself in a position where you are able and interested to support Ciao Andiamo, including our local partners and team, one meaningful way is to put down a deposit now for a trip you plan to take at some point in the future. You don’t need to have a precise travel date, or even a specific year in mind; any payment you make now will be 100% credited towards future travel, without time limitation, or restriction. And for any new trip deposits we receive at this time, we’ll be donating an additional 10% to one of the following two COVID-19 relief charities of your choosing:
The CDC Foundation Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund
Your support will help us mobilize a response to quickly assist CDC with taking aggressive public health measures to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus.
The Protezione Civile
The Protezione Civile, officially Dipartimento della Protezione Civile, is the national body in Italy that deals with the prediction, prevention and management of emergency events. Its duties are to predict, prevent and manage at national level disasters and catastrophes, both natural and human-made.
– Jon Pollock, Founder
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