In 2010, I sold the majority of my belongings, packed up two suitcases and hopped on a plane to Italy. What was originally planned as a six month adventure turned into nearly a decade. I fell in love; with the food, the culture, and the country. Her incredible beauty and a way of life so different from that in America. A centering on pleasure, community and connection.

Based in Rome and working with a tour operator at the Vatican Museums I had the opportunity to learn so much about art and history. Living in “Bella Roma” was an intoxicating contrast of chaos and joy. Whether driving a motorino through the streets or taking a wrong turn down a quiet cobbled alley to a hidden fountain; the unexpected was around every corner. It’s a living, breathing museum.

During my years in Italy I traveled the country slowly and intentionally. A day trip three hours into the countryside just for a beautiful meal with friends. August at the seaside. I learned the language and turned my passion for people and food into work as a culinary tour leader. Teaching fellow Americans about my adopted home through the local family institutions and neighborhoods. When someone asked what I did for a job I replied with a smile “I get paid to eat, drink, and talk!”

As my career path evolved I moved on to manage guides and develop tours with another local Rome agency. This also allowed me to work across the diverse regions of Italy. Now back in the US as a travel specialist with Ciao Andiamo, I am so grateful to have the best of both worlds. It’s an honor assisting our clients, bringing my lived experience to work for them creating their dream trips. Falling in love with Italy all over again, every time through their eyes.