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Category Archives: Travel


Fell in Love with Italy

Posted by in Travel | May 15, 2013

Acquedotti di sera Blog 5.15.13A mutual friend introduced Sara and I shortly after my relocation to Chicago. Originally from the Windy City, Sara was then living in North Carolina after a stint in Italy.  During our first phone conversation we found we had more and more things in common and our hour on the phone was definitely not enough, so we continue to talk and email until Sara returned to live in Chicago in the early winter. Sara is a true Italian living in an American body and offers a unique perspective of my country based on her frequent solo travels to Italy:

Chiara: Sara, tell our readers a little about yourself and how you fell in love with Italy

Sara: It was serendipity. A colleague of mine was about to start taking Italian lessons and asked me if I’d like to join her. I said yes, even though I had never even thought of it before! My first lesson felt like I was going “home.” I loved the language and never wanted to stop learning it. So I booked my first flight to Italy about 6 months later, and I have not stopped going back since. That was 13 years ago. Every time I go back I feel like I am going to my rightful home. Every time I return to the US, I cry a little. Italy is magical. It has captured my imagination and my senses and won’t let go.

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Traveling In Style

Posted by in Tips, Trends, Custom & Lifestyle,Travel | May 10, 2013

Noelle Cellini  blog 5.8.13 picby Noelle Cellini, mybest-footforward.com This week Allure Italia is happy to have Fashion Expert Noelle Cellini as a guest blogger. Noelle, founder and owner of My Best Foot Forward is an accomplished Personal Stylist. She’s helped women in Chicago “put their best foot forward” for over 10 years. Her goal is to make her clients’ life easier and to show them that having great style isn’t something only the stars get to enjoy! And so, who best to tell us how to pack and dress with style when traveling than Noelle?

Dressing chic while traveling.  I know this may sound like an oxymoron, but it is possible!  With a few well-chosen pieces, you can navigate your vacations in style. When you’re traveling, comfort is a must, but you also do not want to stick out as a tourist and you want to make sure you’re appropriately dressed for any situations. All of this packed in a small suitcase. So, It’s extremely important to change up your neutrals, pick stylish, yet comfortable shoes and don’t forget the accessories.

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Of Driving and Parking in Italy

Posted by in Tips, Trends, Custom & Lifestyle,Travel | February 20, 2013

Pic 1 Blog 2.20.13A car rental can be an excellent choice when visiting Italy. If you are planning a countryside vacation or a ski trip for example, a car is a necessity.  ; Likewise, when you are making a “home base” somewhere outside the main cities and want to  take day trips to explore the surrounding areas, a car will make it much easier.

Aside from the stereotype of the Italians driving like maniacs (Italian drivers can be perceived as fairly aggressive if compared to the average American driver -constantly flashing their headlights at any car driving in the fast lane at he speed limit for example), there are a few useful acts you should know if you are planning to drive a car during your next trip to Italy:

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What I “re-learnt” about Italy

Posted by in Tips, Trends, Custom & Lifestyle,Travel | October 18, 2012

I spent most of September in Italy working. I visited with trusted, long standing business partners and brainstormed new ideas. I learned about all their fantastic new offerings, (for example a full day trip from Florence to visit the Ferrari Factory & Museum near Modena) and forged new relationships with outstanding service providers such as Michele, owner of Il Mangia Viaggi in Sienna. I also explored new locations and met up with some of my clients who were in Italy at the same time. What a treat!

But whenever I’m in Italy I also get to see my family and friends and spend time simply “living an everyday life” in my home country. So I get to enjoy the lifestyle I grew up with, like catching up with my friends for an “aperitivo” (before dinner drinks), and do mundane things like a grocery store run for my mother or a trip to the post office to ship off a package to my dear friend Maria.

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The Tech Savvy Traveler

Posted by in Technology,Travel | September 5, 2012

Two Things Happened Last Week:

  1. I had a conversation with a client leaving for a Tuscany family vacation about a tech savvy way to learn some Italian words and sentences. Something that would be easy and help them navigate Italy with more confidence.
  1. I received the September Issue of Conde Naste Traveler, with Wendy Perrin’s Report of Travel Apps.

You can find Wendy’s full list on page 126 of the September Issue of Conde Naste Traveler, but since 26 Apps is way too many for me, here are my favorites:

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Rooting for the Giraffe

Posted by in Travel | August 15, 2012

This week, on August 16th the Palio is run for the second time this year. Having half of my paternal family living in Sienna, I’m particularly fond of this event and have experienced it several times during my life.

Because of my ties to this city, I happen to know a lot about the Palio, but while preparing for this blog I did some research and found out that most travel companies describe it as “Most famous Italian horse race” .

And it is: to the visitor, the Palio is a horse race held twice a year (on July 2nd and August 16th) in Sienna’s main square – Piazza del Campo. Jockeys in bright outfits matching the colors of the “Contradas” (the neighborhoods in which the city is divided into) compete with each other riding half-blood horses bare back 3 times around Piazza del Campo while thousands of locals and tourists watch on and cheer.

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What to Pack for Your Trip to Italy – Part 2

Posted by in Tips, Trends, Custom & Lifestyle,Travel | August 9, 2012

Last week’s blog was about what to pack for your trip to Italy so you’re comfortable and feel appropriately dressed.

This week’s focus is really learning about some basic differences between how Americans & Italians choose to dress.

I asked my clients why they wanted to “fit in and dress as similarly to Italians as they can”. They identified it as not only a way to fully immerse themselves in the local culture but also a way to blend in better and not stick out too much as a tourist. So smart!

So, let’s review a few general observations:

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What to Pack for Your Trip to Italy

Posted by in Tips, Trends, Custom & Lifestyle,Travel | July 31, 2012

What should I pack?” Not sure why, but come summer, I get this question from almost 100% of my clients.

Yes, Italy has a leading reputation in the fashion industry, and we ‘locals’ are known for our fashion sense. Yet, I’m always surprised about how much my clients worry about clothing and dressing appropriately when visiting Italy.

So I asked. Here’s What I Learned:

They want to be comfortable and appropriate – the majority of my clients are looking for comfort, especially during sightseeing, but they also want to makesure their packing choices will not prevent them from any of the experiences they’ve planned.

They want to fit with the “Italian style” – a good portion of my clients also wants to dress as similarly to Italians as they can. This is not only a way to fully immerse yourself in the local culture but also a way to blend in better and not stick out too much as a tourist (which is always a very smart thing to do while traveling anywhere in the world).

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Driving in Italy

Posted by in Travel | July 17, 2012

I have a 50-50 split of clients who would never drive in Italy under any type of torture and clients who can’t wait to try the thrill of contending on the road with the “crazy” Italians. It is definitely true, my fellow citizens tend to be quite “creative” when driving (of course not me!), but driving in Italy is not as scary as it may sound.

If you are on the “let’s drive there” side, here are the answers to the most common questions on driving I get from my clients:

Directions/Speed limits:

No North or South (or East/West) indications in Italy – road signs indicate the next big town in a specific direction (i.e. in Rome the Northbound highway will say “Florence”).

Also, distances are shown in kilometers, not miles (1 mile= 1.5 kilometers). Speed limits are usually 130Km/h on highways; 110 km/h on major roads and 50km/h in towns. There will be road signs indicating the specific speed limit on each road or portion thereof.

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Indulge Your Inner Princess

Posted by in Travel | June 29, 2012

I learned to read at age 5 and I have been an avid reader ever since. I graduated from fairy tales to more adult books early on but the dream of becoming a Princess was ever present. How can it not, living in a country with more castles and medieval city walls than any other in the world?

A recent census completed by icastelli.it counts over 3000 Castles in Italy. I dare say, there are probably many more that have not been recorded, but statistics aside, turrets and defense walls are very much part of the Italian landscape.

For American visitors, this is a unique opportunity to experience a historical period that is missing from American History and a type of architecture that is impossible to find on US soil.

If you decide to satisfy your inner “Princess” or “Prince” in your next trip to Italy, here’s my personal TOP 3 Off the beaten path places to play “Lady of the Castle”:

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