April 13, 2021
Amelia (my Nonna) and Josephine (Kathy’s Mom) at 1st Communion
Take Me Home Italy is my work. It is also a deep part of who I am as a person who grew up thinking I was Italian, not American, until I began my life in school. I am now a Dual USA and Italian Citizen choosing to live most of my life in Italy.
My booth at Festa Italiana 2015—It was so hot!
My business began at the Festa Italiana 2015 event in St. Paul, Minnesota. I had planned it to focus on people like me who were Italian-American searching for their history. It has since blossomed into a travel planning service for everyone who wants to understand what Italy is really all about, who wants to capture a piece of true Italian Soul.
I search out places not in Travel books, difficult to find on the internet, places often untouched by American Tourism, places where you can meet the locals for real. You can share a meal, experience their work life, their home life, their kitchens, and their kids.
Yes, my clients visit the Big Three—Rome, Florence, and Venice—especially on their first Adventure in Italy. But even then, they may hike with locals in Liguria, take a balloon ride over Chianti, or go horseback riding with locals. They can experience Wine-tasting at the table of a small vintner, tasting a different wine with each course and chatting with the family. They will feel the real Italy as I do every single day.
I used the map above to invite visitors to Festa Italiana to find their towns of origin—stars were placed on their ancestral homes. It was quite the experience as kids called their grandparents to get the answers!
In the beginning, I was learning what to do, how to do it and how my people could experience it all. Kathy was my first client. And it was a BIG job—15 people from three generations of the same family, seeking their roots in Abruzzo plus discovering so much that Italy had to offer.
There were bus rentals, and a driver to house, train tickets, hotels, even a family open house meal at their hotel in Abruzzo. Near the Vatican, Kathy’s family took over an entire B&B, taking all the rooms. It could have gone so very wrong. Yet, here is Kathy’s story, one that can be yours too.
It's been a long time since we have communicated, although, I try to read most of your blogs. I do enjoy your news, and I admire your fortitude. I especially enjoyed your last message, describing how you got your business started. I remember that day well, and I think that was my family of 15 that you referred to in your blog. I'd like to give my input on our family's experience during that trip. I was in the Italian folk dance group, and we were performing at the Festa Italiana.
In the 60s my Father taught the young ones to dance the Tarantella.
Here it is at Festa Italiana 2015
I stopped at your booth and we started chatting about our heritage and people we knew in common. We discovered that your grandmother and my mother grew up together in the "old neighborhood" and were good friends. We also talked about your new venture, the Take Me Home Italy travel service. I had long wanted to take my family to Italy. We still have many relatives in Italy, and my mother always wanted her family to see where they came from and meet those relatives. It would have been a daunting task to plan a trip for 15 people, so I just kept dreaming about it and never acted on it... until that day. Meeting you opened the opportunity to make my dream come true.
We discussed the type of trip I was hoping to plan, and you made it all happen. I wanted my grandchildren to see Rome, Florence and Venice, in addition to visiting our relatives in the mountains of Abruzzo. Marilyn, my grandchildren, as well as their parents, agree that the trip you planned for us is the highlight of their life. Often, when we're together, they refer to incidents that occurred while on our adventure. They will never forget it. The arrangements you made for us were perfectly planned, and it all went without a hitch. We are forever indebted to you for making our dream trip come true.
Molto grazie! (Thank you!)
Kathy W., St. Paul MN
Dear, Dear Kathy, you have made my year! And, because of working with you, I learned to be a better travel planner. So many wishes needed to be fulfilled with your 15 people. I can’t tell you how many times I counted beds—just that alone was a learning experience.
I am so happy that your family had the opportunity that both you and I experienced prior to your adventure with your US family. They walked the streets of their ancestors. They played with distant cousins close to their age and saw how different their life is. Your children and their spouses now understand you even better because they have felt your roots, your Italian Soul and discovered their own bit of Italy deep inside them.
Thank you for trusting me with your dream. Thank you for your patience as I learned on the job with you. Thank you for this letter and allowing me to share it.
Kathy, Grazie Mille!
Travel to Italy will open once again. If you would like an experience such as Kathy described, where everyone cherished their Italian Adventure, let me know how I can help.
Email me: Marilyn@TakeMeHomeItaly.com
YouTube: Take Me Home Italy
Patreon: www.Patreon.com/TakeMeHomeItaly1 I would truly appreciate your support.
Ciao for now!
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Ciao for Now!
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