custom travel itineraries to italy


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($200 for a basic TRAVEL ITINERARY)


$300.00 – 5 days  /   $600.00 – 10 days  /  $900.00 – 15 days

(other prices can be customized in choose your own package, contact me at:

A custom Itinerary: example: 5 days / $300 : Multiple cities, resorts, hotels, any time frame, focus on specific interests and pursuits, tailor made precisely to your tastes and desires. One hour phone or Skype consultation is available by request, but there are unlimited email questions and requests which tend to satisfy most trip goals. Whatever you prefer. I can design your DREAM TRIP TO ITALY. (Rome – with Daytrips).

(including the general:) cross section travel itinerary for Italy including Rome, Florence, Venice, Capri and Amalfi Coast, Naples and Campania and Sorrento, and 4 day trips per city!

What to do, see, eat, drink, and where to stay on trips designed for: 24 hours, 1-2 days, 3 days, 5 days. 7 days, 10 days, 2 weeks, and longer.

Art and museum and architecture recommendations: what villas, buildings, and churches to visit for architecture, art masterpieces like Caravaggio and less well known works, Latin masses, Byzantine decor, choral recitals, special holiday galas, masses in a variety of languages, hidden histories of patron saints, churches built on top of ancient Roman and Etruscan ruins, Gothic churches, and major pilgrimage sites.

How to get past ALL the lines in Rome and Florence for museums.

The five museums in Rome you cannot skip!!

Best times to visit the cities versus the seaside spots.

How to walk the 3000 year old pathway of Classical Antiquity in one day in Rome.

The BEST ROMAN (AND GREEK!) RUINS in ITALY (especially in Rome) in fascinating, historical detail with maps, and a clearcut and fascinating set of walking tours through Pompeii!

Secret spots of Roman Emperors on beautiful islands.

For every budget: Hotels, air bnbs, apartments, rental villas, convents and monasteries for pilgrims, and hostels!

Slow Food Italy: eat authentic Italian cuisine by region, eat seasonally, what wines to drink where and when, the best gelato, cocktails in Rome and Naples, the best cafes in Rome, Florence, and Naples. Best seafood, best chocolates, top ten tea rooms in Italy. How to drink Italian wine and order any local dish with confidence in Rome. Shopping for deals for made in Italy bonafide artisan goods, olive oils, spices, pastas, and more. The best desserts and the best pizza in Napoli. How to get Neapolitan pizza in Rome cooked in a 500 year old oven. The local watering holes and bookshops and supermercatos – for half the cost of tourist spots. How to break your cafe bill in half like a local. FRUGAL BUDGET TRAVEL that is elegant and authentic!

30 best spots to photograph Romantic Rome and top five spots to watch the sunset. Photography tips for capturing the beauty and color of Rome. Swimming day trips from Rome and Naples. Shopping artisan goods: gourmet foods, wines, liquors, sandals and shoes, fashion, hand painted tiles, coffee beans, art, perfume, monastic and convent handmade products, spice markets, cooking schools, souvenirs and mementos. Limoncello and vineyard visits.

Easy to follow, informative, beauty-focused historical art walks of Italy.

Literary and cinematic fun and glamorous mini-tours of Rome, Florence, and Campania.

Top ten in depth profiles of the best villa art museums with museum cafe reviews and garden walks.

Top ten fountain hopping romantic walks at night in Rome.

Tons of events and easy to navigate for mums and dads with babies and children in the Family Guide To Italy.

A respectful and realistic guide to traveling in style and comfort in Italy with physical disabilities.

The Elder guide to traveling in Italy during your Golden Years.

How to see Italy solo (safely and with fulfilling solitary and group ideas).

How to see the big things in Rome and throw in a few off the beaten path sightseeing (and eating) without exhausting yourself.

The honeymooners and lovers romantic itinerary.

Students in Italy (how to get cultured and still have fun AND stay safe while you study in the beautiful country of Italy).

Green eco travel! Hikers and swimmers and nature lover things to do and experience.

(Major and minor) food allergies and sober travelers: the most in depth guide you can find on how to eat and drink beautifully and healthfully in Italy in any city or town without getting sick or centering a trip around alcohol. Support group meetings, 12 steps, and recovery guides, medical contacts, recommended doctors and psychologists and help lines in Italy.

Historical Italy: Etruscans, Romans, Middle Ages, Renaissance, Baroque, Counter Reformation, Romantic Poets and Artists Era, Victorian, Fascist Era, 1950s/1960s renaissance, Modern 21st Century Italy.

Holidays in Rome.

Seasonal delights and attractions.

The most up to date information on Holidaying in Rome.

Pilgrimages. Sojourns. Art meccas. Study art in a workshop at the Florence School of Academic Art. Take a cooking class. Go to a vineyard and attend a wine tasting. Attend a classic music concert on a rooftop designed by Borromini, overlooking the Bernini fountains and cupolas of the ancient Piazza Navona or attend an intimate opera performance in a room full of Caravaggios. Follow the footsteps of the English and German Romantics. Take architectural walking and driving tours.

Maps and many images to utilize to make your holiday to Italy fun, easy, off the beaten path, and unforgettable!

And much much much more! email for questions.

Down and Out In London with South London’s Most Disappointed Man


Recently I’ve begun listening to podcasts while I drive to work or take a long walk. Snippets of English Romantic poets or classic novels in audio book or the latest episode of This American Life on NPR. Then there are the hilarious British podcasts I’m addicted to now.


Despite my great public love affair with Italy I am a serious anglophile. Most of the television I watch is from Great Britain or Ireland and I listen to various BBC Radio stations throughout my day and on my long commutes. My smart phone has come in handy on these accounts and through a random “UK” podcast shuffle I found two disparate shows which really stuck on me. One was Helen and Olly at It’s a witty, funny, silly podcast where Helen and Olly answer odd questions in clever ways. They are very big and popular.


The other podcast is by renegade podcaster Daniel Ruiz Tizon, whose audio journey down and out in London is funny, intense and strangely addictive. I can’t stop listening.


The Daniel Ruiz Tizon Is Available podcast is what I want to discuss tonight. I think it’s criminally underrated. There’s a heavy realism to his work, very timely in the face of the economic downturn. He faces temp jobs, public transport, high rents and the high cost of living with his own kind of panache mixed with grit. I wrote this little review after listening to several podcasts of his about one week after the first one of his I stumbled on. 

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I cannot help but think of this Khalil Gibran quote whilst listening to Daniel Ruiz Tizon Is Available; “Knowledge of the self is the mother of all knowledge. So it is incumbent on me to know my self, to know it completely, to know its minutiae, its characteristics, its subtleties, and its very atoms.”


He engages the listener in a rolling monologue about a perceived flaw or an awkward exchange at a queue or the umpteenth failure of gripping the bus railing properly when ascending the stairs with the finely tuned detail of an obsessive… who can spin a good yarn. Even when he returns to recurring themes he’s entertaining; the career follies, lamenting hight rents, fetishizing chin fissures – (I don’t know either), rhinoplasty, worrying about dirty looks from the cashiers, cafe workers, and other strangers he has to face in his every day life in London. The guy even makes nectar points sound interesting and just the tiniest bit glamourous. But maybe that last part is because I am an American and everything sounds just a little bit better with a British accent?


The English voice and the self deprecating, dry, deadpan humor is what drew me in but the rawness, the edge and the honesty are what kept me returning for archives of the podcast. I shouldn’t even relate to him. I don’t think I’m his target audience. I don’t even understand all the references and I was bred on BBC and have a degree in British Literature but his musings are oddly universal. They reflect a commonality between everyone (at least the misfits and the socially awkward folks) even as they sparkle with his own vision of his terminal uniqueness.


And he has a passing resemblance to a young Massimo Troisi which adds to the warm eccentricity.


He’s like an International Man of Mystery without the mystery – he’s stripped it all away and wants to lay bare to the world his every fear, real (and especially imagined), his motivations for wearing a particular shirt or his stubble a certain way so as to manipulate his image in relation to the eyes of the world. He wants to disguise himself so he is not judged by outsiders but with his audience nothing is sacred, no stone is left unturned, he will dissect his every tick and quirk. He will eviscerate his very being for the audience. He’s in on the joke even if he’s not laughing. His self-satire is subtle, his send up of every one else is never a deep cut, more like a thousand pin pricks of mild disapproval and astute observations on the ridiculousness of people, places and things.


He makes an art form out of agonizing over choices of wearing a t-shirt in the summer because of his hairy arms or what topic of conversation will make him seem the most unaffectedly cool person in the room or at least not stand out uncomfortably.


In one archived podcast I particularly liked he described his anti-adventures in night school where he sums up the member of each class and assigns them each a classic role. He laments he always seems to buddy up with the one or two students who leave halfway through the term. And then he’s left hanging for the rest of the semester, ostracized from the others he initially shunned in favor of the friends who once again left him to manage on his own.


He uses experiences from his own son of Spanish émigrés identity and his working-class childhood to search for the meaning of himself and where he “fits” into the world in the minutiae. He’s not afraid to look at the mundanity of the common life most of us all have to plod through but he manages to be authentic and funny at the same time. Because, don’t get me wrong, he is funny. Laugh out loud funny some times.


It’s refreshing to not have yet another tidy, pasteurized, tony sounding, middle class Englishman trying to discuss the Spanish Civil War or the irony of wanting to live forever but not having enough nectar points to last long enough. I mean I just don’t think I would buy them at it, you know?


But with Daniel I believe every damned thing he says because he speaks with authority, the authority of forty one years of uninterrupted navel gazing with a purpose. To bring laughter to a bunch of repressed anglo saxons and three or so yanks and counting.


My favorite parts of the podcasts are the non-sequitars of overheard public conversations, his random musings on the secret inner lives of acquaintances, the memories of his parents (and of the 90s), the frequent references to his age like a death knell, his fragments of conversation with a young colleague and the unfiltered brilliance that pours forth from his young, dumb and full of… mentality.


Lastly, his interviews with a friend who is maybe a cockney or is a Charles Dickens character sprung to life in a London bedsit who runs the gamut of Vulgarian to Thoughtful Lover to Speaker of Romantic Languages to Answer Man for The Ages. He’s definitely a keeper. And so is Daniel Ruiz Tizon and his funny, amazing, crazy, addictive podcast. And he’s very available.


You can listen to the very funny podcast of South London’s Most Disappointed Man here:

his fb fan page

the podcast twitter

Catch his latest podcasts or peruse his archives. I always give a show a few chances (a few shows) before I make my mind up about them.

save the antico caffé delle pace in rome!

tumblr_m3j0701vo21qznevxo1_1280The Antico Caffè Delle Pace / Bar Delle Pace in Rome, Italy. I took this shot in March 2012.

I am posting a photograph of one of my most favorite 19th century cafe-bars in the world because it is in danger of being lost along with many other beautiful old cafes and shops in the historical center of Rome! Romans are protesting these closures. 

I have palpable memories of sitting outside people watching with a prosecco or an espresso, soaking up the beautiful patio, cafe tables, the renaissance church and museum to one side, the hanging greenery. 

One evening we were caught in the rain and had the sumptuous, historical, cozy, beautiful cafe interior to ourselves as I sipped pinot nero and nero d’avola and he had endless pots of smoky tea. I remember the 19th century cash register and the bust of Augustus and the antique mirrors and the waitresses and waiters who looked like fashion models. 

It’s the kind of place that’s built for the “beautiful people” and can be a magnet for the rich and famous (and more interesting the Roman Who’s Who of writers, artists, intellectuals) but I never felt like an outsider there. 

It is a low key, lovely cafe. I enjoy the walk to it on sunny afternoons or on cloudless, starry nights anytime I am in Rome. It is one of the highlights of my trips. 

And if we lose another historical, old world cafe or shop – Rome will love it’s very heart of the centro storico. 
the impossibly cool caffe & bar della pace, rome, italy, 2012.

I’m not sure what I can do to help but I would like to do something. Any Italians or people living in Rome have a site or petition or anything? I would love to spread the word.