When it was announced on May 13 that Italy was reopening, our first thought was to give you a report from each of our local guides. But since our trips cover all of Italy from the northern border with Switzerland in the Italian lakes, to Tuscany and the Cinque Terre, through the Amalfi Coast, to Puglia in the heel, to Sicily off the tip of the boot, we needed someone who could provide an informed view on travel to all of Italy.
So, we turned to our favorite Roman, and European tour manager, Priscila. Raised in a multi-cultural family in southern California, she studied art history while in university in Rome, before returning to San Diego to become a guest services manager in our head office. While working with Classic Journeys and vacationing in Italy, she met the love of her life Pino, an engineer, whose job includes retrofitting some of the most famous architecture in Rome against earthquakes. Ultimately, returned to Rome to marry Pino and start her life with him there. They now have a little daughter, Stella, and Priscila continues her career at Classic Journeys as our European tour manager.
There’s one big unexpected thing that frequent traveler Susan Kipers carried away from her March trip to Morocco—and it wasn’t a rug. (Though she did bring home one of those too.) Instead, it was the heartfelt outpouring of happiness that many people she came into contact with had at her very presence in the country. “The hotels, our guide, our driver, everybody expressed gratitude that we were there, but Tarik [a Classic Journeys host who owns a farm near Fès] was particularly sincere,” she recalls. “He told our group multiple times, ‘I'm so happy, I'm so, so happy to see you.’”
“And we weren’t a huge crowd coming from the U.S. during Covid-19; we were just three people—and I felt like a rockstar,” she goes on to say. “With Tarik, you could tell it was coming from a deep place and that he really missed making connections with people.” That experience, she believes, was such an illustrative moment demonstrating that it’s not just travelers themselves that are energized at the return of tourism; guides, hosts and everyone involved in making those trips a success truly miss those interactions too.
Our tour operations team is talking to local and federal governments and our local guides and hoteliers in every one of our regions daily. And we’re seeing border updates and new destinations available every time we check.
For information on Classic Journeys tours in the 'new normal,' click here.