Lake Como, Italy

We are confident that the situation will return to normal as we continue with our everyday lives.”

Savvy travelers may get the jump on the world by booking future travel to Italy now. data collected by Virtuoso – the travel industry’s top worldwide network of international luxury tourism advisers – had consistently revealed that Italy is the most satisfying destination for vacationers and holiday-goers surveyed. 

Lake Como, Italy
Lake Como in the north of Italy welcomes the world. (Photo by Harrison Shiels)

Due to the temporary closures due to the Covid-19 Coronavirus in March of 2020, there is likely to be massive pent-up demand for those eager to re-book and resume travel to Venice, Florence, Sienna, Milan and Rome.

IC Bellagio, Italy’s award-winning, international custom travel arrangement company typically offers “skip the line” experiences to the most exclusive, sought-after Italian experiences, is now in a position to put future travelers in the “front of the line” of millions who will want to get to dream destinations such as Venice, Lake Como, Florence, Milan, the Dolomites, Rome and Sicily as they reopen and resume their exquisite normalcy.

Loyalty to and recognition of the significance of Italian history, culture, and cuisine seems likely to provoke a sentiment of support, as well. La Dolce Vita (the sweet life) of Italians is also cherished through the “Made in Italy” label on fashions and fast cars.

Italian Connection Bellagio Stays Connected with Travelers and Guides

“We have been working to make sure everyone who has concerns about how Coronavirus impacts their travels received a quick and complete response. It is a priority for us,” said Andrea Grisdale, founder of the Lake Como-based IC Bellagio (IC stands for “Italian connection”). “There are for sure challenging days but when the waters are calm again, we will all celebrate with the best bottles of wine in our cellars!”

IC Bellagio, through social media and emails to their past, present and future travel clients, provides a stream of timely, fact-based and candid updates to the situation. The award-winning, 20-year old company turned to its deep-rooted relationships with government officials in various regions; its network of hoteliers, restaurateurs, drivers and museum docents; and the company’s army of local expert guides to secure accurate reports on conditions, closings and restrictions throughout Italy. IC Bellagio was able to post firsthand accounts and photos of the streets and tourist sites in Milan, Taormina, Lezzeno, and elsewhere.

“We would like to express how proud we are of the measures undertaken by the Italian authorities to protect both the Italian citizens and also everyone who travels to Italy,” said Grisdale. “We are confident that the situation will return to normal as we continue with our everyday lives.”

IC Bellagio
IC Bellagio’s world HQ has 40 on-site advisers and countless expert guides countywide. (Photo by Harrison Shiels)

Plan Now to Secure “Real Italian” Itineraries

IC Bellagio’s palazzo in Lezzeno
Live like a local in IC Bellagio’s palazzo in Lezzeno. (Photo by Harrison Shiels)

Modern travelers more than ever desire authentic experiences, and IC Bellagio offers opportunities to “live like a local” in the neighborhood Palazzo Del Vice Re on Lake Como’s shore in a village near Bellagio; and at the same time provides access to highly exclusive experiences such as a private evening concert in the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel – a bucket-list destination otherwise typically teeming with tourists.

Without question those eager to get back to Italy, or visit for the first time, dream of the types of itineraries IC Bellagio now has access to.

Mio Gondolier
A solo by Mio Gondolier in Venice. (Photo by Harrison Shiels)

After a classic private boat taxi upon landing at Venice’s Marco Polo International Airport travelers can stand on the balcony of their guest suite at the Hotel Londra Palace and enjoy the vista of the Grand Canal with an Aperol Spritz – the local favorite – in hand. As IC Bellagio’s expert local guide will show visitors the hotel is virtually next door to Doge’s Palace and the Bridge of Sighs, and right around the corner from Piazza San Marco, which, if you visit in off peak times as IC Bellagio advises, you can have all to yourself.

Venice Grand Canal
The view of Venice’s Grand Canal from Hotel Londra Palace. (Photo by Harrison Shiels)
Aperol Spritz, Italy
Made in Italy: water and Aperol Spritz. (Photo by Harrison Shiels)

Flowing then to Florence

A comfortable train to Florence – where the Negroni is that city’s cocktail of choice – leads guests to the four-star Hotel Brunelleschi and its sixth century round tower bar and Ristorante Santa Elisabetta the ancient church that became the stained-glass lobby. Guests experience all this history and beauty in Florence before an IC Bellagio guide even takes them directly, without waiting, on an educational journey inside the Museum of Accademia and to view the works of Renaissance masters Michelangelo, Botticelli, Raphael and da Vinci in the Uffizi Gallery. Eating one’s way through Florence, IC Bellagio-style, means lunching in a neighborhood cucina with locals instead of in the city’s tourist trattorias. Of course, there will be crowds shopping for gold on the medieval Ponte Vecchio, but it makes the atmosphere better for the buyer. 

Pursuing Puccini in Lucca

That dream itinerary may then have guests being driven to the Hotel Plaza e de Russie on the promenade in seafront Viareggio from which a guide takes people to visit the walled Roman city of Lucca – home to renowned composer Giacomo Puccini. Salvatore Madonna, general manager and owner of the Hotel Plaza e de Russie is happy to personally recommend Restaurant Lunasia and can explain to guests why Carrara’s “white gold” they will see on that days’ tour of the jagged peaks of the Apuan Alps is so significant in the art world. Of course, an IC Bellagio tour there means guests will meet and watch actual sculptors…and maybe try their hands?    

Winemaker for a Day

While being driven from Viareggio to Sienna, IC Bellagio guests have the opportunity to become a winemaker for a day and do some blending and tasting at a vineyard in Chianti – one of a number of wineries they will have the opportunity to visit across the hilly Tuscan countryside that day. Italian photographers know of the “ora d’ oro,” the magical hour when the sun gets low and its rays paint the Tuscan scenery with a golden light. Fate, or the guide, determine whether travelers will be walking the passeggiata on a cobblestone street in a local village or at a stone farmhouse on a cypress-lines lane between the vines at that time.

Sunset in Sienna

The four-star Hotel Athena in Sienna awaits in the old town center near Piazza del Campo and the striped cathedral where the next day’s expert tour will explain the unique, historical Palio horse race and pageant.

The opportunity to delve into history continues in Castelnuovo Berardenga when travelers check in to the Relais Borgo San Felice, the revived town-turned-chic resort with its 1,300-year-old chapel; and spa in a former olive mill.

As we let our imaginations wander on these walking tours through these towns, it’s easy to see and sense and virtually taste why the planet’s appetite for Italy will only be increased by the temporarily denying the world’s cravings.

Michael Patrick Shiels is a radio host and travel blogger. Follow his adventures at Contact Travel Writer Michael Patrick Shiels at [email protected]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *