Private weeklong small group tours through all five towns of the Cinque Terre
Holly learned Italian by immersing herself in the language after falling in love with Italy during her year abroad in Florence, Italy as a college student. She spent 6 months living in the village of Monterosso in 1982 and has continued practicing her language skills during her many trips back to Italy over the years and also by connecting with local Italians in Omaha, NE.
Holly's knowledge of the area, close friendships with locals and years of experience will make your time in Cinque Terre so much richer. You will not be an outsider looking in, but you will have unique experiences that only someone with local ties can offer. The perfectly made farinata (a Ligurian specialty made from chickpea flour), a taste of homemade limoncello or maybe a shopping excursion where she can be your translator and get you a local discount! She loves to share these little discoveries with you, the hidden gems you may not find on your own.
Holly lived in Monterosso in 1982 when she was traveling with her friend Elizabeth. They were the only Americans in the village during that fall and they got to take part in many traditions that were new to them...the olive harvest, cooking pizza in an outdoor wood burning oven, "la vendemmia" the grape harvest, and crocheting with the older ladies of the village on park benches. She has been traveling to Italy for more than 35 years.
Although Holly does not have Italian ancestry she has always said she is Italian in her heart and she was lucky enough to marry a man with 100% Sicilian roots! Her love for the country goes beyond the warmth of the culture, the incredible cuisine & breathtaking scenery. It has more to do with the friendships she has made over the years and the insights into their way of life that she has been privileged to experience.
Caroline received her Bachelor's degree in Italian Language at an American university in Florence, Italy and her expert skills in the language make getting around easy and effortless for you. Her knowledge of Italian language will make your experience even more authentic and enjoyable while you relax into the local culture and never have to stress about communication!
Caroline has lived in Monterosso since 2014 and is a true "Monterossina" now, which is what local ladies call themselves there! She has really become a part of the community in Monterosso and not only can arrange for special experiences with locals but also provides a wonderful insider's perspective. You can really learn about life in Italy in an entirely new way and experience the Cinque Terre just like the local people do with Caroline as your guide.
Caroline's first visit to Monterosso was at just 5 years old. Little did she know she would move there one day as she walked around the cobblestone streets in 1999. She visited a few more times until she met a local boy from Monterosso during a family trip in 2011. They stayed in touch until she returned in 2013. It was then that she decided her heart belonged in Italy. She made the big move in 2014 and completed her Bachelor's degree in Italian Language in Florence, Italy. She spent her weekdays attending class in the city in Florence and passed the weekends by the sea in Monterosso.
After graduating in 2017, she moved to Monterosso and now lives and works there. Her experience living in Monterosso in the Cinque Terre for the last five years has given her a plethora of experience. She has plenty of insight on the local culture & traditions as well as daily life in Italy.
Caroline obtained her dual Italian citizenship through her Sicilian great-grandfather in 2018. Having roots here has only expanded her knowledge as she grew up with many Italian traditions and learned an incredible amount about her ancestors in the process of becoming a dual citizen.
what we'll do
The nice part about visiting Cinque Terre in the spring or fall is that the towns are not as crowded, airfare is cheaper & the weather is perfect for outdoor dining, hiking & an afternoon "passeggiata" stroll for a gelato.
May is a wonderful time to be in Cinque Terre due to the many festivals happening during this month. The annual salted anchovy festival and lemon festival attract people from all over the world. The weather is perfect for the beach and hikes are refreshing.
In September, the grapes are being harvested for the "vendemmia" and the weather is still warm enough to take a dip in the turquoise Mediterranean Sea. You can go on an invigorating hike, enjoy a meal by the sea and have some beach time all in one day.
where we'll be
Monterosso is one of the five small villages that dot the Italian Riviera. Each one is unique, but Monterosso has the best beach. Some of the things we can do: take a boat along the coast to visit Portofino, Portovenere & the Cinque Terre... hike past vineyards, lemon & olive groves... sample the local wine, limoncello & sweet wine called sciachettra... learn to cook a local dish... visit a vineyard of a local winemaker... shop in nearby towns for handcrafted Italian goods...rent a beach chair for some R&R... or visit the Leaning Tower nearby in Pisa. The trip can be geared to your interests. The beauty of a small tour is flexibility. The maximum number of people I am looking for is ten, so we can still get into small restaurants easily, move around without a large group and keep the feel of the tour more intimate.
The accommodations we provide are small, family-run hotels in the historical center of Monterosso al Mare. The rooms include breakfast every morning and the option to dine outdoors under lemon trees and grapevines. They are conveniently located to everything we will do.
All of the rooms have a European double bed and private bath. All rooms include a hairdryer, telephone, wifi, satellite t.v., air conditioning, mini bar and safe. Rooms may be requested with two twins if friends want to share accommodations. A central yet quiet location. Linens and beach towels are provided.