Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Leave the Driving to Us!

Panorama Italy

The idea formed in our imaginations not long after we unpacked our duffel bags and settled into life in Ascoli Piceno. As we learned our way around our new home and began to uncover the marvelous things in town – things as grand as the Duomo and as simple as decorative stone carvings over a doorway – we surmised that this was a place that would captivate a lot of people we knew. We planned itineraries for visiting family members and charmed them with the local wines and foods. In doing so, we thought that small-group tours would be a great idea. After all, the architecture, scenery, and verdant hills would fulfill practically everyone’s notion of the beauties of Italy, but in an uncrowded way.

Trouble was, we didn’t know many people around town and didn’t think we had the right connections for opening attractive doors. Enter Linda. Our friend, a teacher and translator who was born and raised here, seemed to know (or be related to) everyone. She asked us why more people didn’t know about this area and the many attractions. As we talked about the things we all loved, effused about hill towns that would leave travelers breathless, and wineries with choice vintages at reasonable prices, the idea grew and eventually Panorama Italy was born.

Linda and I spent weeks wearing out our shoes and tracking many kilometers around town to speak with restaurant owners, city and provincial tourism folks, food producers, and sommeliers and vinters to arm ourselves with information. We all gathered for hours poring over maps, planning out routes and scenic drives to plan an itinerary that would condense the best of the province into a one-week tour. Linda organized her Italian lesson plans to formulate a week-long class and then found an inspiring spot for learning. With the generous help of web-weaver friends in New Mexico (the Berry Patch), and the fruits of our labors are available on the world wide web, live and ready for business.

Give it a glance, won’t you? Pass the word. We have a gorgeous corner of Italy just begging to be explored, and we’ll help you uncover its many charms. Hope to see you in the Piceno!


Janie said...

What a great idea! I'm happy for you that you've found a way to stay in Italy longer!

Valerie said...

Thanks, Janie! We think it will be a lot of fun, too! :)

Stacy said...

Congrats! I've thought about doing something like that in the Veneto region. or at least work along those lines =) good luck!

Valerie said...

Thanks, Stacy! Let us know if you get something going in Veneto!