From the Top of the Tree: Experience the Country I Call Home

For many, this time of year brings about vacations. Now, I know for us as a company and you as a
business, this time is our busy season. Our vacations tend to come when the summer’s sun fades, but
it’s never too late to plan ahead. As you dream of kicking your legs up and relaxing, enjoying gourmet
cuisine from the finest places on earth and feeling the warm breeze from the sea on your skin, I’d
like to impart an Italian experience in hopes that someday you may visit Italy for the first time, or go back after many years. I promise it will be a cultural experience that will prove unforgettable.

As you depart from the U.S., your trip begins in Milan. An easy transition to modern-day Italy, this
is the city of fashion – a true cosmopolis where the movie stars flock and those with a love for the
finer Italian-made materials can find anything their hearts desire. Go just outside the city and find
the beautiful Lake Como – and the home of George Clooney. You never know when your Italian vacation will lead to a gelato with the famous actor.

The next chapter begins in the setting of famous Verona, the city where two star-crossed lovers
found their tragic fate. There, view Juliet’s balcony, and if you plan accordingly, The Arena may have
an evening performance of a classic Italian opera.

For the nature seekers, Garda Lake is a sight to behold as well in Verona or cross over to the
Dolomite Mountains where the peaks reflect beautiful pink lights in the summer and winter months.
Hiking and skiing are two pastimes of native Italians.

From the mountains to the city surrounded by water, Venice is a city full of intrigue and romance.
Don’t let the calm and misty nights of the city entrance you too much or you may find yourself in a
maze as you navigate the streets. Bologna is another city with a history and the oldest university in
the world. Walk the rows of porticoes to see medieval and renaissance sites while enjoying the city
where Howard Shultz found his Starbucks inspiration.

Reggio Emilia should be on your list, as the home of PreGel is a region rich with culinary tradition.
Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, Parma Prosciutto and of course the modern-day makings of gelato are
all a part of the Italian experience that brings you a bit off the beaten tourist path.

But not for long, as the city of Florence calls. The center of the Renaissance, there is no better place to feel the inspiration the city provided to some of the greatest artists and thinkers. The road from Florence leads to Rome just as Garibaldi and the Romans walked victoriously many centuries ago.
La Dolce Vita is the cry of the Romans, and today’s Roman Italians still feel the pull of the great days of Rome, especially with majestic ruins being uncovered daily.

Southern Italy beckons with the cities of Naples, Pompeii, Capri, Sorrento and Positano. See the city
frozen in time by ashes at Pompeii to understand what life was like so long ago. Taste the fresh citrus from the city of Sorrento. Dip your toes in sand and water on the beaches at Capri. Slip further down the coast to Calabria and through Messina, and we land in the Italian island of Sicily.

And with that, you will have experienced every magnificent part of the country I call my home. Salute to planning an Italian escape, and to hoping you come back. Once you experience Italy, it’s hard to imagine ever leaving…