Other Traveler Stories

3 Life-Changing Lessons I learned from Tuscany

By Kelsey Gibson

"My idea of heaven still is to drive the gravel farm roads of Umbria and Tuscany, very pleasantly lost. "

-Frances Mayes

Tuscany seems to have a magic power that consumes your whole being. It has the power to completely change your view on life and help you find your true self. There are a countless number of books and movies that are based in the Tuscan hills because this region of Italy is truly a fairytale. It seems too good to be true, but maybe it’s that beautiful truth that sets you free.

Tuscany has changed my life for the better and I can say with confidence that I am addicted to it. A huge chunk of my heart is here in Florence, Tuscany’s capital, and I can speak for most people that spend time here…it gets harder to leave each time.

Here are some of our reasons why we think traveling throughout Tuscany has the power to change your life for the better:

Photo courtesy of kelsey gibson

Photo courtesy of kelsey gibson

"Beauty: the aggregate of qualities that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit"

1. The Natural Beauty 

Tuscany, and every part within it, perfectly depicts the definition of beauty. It pleases each and every one of your senses from the sight of the hills, trees and medieval architecture, the smell and taste of the fresh olives and grapes, and the sound and feeling of the peacefulness.

Once you arrive, you will realize the beauty in the big picture of your surroundings and you will start seeing the beauty in the simple things around you in your life. It will make you a more observant and attentive person to the details that make up the sweetest moments.

You will no longer wait for the big adventures, but rather really enjoy the small things that make each day more unique and beautiful than the day before.

"The most important aspects of Italian culture are food and community."

photo courtesy of kelsey gibson

photo courtesy of kelsey gibson

2. Quality over quantity

Throughout your travels, you will find yourself in food comas often because you will not be able to resist the authentic and vibrant flavors in everything you taste.

You will quickly realize that tomatoes are not bland, olive oil actually tastes like olives and differs from one another, and wine is an art that is meant to be appreciated with each sip. You will appreciate quality of the products and ingredients rather than the convenience and quantity of the goods.

This goes with more than just food too…you will gain a sense of quality within your relationships and friendships as well.

3. Serenity

The hills have a sense of peacefulness and serenity that will make you realize simplicity is the key to happiness. You will be able to take a step back and unavoidably let go of the little worries and problems that prevent you from seeking the joy in your life.

Whether you are sitting in the hills enjoying some wine or walking through a Tuscan town, you can clear your head easily with the lack of chaos, the subtle live street music, and simply losing yourself in the loveliness around you. You can sit back and think in the tranquility while watching the world continue on.

When you return home and the worries start to resurface, you will have a new perspective on how to conquer the and turn your problems calmly into solutions. Serenity will come more natural than before and you will want to share this bliss with those around you!

photo courtesy of kelsey gibson

photo courtesy of kelsey gibson

“When you travel you become invisible if you want. I do want. I like to be the observer.”

What have you learned from your time traveling Italy? We would love to hear from you below! 


Who would not want to live and travel under the Tuscan sun and through the streets of Tuscan towns filled with gelato, wine, cheese, and passion?!

Come with us on our Tuscan Women’s Tour to realize all of this for yourself and more!

Photo Tour of Bologna, Italy

By Giorgio Nardini


A little history for you: largest city and capital of Emilia-Romagna, the 1-million population town has been a melting pot of cultures since the Etruscans and Celts and is home to the oldest university in the world that dates back to 1088.

Bologna is a lively and very livable city. You can easily move around by walking or by bike. I visited Bologna last year for just one day. I hopped on a train from Rome in the morning and got back in the evening; a tiring adventure, but well worth it!

If you ask any Italian what's the first thing that comes to mind when you say "Bologna", they will say "Tortellini".



These rings stuffed with meat and sometimes cheese, are usually served in a broth of beef or chicken. I personally prefer them dry like the ones in the picture.



Other than tortellini, a must-eat local food is mortadella. It’s a sort of huge sausage made of pork (and pork fat, the white circles you see in the picture here) and spiced up with black pepper and pistachios. It’s a classic in every Italian region though: a “panino” with mortadella was my daily lunch during university because it’s cheap and delicious. In Bologna, it’s accompanied with tigelle. See those round slice of breads? Those are tigelle, usually served warm. And yes, everything else is good on a tigella: cheese, salami or ham.

Aside from the DELICIOUS food, there are also some great cultural attractions in Bologna.



Portici are these elegant archways that line a large part of the city's streets. There are more than 23 miles of portici in the old town only. If you count the outskirt's portici, it's 36 miles!



Between the XII and XIII century, the total number of towers reached 100. Nowadays only 24 survived.  Two towers of Bologna are ones of the landmarks of the city: the tallest one is called Torre degli Asinelli, while the shorter one is the Garisenda.

As when one sees the tower called Garisenda from underneath its leaning side, and then a cloud passes over and it seems to lean the more, thus did Antaeus seem to my fixed gaze as I watched him bend…”

-Dante Alighieri, Divine Comedy, Inferno, XXXI, 136-140





Surrounded by historic and administrative buildings, Piazza Maggiore is the main square of Bologna. This majestic Medieval wonder dates back to 1200s and it was one of the first piazza built after the Roman Empire’s downfall. It is spectacular at night.

Bologna is a destination you don't want to miss out on.

Want to visit some other awesome places in Italy? Check out some of Travel Italian Style's tours!

Giorgio Velardita Nardiniand was born and raised outside Rome! He is joining the TIS team as International Public Relations and Branding Advisor. As a passionate amateur photographer, traveling is the thing he loves the most  can’t live a day without thinking about his next destination. When not researching for TIS, Giorgio shares his photos and advice on his very own blog wanderlustdaily.com/en which is written in both in Italian and in English. His goal is to inspire people to travel more. While he loves Italy his dream is to live somewhere in the USA (every since his first visit in 2009 when he was 18 & fell in love with the American culture (and burgers). Oh yes: he is also a foodie. Say “pasta” and “pizza” and Giorgio is your friend.


Travelers Giving Back: The Story of Nomadic Matt & FLYTE

An Interview with Matt Kepnes
Written by Halie Taylor / Interview by Giorgio Nardini

NY Times Best Selling Author, Matt Kepnes, known to you as Nomadic Matt wasn't always a intrepid globetrotter. In fact, as a child Matt wasn't afforded the opportunity to travel. It actually was not until he was into his adult years did he have the chance to explore outside his home town of Boston.

It was his first trip to Costa Rica in 2003 that opened his eyes to all the world had to offer. Matt immediately fell in love with travel and the freedom it granted him. In a drastic change of events following this trip, he came home, quit his job and began a year long adventure around the world that eventually changed into a seven year adventure exploring destinations all over the globe. At this point in his life, Matt never looked back. 

"Travel has shaped my life and given me purpose. Opening yourself up to new experiences can have a powerful impact on you, and help you figure out who you are and what you want to be."

Now 13 years later Matt has become an icon in the travel industry. Starting with his award winning travel blog: Nomadic Matt, his NY Times Best Selling book: How to Travel the World on $50 a Day, the creator behind an online media school for aspiring bloggers and even the owner of a hostel in Texas.

Now Matt's newest venture is the one that will inspire and impact the lives of so many others. This is the mission of FLYTE.

FLYTE, the Foundation for Learning and Youth Travel Education, is a non-profit that helps with the logistical support and funding for teachers looking to provide cultural context for what they teach. It was created to assist students from underprivileged areas on dream trips to explore the world.

In 2015 Matt co-founded the organization with Courtney Dalton, also a traveler and a former financial and budgetary manager for study abroad programs. Being in this business, Courtney understood the struggle and costs involved with international education. She believed in the purpose of studying abroad but also knew it was not financially possible for all.  Together they knew they could make a difference. 

"Travel changes people’s lives. This is especially true for young people who are at a time in their life where they are still figuring out who they are and where they fit into the world. It is an age where exposure to a variety of ideas and cultures can create a huge impact, and can inspire them to do something or be someone they never would have considered before."

When starting this venture Courtney & Matt quickly learned many of the students that they met with this program had never even left their local community in which they live, much less the state and the country. They wanted to inspire them to venture outside of the familiar environments and comfort zones and view the world from a different perspective allowing them to see that the world is so much bigger and expanding upon their own experience.

"We want to bring the power of travel to kids who might not otherwise get the chance to see the world. We want to see our students follow aspirations to continue with their education beyond high school, and to become active and engaged citizens in the world."  

In just under a year, FLYTE raised $20,000 to send their first group of students to Mexico!

Matt's future of FLYTE  is to reach into more geographical areas around the world and provide students with even more destinations to explore. 

While spreading the word of this organization, Matt will continue to travel the world and inspire other's with his writings. Follow along on the FLYTE Facebook page or on the TIS donor page to see updates, future trips and upcoming missions for the organization. 

Travel Italian Style Partners with FLYTE!

Here at Travel Italian Style, we truly believe in Nomadic Matt's mission. We support the notion that travel changes lives. It promotes new outlooks, helps you build character and gives you incredible experiences that will remain with you forever.

Erica, Matt  & Courtney of FLYTE with Travel italian Style Founder, Cassandra Santoro

Erica, Matt  & Courtney of FLYTE with Travel italian Style Founder, Cassandra Santoro

In fact, Travel Italian Style was created because our founder had the wonderful opportunity and the means to step on a plane to Italy for the very first time in 2006. It was an amazing experience that changed her life but she knows it was a privilege to have this adventure. 

Therefore, Travel Italian Style has become a proud partner of FLYTE. For every tour we sell  2% of the profits will go directly to the organization. The money donated will go directly towards paying for a students’ airfare, meals, school books, ground transportation, and accommodations when they abroad.

"This partnership not only offers the monetary support to pay for our programs. It is an example of the travel industry giving back, making travel a catalyst for social good."
-Matt Kepnes 

Remember: "Giving is not about a donation, it's about making a difference."

Join one of the 2016 Travel Italian Style tours and you will automatically be donating directly to FLYTE! Check out more information here

To see more on FLYTE or to donate today visit their website at http://www.takeflyte.org/.

Giorgio Velardita Nardini was born and raised outside of Rome. He is joining the TIS team as International Public Relations and Branding Advisor. As a passionate amateur photographer, traveling is the thing he loves the most and can’t live a day without thinking about his next destination. Giorgio shares his photos and advice on his very own blog wanderlustdaily.com/en which is written in both in Italian and in English.

Halie Taylor is the Travel Marketing Trends Coordinator for Travel Italian Style and is currently a senior at College of Charleston in Charleston, SC where she is majoring in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. Living in Charleston, Halie developed a love for beautiful scenery and unique culture.