Once upon a time, traveling was a real challenge if you were gluten free. Not so anymore. The website I launched almost 6 years ago, GlutenFreeTravelSite, hasn't wavered from its original mission: to help the Celiac and gluten free community dine out and travel without worry. Fortunately, over the years, there have been many restaurants, hotels, inns, resorts, cruise ships, and travel compaies that have also joined in sharing that mission.
Gina DiPrima founded one such company that I want to share with you today. Much like myself, Gina's inspriation for starting a business to help the gluten free community was one of her children's diagnosis with Celiac at a young age. After spending over a decade in the travel industry working for a luxury tour operator, she decided to channel her experience toward planning itineraries for families (or adults only) needing gluten-free friendly accommodations and meals.
Gina's company, GF Journeys, has planned a phenomenal trip to Italy from October 14-20, 2014, with stops in Tuscany, Florence, Parma, and Rome. If you've always dreamed of visiting Italy (or are looking for an excuse to visit again), this is the perfect way to see it. Six nights lodging and virtually all your meals are included -- and are all arranged at gluten free friendly restaurants. Italy's Celiac Association has worked with many of the restaurants and hotels in Italy, so you may be surprised to find out just how accommodating the land of pizza and pasta can be!
You'll relax and enjoy the best of Italy while being guided by Gina and a local Italian escort (who also is gluten free), and licensed English speaking tour guides will lead the guided tours. You'll stay in 3-star superior and 4-star hotels in the heart of the towns and cities you'll visit and have some free time if you desire to explore a bit on your own. The trip is limited to just 23 guests, so if you're interested, be sure to give Gina a call at 617-410-6159 or 925-858-9741 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Day 1: Meet at the hotel in Florence for a wine reception and dinner at the hotel.
Day 2: Tour Florence with a local tour guide who will introduce you to the art, architecture, and history of this beautiful city, known as the "Capital of the Renaissance."
Day 3: Take a day trip to Parma in the Emilia Romagna region and tour the process of producing and aging balsamic vinegar and visit a local producer of prosciutto di Parma.
Day 4: Travel to Tuscany by private luxury motorcoach to tour the medieval hill towns of San Gimignano and Siena. Feast on recipes reconstructed from medieval cookbooks (gluten free, of course!) and stroll through charming back alleys and winding streets of perfectly preserved towns. Shop, enjoy some GF gelato, and then continue on to enjoy a relaxing dinner and accommodations at a Tuscan countryside retreat.
Day 5: Visit Orvieto, high atop a plateau overlooking vineyards and olive groves. Enjoy a wonderful gluten free lunch before departing for Rome.
Day 6-7: Take an in-depth tour of the Colosseum with an expert local guide, followed by a visit to the ruins of the Roman Forum and a stroll along the Via Sacra, the ancient path victorious Roman Emperors followed on their return to Caput Mundi. Afterwards, you can either spend the afternoon sightseeing on your own or go on an optional Baroque Rome city tour. A farewell gluten free dinner will wrap up the evening.
I know this is just the type of tour I'd love to take with my own family. Gina's expertise in planning Italian itineraries for all types of groups -- and her knowledge of Italy's gluten free landscape -- make her uniquely suited to deliver this amazing travel experience!