France & Italy With Trafalgar Tours: Day 4

December 12, 2011

Our time in France had come to an unfortunate end, however we had an excellent excuse for leaving — we were headed to Italy!  From Aix en Provence we drove several hours even further south to Nice.  I might not have had any time to explore the city, but I certainly left with an unforgettable souvenir.

From Nice we flew to Rome and were immediately greeted by our animated Italian Travel Director Marco.  We were now beginning an abbreviated version of Trafalgar Tours’ Flavor of Italy program, which for us would include time in Tuscany, Florence, and Rome.  If you are searching for the very best of what Italy has to offer, then this is the guided vacation for you.  I decided to give my arm some rest and put down my DSLR for the day, thus all of the photos in this post are from my iPhone.

Our first stop on the four hour road trip to Tuscany was at a petrol station.  Except, it was not just a regular petrol station, it was as if we had walked into heaven on earth.  Who knew that Italian “pit stops” were actually the place to be?  There was a café with the most delicious cappuccinos and espressos (remember to never drink a cappuccino after 11AM when in Italy), there was a restaurant that served authentic Italian cuisine handmade by local grandmothers, and there were chocolate bars half the size of my body for only a couple of Euros.

After an hour in the road-side Paradise, it was time for us to finish our journey for the day.  I definitely could have used an afternoon slumber, but the beauty of the Italian countryside captivated my attention and I soon found myself lost in thought.  I am not often presented with the luxury of time to simply ponder life and my surroundings, thus I cherished every sacred second.

One thought that kept crossing my mind was my connection to Italy.  I am half-Italian, hence the last name Perullo.  It is the part of my heritage that I feel the closest too, yet surprisingly know very little about.  I have only been to Italy once before this trip and my Italian grandparents passed away when I was young.  Nonetheless, despite my cultural ignorance, I feel the passionate Italian blood running deep within my veins and I desire to connect even more with my roots.

Eventually, we arrived at Villa Il Poggiale, our home for the next two days.  Because evening had befallen, it was impossible to see the true magnificence of the villa and her grounds, but there was one thing that we could definitely see and that was their illuminating chandelier, which is the first thing to welcome guests upon entering.  Oh, how wonderful it was to be back in Italy again!

For more attractions in Italy and France, you can visit

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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92 thoughts on “France & Italy With Trafalgar Tours: Day 4

  1. Elisa

    I have to say Andi, of all your trips, this one is one of my absolute faves!! It might be because I am travel-deprived right now, but I can’t wait for the next installment!

    1. Andi Perullo Post author

      Hahaha you poor thing! Thank you so much for your kind words — I’m glad that you’ve enjoyed this series so much!!! I’ve had a great time creating these posts! XO

  2. Emily in Chile

    I can only imagine how much you must love getting in touch with your Italian roots.

    And, these pictures? Stop making me want an iPhone! My BlackBerry definitely doesn’t do photos like this.

  3. Fidel @IHarTravel

    I hope they are treating you well, because you definitely have me ready to book with Trafalgar. Is there an “I am booking this because of Andi P” code I need to enter on their website? 🙂

    With booking a tour with this company as opposed to a STA or Contiki, how does that change the way you pack? Does a traveler need to bring less jeans and t-shirts and more slacks and button ups (for males at least)?

    1. Andi Perullo Post author

      Awww you are WAY too sweet!!! Haha, there is no Andi code, but I’m liking that idea! 😉 Honestly, I really do hope you travel with TT, because they do travel best. If you book something with them please let me know!

      BTW TT owns Contiki! You bring whatever you are most comfortable in. I would of course recommend a couple of nice outfits, but I always dress nice when I’m traveling. I wear dresses when I go on hikes haha!!!

  4. Lauren of Spanish Sabores

    I love these Trafalgar posts! You made me laugh with the description of the gas station. I remember thinking the same on my very first trip to Europe 10 years ago. The gas stops are much less “chain” like and have full meals, cafés, gift shops… They are a great place to buy chocolates and food souvenirs! Besos guapa!

  5. Andi

    I love, love, love Italy, I think I love Italy more than France (but not more than Paris if that makes sense). The coffee is to die for, the country is beautiful and the peeps are cooler than the French. I spent 17 days there in 2007 and smaller trips off and on. I am going back for two weeks next Oct and I cannot wait – you have me salivating already!

    1. Andi Perullo Post author

      That totally makes sense, though I’m in a bit of shock to hear that!!! There is something so ridiculously special about Italy. I will for sure be making more trips back to my Motherland in the future. 2 week there will be AMAZING!!!!!!!!

  6. Ceri

    So lovely to see you wanting to explore your roots in such a beautiful country. 🙂

    “remember to never drink a cappuccino after 11AM when in Italy” – Really?


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