• La Dolce Vita

    Hosted by Paul and Christine Niskanen

  • September 8-22,2018

    13 days 

  • A luxurious Tuscan villa, Bologna and the Stunning Italian Lakes Enjoy Italy’s Alpine Lakes from a grand hotel on Lake Maggiore And savor southern Tuscany from the comforts of Villa Il Pozzo

Depart for Milan on September 8, 2018

Depart for home from Florence on September 22.

Few countries capture our imagination or provide us as much pleasure as Italy. We’ll never forget the time one |of our guides in Capri, without warning, broke out singing O Solo Mio in full voice. We long for the simple pleasure of tasting really ripe tomatoes or sipping a richly
layered glass of fine Chianti. Imagine.

We’ll explore this fascinating region in some depth while staying in a luxurious villa we found in the fall of 2017 – it might be our best villa ever!

It’s a stunning place, with all the comforts of a 5-star hotel but it’s just for us – at least for seven days.

Unlike a stay in a hotel, the villa becomes our home. We can wander into the kitchen to chat with the chefs as they prepare dinner. We can raid the refrigerator at will, help ourselves to a drink or enjoy a quiet moment under the lemon trees surrounding the pool. In the process, we immerse ourselves deeper into the pleasures of Italy’s sweet life in the heart of southern Tuscany – the most fabled region of Tuscany.

Before we reach Tuscany, however, we’ll begin our Signature Journey in the far north of Italy, on Lake Maggiore, situated at the foot of the towering Alps. We created this part of our program early in 2017 and our travelers loved the experience. However we have added one more little jewel: Bologna! Bologna may be the most under-rated city in Italy, yet it’s one of the country’s great treasures. We’ll visit Bologna en route to our beautiful villa.

Many of our guests have joined us for one of our villa programs in northern Tuscany; however, some of Tuscany’s most treasured destinations are in the south, too far to explore in one day from the Lucca area.

Yet many travel writers find southern Tuscany the most enchanting and picturesque of all. Often when you see photos of Tuscany in coffee table books, in guide books and on ceramics, the scenes are snapped in this region.

In 2018 we’ll explore southern Tuscany, which is known for lush wines, pecorino cheeses, dramatic landscapes and utterly charming villages. One day we may watch a master cheese maker create his artisan pecorino cheese (with a tasting, of course); on another we’ll wander through the hillsides or take a cooking class to improve our skills with pasta and enjoy a laugh or two over a glass of wine. We may visit a noted chocolate factory, stop by a ceramics workshop (some of the best in Italy), taste great Tuscan wines and olive oils and, of course, meet with friendly Italians at every step of the way. Each day will be a new experience or opportunity.

When we return to our villa in the afternoon, we’ll find the bar always open (and complimentary) and the chef busy preparing dinner. One evening we’ll visit a superb local restaurant for dinner; on another, a musician may drop by to entertain as we dine under the warm Tuscan skies.

Can you imagine a more enjoyable journey? Due to the small size of our villa, (just 9 deluxe rooms), we expect this program to fill quickly.

We invite you to join us.

Who are your hosts?

Meet Paul and Christine!

Among the many countries they’ve visited in nearly 40 years of travel planning, Japan occupies a prominent place on their list of favorites. They’ve visited Japan on more than a dozen occasions, yet the country continues to draw them back for more.

Paul Niskanen

As one of your hosts, Paul is the connector and planner. Paul has visited well more than 100 countries and every continent. His passion is to dig deeper into the cultures. He and Christine meet local the people, hear their dreams, solicit their opinions – all in an effort to understand their point of view. Travel + Leisure magazine has named him to their annual ‘A-List’ of approximately 130 travel specialists in North America since 2005.  Paul was also a member of their prestigious Travel Advisory Board for 10+ years.

Christine Niskanen

After Paul creates the structure of each journey, Christine adds the details, the grace notes, that transform a good journey into something special.  When you find a little gift on your pillow one evening or enjoy a break for time for yourself, you’ll recognize Christine’s handiwork.  It’s no surprise that companies such as Cunard, Royal Caribbean and Holland America have asked Christine to join their advisory boards.


We craft and host unique travel experiences throughout the world. Based upon our extensive travels and our trusted network of local (and influential) travel contacts in more than 70 countries, we assemble a number of travel components (hotels, villas, cruises, river cruises, excursions, private visits etc.) to create a Signature Journey. Our goal is to guide our small circles of travelers (typically 12-14 guests) deeper into the cultures of the regions we visit than they would experience on a standard tour; often, these are experiences that travelers would be unlikely to find or enjoy on their own. Along the way, we travel at a high standard and enjoy the camaraderie of interesting guests.



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