cultural tour

New Calabria Cultural Tour with Karen’s Travel LLC on My 100th Blogpost

When I first decided to write about Calabria, I never imagined in what directions it would take me or what opportunities would open up. First, my book Calabria: The Other Italy, then My Italian Blog of which this is the 100th post, next the managing of various social media pages, even a YouTube channel, and now the start of tours to Calabria with my first Calabria Cultural Tour organized by my very own company Karen’s Travel LLC. 

VETERAN TRAVELER AND EXPERIENCED TOUR LEADER

This past summer in anticipation of my first trip to Japan, my sister commented that she was happy to have me along. “You’re an experienced traveler,” she said. “Hmm…,” I thought, “I don’t speak Japanese. What can I offer?” And then we arrived and I realized that, yes, even thrown into a completely different culture, experience made a big difference. My sister was right.

Not only have I traveled extensively, mostly in the United States and Europe, I have been accompanying tour groups for an educational travel company called Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostel) for almost twenty years. I remember before I went on my first trip with a group, I didn’t really know what to expect. And I must say that I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

I have been learning ever since, from the planning through to the execution, what works and what doesn’t. I’m ready to organize and carry out my own tours, not that this was my original intention. However, after bringing people virtually to Calabria through my book and blog, showing guests around personally was the natural next step.

cultural tour

A view of Chianalea, Scilla from the castle

KAREN’S TRAVEL LLC

And thus, Karen’s Travel LLC was born. I struggled with the name. Should I include Calabria or Italy? Bella Calabria? Italian Itineraries? Cultural Journeys? Should the name be catchy? Too cute isn’t really my style, so in the end I went with the simple, straightforward Karen’s Travel. The LLC or Limited Liability Company, I would discover, comes strongly recommended for any such enterprise. With the hope I’ll never need such protection, I’m touching iron (toccare ferro) as I write this. Italy’s version of knocking on wood, the expression originally referred to a ferro di cavallo or a horseshoe, but any iron will do.

So with Articles of Organization, state and local license numbers and other paperwork in hand, I’m in business. And I’ve apparently raised the “Women and Minority” category by one.

Now, to work.

CALABRIA CULTURAL TOUR

cultural tour

In the Pollino Mountains

For my first tour, travelers will get a taste of the entire region of Calabria, from the Pollino Mountains that make up Italy’s largest National Park to the monumental forests of the Sila and down to the southern, craggy Aspromonte. Visits to hill and mountain communities with ancient Albanian and Greek heritages will complement those to coastal towns and cities along the 500 miles of spectacular coastline on the Tyrrhenian and Ionian Seas, linked by the storied Strait of Messina, its waters rich with swordfish and mythological lore.

Museums of archeology, folk culture, religion, and even licorice will be toured, castles explored and we will feast upon hearty Calabrian cuisine. The program is full, with daily excursions and most meals included in the price of the itinerary, although several evenings are left open to dine on your own, perhaps a slice of pizza, a gelato or a scrumptious pastry for which Southern Italy is renowned. (See The Italian Bar.)

Designed for a group of between 15 and 25 participants, the Calabria Cultural Tour offers a comprehensive program for a reasonable price. Click on Calabria Tour to see the detailed, day-to-day itinerary.

A 100TH BLOGPOST TOAST FOR THE CALABRIA CULTURAL TOUR

Calabria cultural tour

Gelato with fruit and a brioche at Sottozero in Reggio Calabria

Tempted? Have you already visited the famous Italian tourist sites and you’re ready for the “other Italy”? Or perhaps you would like to start out with an Italy less traveled and work your way up from the toe of the boot? Be careful, you may be captivated by the authentic and be tempted to return. Calabrian food and wine, in particular, were singled out by the New York Times in its recommendations for their annual list of “52 Places To Go” in 2017. (See my post Visit Calabria.)

You never know what might transpire on a trip to Calabria. I answered a teaching ad, lived there for four years, wrote a book and now I’m organizing my first Calabria Cultural Tour. So raise your glass and let’s fare un brindisi (make a toast) to help me celebrate my 100th blogpost! Cincin! (Cheers!) Please join me!

Questions? Please get in touch on the contact form and I will get back with you quickly. If you would like to arrange a tour to Calabria for a group of family or friends, Karen’s Travel LLC can help you with that, too. And please share the itinerary of this Calabria tour!


Calabria bookFor an in-depth look at this alluring land in the toe of the boot, check out Calabria: The Other Italy, my non-fiction book about daily life, history, culture, art, food and society in this fascinating southern Italian region. It’s widely available in paperback and e-book versions.

Follow Calabria: The Other Italy’s Facebook page, Karen’s Instagram, KareninCalabria YouTube and Karen’s Twitter for more beautiful pictures and information.

Sign up below to receive the next blog post directly to your email for free.

CALABRIA: THE OTHER ITALY makes a great gift!

Comments 21

  1. Congratulations on your new travel venture. All the best for your tours to Italy. Maybe we can get together for a lunch again in the new year. Happy Holidays to you. Anita and John

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      Yes, people were constantly asking me for recommendations and so I thought, why don’t I just do my own tours? And if someone is interested in a program focussing on a particular area or wants to travel with his or her small group or family, I can offer that option, as well. So, venite con me! Come with me!

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  2. Do ALL your friends (except me) know Italian? I think it’s GREAT that you are starting your own tour company and I wish you every success in this venture. Unfortunately my age has precluded me from considering a tour. Have a very Merry Christmas a season of pleasant happenings,

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  3. Sorry that your 100th Blog has taken me SO long to read !! MI DISPIACI !! Congratulations not only on THAT milestone, but also your new “Karen’s Travels, LLC” adventure …. BUONA FORTUNA !!!
    Unfortunately, as much as we love Italy, we are now, beyond the stage of adventuresome travel! 😢 BUONA FORTUNA, ANCORA !!! 😄 We know you will do well !

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  4. I’m very interested in going to Calabria.

    How often will you be offering this tour?

    I have shared info with the local SDOI.

    Discussing with my husband but not sure if he is interested.

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      I’m very happy to hear you’re interested in visiting Calabria! I’m just starting with my first tour in June, so at this point I don’t have other dates scheduled, but I, of course, hope to do other tours in the future.
      Thank you very much for sharing the information with your local Sons and Daughters of Italy. Now, what would convince your husband…?

  5. Congratulations on your success, Karen! I’m interested in all things Calabria. I was born in Camini, Reggio Calabria, and immigrated to Canada with my family when I was three. I have returned a number of times, visited my cousins, and did research for my novel La Brigantessa, recently released by Inanna Publications, Toronto.

    I’m looking forward to your posts! Grazie!

    Rosanna Micelotta Battigelli

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  6. Karen, good luck with your new Cultural Calabrian Tour touching many beautiful and historical spots in Calabria. There’s still a lot to add, as you already have shown in your book and website, but surely in 10 days your tour is already rich enough and an excellent chance to live a bit our region.
    Thank you also for your endless activity to promote Calabria.
    Roberto

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      Thank you, Roberto. With the tour itinerary I tried to give the best overall taste of Calabria in a relatively short time, but as you know, the difficulty was deciding what to leave out. But then of course, there will always be something to go back to see!

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