Is traveling to Italy on your wish list?
Give us seven days to show you the best vacation of your life!
Could you use a week just for you? Would you like to find a place where alarm clocks don’t exist and your to-do list is forgotten?
Are you tired of chasing after work, bills and zillions of other things which are constantly prioritized above the quality of life you seek right now?
Is there something about Italy that has always called to you?
Well, if you answered yes to any of these questions then you may be interested to hear about our weeklong trip to Italy this summer.
We travel to the incredible coastal villages of the Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera and I’d like to personally invite you to join us June 24-30, 2014.
As you might already know, the Cinque Terre is a very special part of Italy – and you’ll be shown only the best because you’ll be with me.
Traveling Italy with someone who knows the ropes is entirely different from going it alone. I’ve personally worked and lived in this area, and I also speak Italian.
Everything you can imagine in an Italian holiday is waiting for you.
All you need is your passport.
We’ll take care of the rest.
If Italy calls to you, I can totally relate to you.
About a decade ago I was longing to go to Italy, but had a few problems.
I was totally broke, was living on student loans and was working one lame job after another to put myself through my last year of school. I was also desperately broken hearted – my boyfriend and I had just split. To say the least, it was a really crappy period in my life – I was sad, felt alone, and couldn’t help wondering what the future had in store for me.
Like you, Italy had been calling me for years, and I knew I had to figure out a way to get there. One day I came across a travel scholarship that my university was offering, so I applied for it. And I got it!
Obviously I jumped at the opportunity. I have to admit, after the initial excitement, it sunk in that I was going to Italy completely alone and it started to feel really scary.
Of course I knew not taking this incredible opportunity would be a big mistake, so I went, and Italy changed my life forever.
My connection to Italy was immediate and life affirming. I faced my fear about loneliness and remembered to trust my instincts and go after things that were important to me.
It also helped me embrace solo travel; in the safety of a small group I felt set free and full of potential. Along with the fantastic people I met and the experiences I had, I met my future husband in the exact same village I want to take you for seven days.
I’ve learned a few things along the way that I’d like to share with you:
- I was scared to travel alone, and I felt intimidated to put myself out there. But if I did it – I believe you can too.
- If I had waited for the “perfect time” to go to Italy, I might still be waiting.
- Positive travel experience can be a profound life changer; it can help you tap into the person you are truly meant to be.
We are traveling to the same region I’ve lived in with my Italian husband and friends.
You get all the best restaurants, markets, beaches, villages, local connections and secret spots condensed into one week of highlights.
It has taken me years of living and traveling in the Cinque Terre to find these places; things you’ll experience with me can’t be found in a guidebook or an app. I know the language, the culture and the turf.
But it hasn’t always been like that.
The first time I traveled to Italy I sucked – I had no clue how to order a meal (the complexities of the Italian menu system are fascinating), how to get around (the train stations are cu-razee), and how to connect with the locals (because they weren’t listed in my Lonely Planet). Through my Italian husband and living in Italy, I’ve learned nuanced things that only locals know; how to eat, how to get around, and where to go. Most importantly, I finally had a chance to experience the Italian lifestyle – not a “tourist visiting Italy” lifestyle.
And now I want to share that lifestyle with you.
If you’re someone who values incredible food, local wines, stunning scenery and the chance to embrace a more carefree version of yourself then I’d like to invite you to join an authentic travel experience in Italy with me, Bianca Gignac, and my co-host and dear friend, Tim McDiarmid.
Not only will we introduce you to the best of the Italian lifestyle – you’ll meet our friends who live in the region. You’ll do more than just visit a country – you’ll connect with people from Italy and beyond and form friendships that you’ll never forget.
In past years, we’ve had the opportunity to create lifelong memories for women just like you and we’d love the opportunity to do that for you as well.
We do this because we truly believe Italy needs a backstage pass.
And we truly think you deserve one.
This isn’t an app. It’s a real experience.
This is a vacation … with benefits.
If eating Ben & Jerry’s in bed is the highlight of your week, then seven days in the colorful villages of the Cinque Terre might be just what you need. Prepare for:
Renewed inspiration and fulfillment
Feeling inspiration fuels a happy, healthy lifestyle. The most successful people in the world constantly pursue inspiration and purpose. Feeling inspired infuses your life with meaning. Those who seek inspiration find it.
Increased health and energy.
You’ll be immersed in the green hills of the Italian Riviera. Every day you’ll eat a Mediterranean diet full of fresh vegetables and local meat and seafood. You’ll also find clean water and fresh air as cars are restricted in the villages. A week with good food, fresh air and exercise will help you feel your best.
Impress your friends at dinner.
Cooking and eating is widely celebrated in Italy. Your week vacation includes private cooking classes by both Tim McDiarmid and local Italians so you can relive your tasty memories for years to come with your take-home recipes.
Update your wardrobe — Italian style.
The shopping in Italy can be amazing! Think shoes, boots, bags, and dresses! You’ll be treated to a full day of shopping at out fave stores with our Italian personal shopper. You’ll be shown the best stuff, and the best deals too! It’s shopping in Italy — the Italian Fix way.
Be taken care of.
Are you blessed with a full life? Got work? Deadlines? Chores? Kids? To-do lists comin’ out the wazzoo? Do you feel like you’re always “giving” but have very little time for yourself? We thought so, and we can relate to that. What if, just for a change, someone steps up to the plate and takes care of you? That’s what we do. Which means you’ll have time to ponder the more important things — like whether or not you’re gonna drink a third cappuccino for breakfast.
Live your dreams, right now.
Too many people save travel for retirement, however, traveling requires good health and vitality, which you most likely possess at this very minute. If you have dreams, travel or otherwise, don’t put them on hold for some distant future that might never come. When you look back on your life in five years, what do you want to see? Ambitions reached or dreams put out to pasture?
Friends cheering you on.
We believe in you. We believe in your awesome potential to think big, do good and live a fulfilling life. If you love spending time with positive, upbeat, creative and ambitious people who are big picture thinkers you’ll be in good company.
Connect to a more carefree version of yourself.
When did we all get too busy? When did things get this serious? There’s never enough time in the day to get it all done. In a work obsessed culture, busy is glorified, and financial wealth is crowned king. But this week is about putting emotional wealth at the top of your priority list so you can truly connect with the person you’re meant to be.
You know Italy is beautiful. But the Cinque Terre is beyond beautiful.
We travel to the sunny Cinque Terre from June 24-30th, 2014.
The Cinque Terre (meaning five lands) consists of five colorful villages which stretch along the coastline of the Italian Riviera. This area is known throughout the world because of its many walking paths and stunning natural scenery.
The Cinque Terre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site – a place recognized by the United Nations as a place with a unique cultural heritage. With the combined efforts of UNESCO and Italy itself, Cinque Terre has been spared the sprawling development that occurs all to frequently to some of the world’s most beautiful places.
What this ensures is that you’ll get a taste of the stunning scenery of Italy essentially free of the less desirable aspects of modern development.
We only take 12 people.
Small is the new big
At this very moment there are bus loads of tour groups with fifty people plus traveling around Europe. Standing in line ups, being herded here and there, is not our idea of a vacation. The quality of service we deliver demands we buck the trends of large tour operators – and keep our group sizes extremely low. We limit our group size to just 12 people so we can effortlessly create the feeling of a group of friends traveling together. Indeed, this is what we are becoming known and appreciated for.
We are blessed with attracting positive, generous and amazing women from around the globe.
We love small group travel because:
- It’s more fun than traveling alone but you don’t get lost in the fray of a large group
- You make new friends and worldwide connections
- You have the luxury of traveling by private driver at a fraction of the cost
- You get perks available only to groups (personal shoppers, cooking classes,walking tours)
Your perks and bonuses for travel nirvana.
Italian Fix takes care of you pre-trip, during the trip and after the trip.
Your awesome pre-departure perks:
Zero packing stress. Say no to hellish overstuffed luggage and “what should I wear” drama with our Simple Strategies for Packing Nirvana. This printable guide will walk you through EXACTLY what you will need (and what you won’t!) on this trip. (Hassle Saving Factor: pack your luggage in half the time).
Your awesome upon-arrival perks:
Hello peace of mind. Are you there? Yes! Italian Fix delivers. You’ll get the skinny on EXACTLY what to do when you exit the plane. You’ll receive instructions on how to arrive at our meeting point so you can be transported by our driver to the hotel. Everything is organized by us so you can stay sane. (Hassle Saving Factor: Don’t stress about finding your hotel and struggling with luggage by yourself).
Meet your new BFF for travel: your Flight-Be-Gone Beauty Package will be waiting for you at the hotel. Face creams, potions and rosewater spritz will provide a rejuvenating post flight boost as will your welcoming glass of Prosecco (Happy Factor: say ciao to that icky post flight feeling).
But wait. There’s more:
Watch out inbox! A digital scrapbook of the most precious highlights of your Italian Fix will be arriving. We will organize your personal Cinque Terre Memories scrapbook to include text and photos of all the magical experiences you’ve enjoyed in Italia. It will be a constant reminder of your dolce vita (no more photos stored on your computer that will never see the light of day). Italian Fix delivers memories you’ll want to share, the easy way. (Hassle Saving Factor: share your trip highlights with family and friends with a beautiful digital scrapbook we create for you).
Have questions? Here’s the skinny.
Read our frequently asked questions.
How many people do you have space for?
The maximum number of guests we can accept is 12.
Where are we staying?
In one of the Cinque Terre villages called Riomaggiore. The closest airport is Pisa.
Will we be moving hotels?
No, this is NOT a whirlwind tour of Italy. We will be sleeping in one hotel and will be day tripping to surrounding villages. Everything is very close.
How will we get around?
We will walk, take the train or be driven by our private driver.
Is this for women only?
Yes, this is a ladies only trip. You’re an individual. You deserve a trip tailored to your interests and desires, not to couples and families.
It doesn’t matter if you’re single, in a relationship, recently divorced or widowed; we offer women of all backgrounds a week of pure “you” time.
It’s pretty simple: No guys, no kids, no to-do lists. (Our guys and kids are staying home too!).
If you have a partner at home click here to read the Pitch Your Partner Guide.
I’ve been to Italy several times before. Will I see anything new?
If you’ve already spent multiple summers in the Cinque Terre, and you speak Italian, and you’ve had your fill of the villages of Bonassola, Lerici, Riomaggiore, Manarola, Vernazza, Groppo and Monterosso al Mare then skip this trip. The choice is yours; however, our philosophy is that each opportunity has the potential to offer the unique and the extraordinary. Every time.
I have found that with each trip to Italy, I come away with a greater passion for the country. If you’ve been to Italy before I believe this will be your experience; the perk of traveling with local connections will only enhance that experience. This is the natural evolution of your Italian love affair.
I’m not a “group tour” person. I’ve never considered doing something like this before.
This isn’t a typical group tour where you’ll be shoved into a tour bus with fifty people all wearing the same white tennis shoes, skimming the surface of each destination at a frenzied pace. Travelling with us is about connecting to yourself and others through authentic experiences.
This is NOT for everyone. If you want to wander aimlessly with zero structure – don’t come with us. Instead, we maximize your precious vacation time with a mix of free time and organized time at a pace that is tried and tested.
Who else will be on this trip?
We usually have a balanced mix of solo travelers coming to Italy on their own and friends or family coming together. Past guests have included students, working women, moms, retirees, widows, married women, single women and divorcees.
In the past, guests have ranged in ages from 27 to 65. But it doesn’t really matter how old you are – it matters what kind of experience you want. Our guests share traits: they are young at heart, optimistic, love eating great food and having fun. Most importantly, they share a passion for travel and have cultivated a natural curiosity about the world.
How expensive is Italy? I don’t know if I can afford it!
To be perfectly honest, you could spend less money sleeping in hostels and backpacking around Italy. Conversely, you could also spend thousands more blowing money in pricey Italy! At Italian Fix we choose to be totally transparent when it comes to costs and work diligently to get you the best deals without compromising quality. You know exactly what your trip will cost you before you even leave home because we’ve included the majority of your expenses in one price (you are responsible for your airfare). It doesn’t get much simpler than that. NO surprises!
What is certain is that these trips offer insane value for your money. Your vacation is precious. Your free time is fleeting. Don’t blow it on a mediocre experience.
If you value where you spend your hard earned cash then take a look at how these trips are designed for real working people.
1) You won’t get ripped off on a crappy meal, uninteresting attraction, or sleep in a bad hotel. You’ll get the best eats, attractions, hotel and experiences with the most awesome people ever. This takes months of planning, and it’s only done with years of experience in Italy.
2) My insider connections in Italy are priceless. On the one hand my perspective allows me to anticipate your needs (because they are also mine) and on the other, understand how to navigate Italy like a local. You won’t throw your money at a shot in the dark “hoping” it will be good. You have somebody with you at all times attending to every detail.
3) The euro is the lowest in years. Remember: the exchange rate is vital to how much you spend – Italy would have cost you 35% MORE a few years ago.
4) You can’t even organize this stuff on your own. If you were travelling solo how much time and energy would you spend hiring a personal shopper to go to the market, a guide for a private walking tour, wine tasting or a cooking class? You can have these experiences at a fraction of the price because we have a small group – making it affordable for you.
5) You know exactly what this trip will cost you from the start. We make your life unbelievably simple by including the vast majority of your trip expenses in ONE PRICE. No guessing. No wondering how much you’ll blow. Nada.
Do you have a payment plan?
Yeah! You have until January 15, 2014 to take advantage of it. It won’t be offered after that.
GF, vegan, vegetarian options available.
Lots of walking and climbing stairs. If you have mobility issues this is not the trip for you.
Know what you’ll spend before you even leave home.
This trip includes:
- 6 nights at the hotel Cinque Terre Residences overlooking the village of Riomaggiore, within walking distance to restaurants, shopping and the beach. You’ll receive a room with private balcony in a shared accommodation ( two people per room). Single supplement available.
- transfer to the hotel with a driver from a meeting point
- cooking class with Tim McDiarmid with a focus on healthy cooking to recreate at home
- a multi-course lunch, at the top restaurant in the region, paired with wines of the Cinque Terre
- guided shopping trip with a personal shopper
- an evening in the home of a local where you’ll learn Italian cooking focused on regional specialties
- day trips and transportation to the beautiful surrounding villages of Manarola, Groppo, Vernazza, Monterosso al Mare, Bonassola and Lerici
- guided walk on the famous Cinque Terre walking paths
- arrival & farewell cocktails, 6 breakfasts at the hotel, 2 lunches, 6 dinners with wine.
- two guides available to you 24/7
What is not included:
- your flight to Italy, transportation to arrive and depart from our meeting spot
- alcohol and food not already mentioned (the majority is included)
- your travel & health insurance
Meet our Headache Free Guarantee
When you book with us you receive our Headache Free Guarantee.
If you can’t come, we will refund your money (minus 3% bank fees).
That means you can go ahead and reserve your spot without risk of throwing your money away if your plans change. You can take advantage of our Headache Free Guarantee anytime between now and May 1, 2014.
If you book after May 1st, 2014 please know you can make it before you book. We can’t offer refunds due to your cancellation between May 1st, 2014 and the start of your trip. Yes — your spot is fully transferable if you would like to pass it along to someone you know.
Hear what past guests have to say.
I would definitely recommend this trip to a friend!
It was everything I imagined and then some.
It was so relaxing to know that you had everything under control. In my everyday life, I am the one in charge; making sure everyone gets everywhere on time, dinner is on the table — you get the picture.
The fact that I could actually relax (but not in a lazy sitting-in-hammock way) and not worry about the details was such a break for my mind. And to learn at the same time, make new friends, and take beautiful photos — it was a perfect vacation. Just perfect!
I’m a mom, so my epiphany when I got home was to realize that my temporary absence from my children’s lives is just as important as my presence. I also realized that it’s OK to take time for yourself.
When I got home my friends asked me what we did in Italy and I told them. But the truth is, even given the exact same itinerary; it would have been nowhere near as relaxing and fun without you.
That is the truth!
Rashmi Pappu | Rashmi Pappu Photography
Before I went to Italy with you I was nervous that group travel wasn’t for me.
But I had an instinct the trip was meant for me and it delivered beyond my expectations!
The most relaxing thing about this trip was that everything was planned perfectly. The restaurant and food choices were top notch. The activities were inspiring and exciting. The customer service was outstanding. Every moment was extra special and memorable.
I loved that it was friendly and positive — the spirit and camaraderie of the group was wonderful.
Among other things, this trip reminded me that I’m never too old to make new friends. Since coming home from Italy I’ve felt more alive and energized. I also felt inspired to cook more and live a healthy lifestyle.
My personal breakthrough moment was when I realized to just trust my instincts — I felt strong and brave because I did something like this.
I’ve traveled a lot but I must say this was definitely the best trip I have ever taken.
I speak of this trip often and I always get goose bumps…it was just that amazing.
It was with wonderful people from all over, brought together by Bianca. There is no way I would have been able to experience Cinque Terre on my own the way Bianca put it all together.
I can’t wait for their next adventure!
I can’t wait to travel with Bianca again.
What makes these trips unique and special is that Bianca actually knows the people who live and work in the Cinque Terre.
It made the trip so special — like we were visiting her friends!
I was inspired to take this trip because it was a girl’s trip. I was excited about making new friends and I was not disappointed. There was never any bickering between trip participants. This just does not happen when you put a group of 12 random women together for 7 days!
It was the perfect trip!
It was a one of a kind experience.
Bianca has a gift for sharing the happiness and love of Italy, and also organizing amazing one-of-a-kind activities with local Cinque Terre residents.
I came on this trip because I wanted to see and experience Italy with someone who has lived there, because on my own it would have been difficult to experience the Cinque Terre through those eyes.
The greatest element was the people that came on this trip: amazing women who love food, who love travel and who love life!
Thank-you Bianca and Tim for an experience of a lifetime
Ayon Wen-Waldron | Ayon’s Bakery & Ayonfit
The best thing about this experience was the attention to detail.
You succeeded in making everyone feel absolutely special and that nothing was too much to ask for. I also loved the flexibility; if it wasn’t on the schedule but an individual wanted to do something, you made it happen.
I loved the camaraderie of the group and was pleased by the total involvement of the hosts.
There was no pressure to do anything I didn’t feel like and I felt very free to do as I please.
There was nothing that could have been more relaxing about this trip (if I was any more relaxed I would have melted).
Overall, I felt I received excellent value for an all included trip of this caliber.
Shan O’Brien Goldman
This trip was radiant, soulful, big, audacious, insider, and tremendous fun!
Bianca is a wonderful guide. She amazed me with her ability to stay positive, laugh and energize every moment.
I took this trip because it sounded like a truly unique way to visit an exceptional part of the world. The fact that it included all the things I adore: eating, learning, walking, cooking — and all from a local’s perspective was very compelling.
The trip was exceptional in its scope, imagination and variety of activities. She showed me Italy is a state of mind, an attitude, a place to find joy, romance, beauty, pleasure – it’s just around every corner.
She planned and pulled off an Italian miracle!
Leela Cyd Ross
This pretty much sums it up:
When I got home my husband said, “So — there were how many women?” And I said, “Eleven of us. And we all got along, no drama, nada.” And he was like, “Eleven? No drama? Must have been pretty cool women.”
That says it all!
An Italian Fix trip is a beautiful secret (that I can’t wait to share).
I joined this trip because I love Italy and needed to disconnect from the pressure of my daily life and try something different.
I can’t wait to cook one of the meals I learned on our cooking class at home with friends.
Overall, it was an amazing experience where I was able to meet new people and try new things.
I loved this vacation.
I would never have gotten off the train in this area and seen all that Bianca richly showed us.
The trip highlights were the countryside, the hike, the winery and our cooking class at the villa. I also loved Tim’s cooking class and her food – I’m gonna make it for friends.
My trip to the Cinque Terre was unique and full of insider experiences.
I loved hearing about Bianca’s personal stories and the details behind why she chose the activities we did. There were so many incredible moments – I loved them all.
Grazie for this magical experience.
I can’t wait to do more traveling with Bianca and friends.
We’ll be with you every step of the way.
Meet us, your hosts in Italy.
Bianca Gignac is the owner of Italian Fix travel and your host in the Cinque Terre.
Bianca founded Italian Fix because she believes Italy is best experienced with a backstage pass. And she has the experience to do that! She has a deep desire to help people experience Italy from an insider’s perspective especially the Cinque Terre region, where she lived and worked.
She is an Italy travel expert and writes about Italian travel on Italian Fix and blogs on the web. Each year she hosts trips to the most beautiful places in Italy for small groups of women travelers.
She now lives on Vancouver Island, Canada with her man, Alessandro, and her daughter Flora.
Tim McDiarmid knows how to bring people together, show them a great time and feed them with that effortless style you wish you possessed.
Tim is your co-host in the Cinque Terre; a fearless traveller, a brave organizer of big things, pulling off a dinner party for one hundred in her sleep! As well as being your go-to-gal for fun, she’s also teaching you her favourite and most delicious recipes.
Tim knows good food. She lived in NYC for 17 years and was part of the now thriving Brooklyn food scene which gave her exposure and dedication to great product and great food. She now runs her mini food empire called Tim the Girl, is the visionary behind Uncommon Fare, an urban bodega in San Antonio, Texas, and the inspiration for the pop-up restaurant The Special Projects Social. Tim’s passion for food, art and community hints at how much fun you’ll have.
She now lives in San Antonio, Texas.