There is nothing like the city of Venice. I fell in love with it from the start, exploring by boat through the winding canals lined with beautiful palazzos. Getting lost in the maze-like city is my favorite pastime, and every street is more beautiful than the last (I've never taken more photos than when in Venice). I love visiting the Peggy Guggenheim museum in the quieter Dorsoduro district, or even venturing out to the islands of Murano and Burano for a change of pace. Whether I'm wandering through the bustling narrow streets or enjoying a bottle of wine with friends on the calm lagoon, this city living on water never loses its magic for me.
Chandler's passion for Italy began at a young age, dreaming of lush Tuscan hills, Vespa rides through bustling cities, and devouring the famed gelato. While in college, she jumped at the opportunity to spend a semester in Florence where she fell even more in love with the food, art, and beauty it is revered for. Since then she has been able to explore the country from north to south, taking pictures at every turn and always on the hunt for the best cacio e pepe (her favorite pasta dish, meaning "cheese and pepper"). After graduating from Lesley University, Chandler spent time managing a painting studio and indulging her creative side. Inevitably, her passion for travel led her to find Audley and the opportunity to help others discover the beautiful country of Italy. Outside the office, Chandler can be found exploring Boston's food scene or planning her next trip with friends.
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I have never seen anything quite like Castello del Nero in Tuscany. The 12th century estate was the home of a noble family and has been beautifully preserved in the heart of Chianti. Sitting atop picturesque rolling hills, the drive up to the hotel took my breath away. Each of the 50 rooms and suites are unique in their design, with panoramic views of vineyards and olive groves or of the hotel's beautiful gardens. It is just a short drive to Florence, Pisa, or some of the best wineries of Chianti, but the hotel itself offers much to do. I particularly enjoyed their spa as a way to unwind from a busy day, and there were plenty of trails for peaceful walks or bike rides through the grounds. It was the perfect place to enjoy the Tuscan countryside in complete luxury.
I'll never forget when…
As someone with an obsession with truffles, I was thrilled to be able to go on a truffle hunt in the countryside of Tuscany. The hunter was our guide, explaining the history of truffle hunting while we followed the well trained truffle dog as she sniffed her way through the woods. The relationship between hunter and dog was heart-warming and watching them work together was something special. Although she was only able to find a few, it was incredible to watch the excitement as the pup sensed the truffle and dug it up from the ground. The tour ended with an amazing four course lunch all involving fresh truffle — even the dessert! It was truly unlike anything I had experienced before.