The Italian Concierge
My passion for Italy is as innate as the 100% Italian blood that flows in my veins. I graduated in Art Education and Italian from University of Colorado in Boulder, and studied in Siena, Italy. This base formulated my knowledge of Italian language and Italian history.
At the onset of the internet mid 90’s when learning how to “surf”, a quirk of fate changed the direction in my life and I became a tour guide in Italy. My first position was with Country Walkers, a Vermont based travel company, where we escorted groups from 20-28 American clients on walking tours all over Italy. Often, we had only two hours between trips to drop off one group and pick up the next and we would repeat the same itinerary all over again. The job of tour manager was fun, exciting and low paying.
“I believe in traveling well, away from the crowds when possible, in experiencing the culture intimately, and lastly leaving no road in Italy untraveled.”
During the first decade of my involvement in Italian tourism, and while my Italian improved, I continued to work for a succession of other travel companies as I explored the country; Wilderness Travel, Smithsonian Study Tours (later Smithsonian Journeys) REI, Cucina Italiana , The Cooking School of Aspen and eventually, after escorting another 150 groups formed Joyce Falcone-The Italian Concierge.
Joyce’s Black Book has been 20 years in the making; it is my resource of favorite hotels and preferred spots for this and that, from scenic driving routes to trails to walk, with additional focus on the regional foods and wine in the most typical places to experience them.
I consider myself an Italy specialist. I did not learn from a book, I learned by traveling the country first hand. It is my belief, that one cannot truly be a specialist if one has not been to or experienced the hotels, sites, and logistics time and again and on all different levels, through different modes of transportation. In Italian it is said: “Ci voglie tempo”- It takes time.
I now have culled lists of “the best of the best”, and it is this information that I share with my clients. I can give you current and honest testimony because I have recently been there.
Catherine Skoda has been with the Italian Concierge since January 2014 and performs various functions, social media and blogging, itinerary planning, and client relations.
Catherine graduated from Harvard University in 2009, with a BA in Social Anthropology and minor in Health Care Policy. Her passion for history, culture, and local tradition is strongly felt and passionately shared through her work. She has lived in Napoli for 4 years and is presently based in USA.
Emma Boushie joined the Italian Concierge Team in January 2017. Coming from a small town in New Jersey, she was riveted by all the new information she was learning about Italy.
Emma is studying finance at the Haslam Business School at the University of Tennessee and works remotely for The Italian Concierge. She has merged her knowledge from her studies into her work with the Italian Concierge.
In her past trips to Italy, she has visited Rome, Florence, Tuscany, Siena, Venice, and many cities in between. Emma’s fascinated with how each city can differ from one another, even if only a few miles apart. Emma is extremely detail oriented and is responsible for the AXUS set up of each clients itinerary, in addition her job includes travel insurance and all ticket purchases.
Amy Shammas joined The Italian Concierge Team at the end of 2018. A graduate of Rutgers University, Amy worked as a pharmacist in various clinical positions for nearly two decades when she decided to transition her career to focus on her passion for Italian travel.
Amy has traveled extensively throughout Europe starting with a month-long backpacking trip through Italy and Croatia during college. Her love of Italy continues to grow with every trip back.
Amy is responsible for assisting the Team on-site to ensure that every client's trip is exceptional. She resides locally in New Jersey with her husband, two young children, and dog.
Florentine by birth, Paola lives in one of the most ancient neighborhoods in the heart of the city with her husband, Emanuele, and four children. In the course of a long career as an air hostess, she has had the privilege of visiting innumerable wonderful places across five continents, and, as a result, to continually observe Florence from a new, increasingly passionate perspective, learning to never take for granted the formal purity of its buildings and the decorative brilliance of its churches. A university-trained expert in history and Italian and European art history, Paola was licensed in 2010 as a historic guide for Florence and the province, and, after a very active and rewarding years in the field, she is now devoting herself to the profession full-time.