The Italian Concierge
“In Italy, Leave no road untraveled.”
In the mid 90’s, at the onset of the internet, and the proliferation of home computers, and cell phones invading the space in our lives, that a quirk of fate changed my direction, and I became a tour manager and guide for American travel companies providing walking and hiking vacations throughout Italy. Prior to 9/11, it was not unusual to have large groups of travelers numbering 20-28 on walking tours all over Italy, but this would soon change.
As a guide, often, we had only two hours between trips in Firenze, just enough time to drop one group and run to pick up picnic supplies near Porta Romana in Firenze, and then meet the next group, and off we would go into the countryside of Toscana once again walking the same trails and repeating the entire experience. The hotel owners, the drivers, the historic guides became our friends, as we would see them time and again during travel season. This experience we repeated in Sicily, the Cinque Terre, The Lake Region, the Amalfi Coast and Puglia and wherever else our assignments took us. The job of tour manager was fun, exciting, rewarding, and low paying. There was so much to learn about Italy. During down time between trips, I would select a place to stay Panarea for two months, Palermo for a month, Roma for a few weeks, etc., and go and meet the next group.
While my Italian improved with every bite of pasta and sip of Nero d’Troia, Sciacchetra` or Friuliano, it was during this decade that I worked for a succession of travel companies; Country Walkers, Wilderness Travel, Smithsonian Study Tours (later Smithsonian Journeys) REI, Cucina Italiana, The Cooking School of Aspen. Eventually, after escorting one hundred and fifty +/- more tours, I decided to form Joyce Falcone-The Italian Concierge.
Joyce’s Black Book has been 26+ years in the making. Started in a Filofax and directed by a few worn out Michelin spiral bound maps on my lap as I drove, eventually these notes migrated to Apple Time Machine, and have become a cherished resource of favorite hotels, preferred spots, scenic driving routes, walking trails, and dining venues.
As a follower of Slow Food’s philosophy, and founder of Slow Food Roaring Fork – Aspen, Colorado Convivium of “Foodies” in the 90’s, I continue to this day to follow the snail, and still enjoy combining that with a hike Italy.
I am very thankful to have found what some call a “dream job” inspired by the beauty and bounty of Italy which enabled me to utilize a mixture of curiosity, fearlessness and a special gift of a keen sense of direction. Though my birth rite gave me the possibility of Italian Citizenship, University of Colorado taught me the Italian language, and GrandaMa instructed me how to make ravioli by hand at age 5, it was not until spending decades there, that I better understand the culture that calls the Italian peninsula home.
I consider myself an Italy specialist. I did not learn from a book, I learned by traveling the country and experiencing it firsthand. It is my belief, that one cannot truly be a specialist if one has not experienced the hotels, seen the sites, and struggled with logistics time and again. In Italian it is said: “Ci vuole tempo”- It takes time.
I now have culled lists of “the best of the best”, and it is this information that I personally share with my clients. I can give you an honest testimony because I have recently been there.
As a recent addition to her broad knowledge. of Italy, in 2020 Joyce was certified as an Italian Wine Scholar ( IWS) from The Wine Scholar Guild, based in Washington DC. The Italian Wine Scholar class covered all the 77 DOCG wines and 330 DOCs produced in Italy.
At present she is studying to take the Vinitaly International Wine Ambassador Certification exam. Vinitaly based in Verona seeks to promote the diversity of Italian wines through education around the world. Upon completion, she will receive the IWA, Italian Wine ambassador certification. The course will be completed by June 1, 2021. Stay tuned.
I live in Florence, and graduated in Italian History at the University of Florence. My thesis was dedicated to the Medici family, with a focus on the Grand Duchess Christine of Lorraine.
I have worked for 19 years as a museum educator in Palazzo Vecchio and am a research historian, and a licensed National Tour Guide providing visitors assistance, to art works, museums, archeological sites, and galleries escorting groups in Italian, English and French.
I am also a licensed National Tour Guide and provide visitors assistance, to art works, museums, archeological sites, and galleries escorting groups in Italian, English and French.
IN 2021, I began to collaborate with The Italian Concierge and act as client & vendor liaison, and travel designer for custom itineraries for our clients. I am delighted to be able to share my love of Italian Renaissance history with our guests, and to help enrich their experience and understanding of Italian and Tuscan Art and Culture
Emma Boushie is our Operations Manager for Travel Planning. She 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 graduated from the Haslam Business School at the University of Tennessee in 2019, and 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, Chianti, Val d’Orcia, Siena, Lucca, Venice, Milan, 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 overseeing all client itineraries, as well as creating the final AXUS itineraries.
Silvia hails from Bologna, Italy and has spent a great deal of time there as a licensed tour guide. She is fluent in both Italian and English, and spent time as an editor and journalist for ITALY Magazine, selecting stories and contributing ideas and features for the publication. Additionally, Silvia is well-traveled; she spent time in Los Angeles, California as a travel consultant, entertainment reporter, and group tour coordinator. Silvia's expansive knowledge about travel, food, entertainment, culture and history in Italy allows her to design specialized and in-depth itineraries for her clients.
Silvia joined The Italian Concierge Team in 2022 and acts as travel designer at The Italian Concierge. She brings her vast knowledge of Italy garnered from years of experience to her tour designs and enjoys sharing this information with our clientele.
Administrative Assistant & Travel Designer
Charlotte joined the Italian Concierge Team in January 2022 and acts as an administrative assisant and travel designer. She graduated from Rutgers University School of Arts and Sciences in 2021 and uses the skills she cultivated during her studies to communicate with new clients, create a strong social media presence, work out travel logisitics such as travel insurance, and design custom vacations.
Charlotte enjoys learning about the differences between each region in Italy, particularly in the art and culture unique to each city. From the Baroque influences in Rome to the Arab influences in Sicilian art and architecture, she is fascinated by the unique idiosyncrasies that make Italy so diverse.
Pietro joined the Italian Concierge Team in February of 2023 and acts as a travel designer. He is working on a degree in Political Science with a double minor in Italian and Spanish at Rutgers University. Pietro comes from an Italian-American background, with his father's family hailing from Castel Ruggero in the province of Salerno, and has taken two solo trips to Italy in the summers of 2021 and 2022. He is very passionate about Italian culture and cuisine, always looking to try new restaurants and studying the various Italian dialects- from Neapolitan to his local dialect of Southern Cilento. To Pietro, Italy is a place of history, family, culture, and exploration- whether that means exploring the Art Cities of Rome, Florence, and Venice, or enjoying a countryside dinner with over 20 family members. Italy is a very special place to him and he is very excited to share his love & knowledge of Italy with Italian Concierge's clients on their dream vacations.