La Strada Travels is a small, yet ambitious travel agency, to present Italy as it is, with real people in their everyday lives. Italy is the cradle of Western civilization. This country has given so much to the world over the centuries – from law to architecture, from music to painting. But which Italy are we talking about ?
Tourism today tends to keep on the beaten track, and travellers find it quite difficult to have genuine contacts with the reality around them. They move along the motorways of conventional tourism. They walk around cities that have been turned into museums. They get to know very little about the people who live there. Our approach is different. We make it possible for those who travel with us to enjoy beautiful yet simple things in the most natural manner, away from clichés. We will welcome you in the Marche – our amazing region that contains the essence of Italy.
We offer routes for the palate that enable you to discover great dishes and excellent wines in superb surroundings. With us you will get to know landscapes, paintings, music, off the regular beaten tourist track– authentic religious festivals, events that attract the crowds, country rituals dating back in time, such as the wine harvest and the picking of olives, and above all the people that give life to our piazze, to the main squares of our towns and villages, to our streets and lanes. We will help you organise the trip of your dreams. We will offer you this and much more if you kindly accept our invitation.
You can’t really have an insight into the culture of a country or feel you really know a place unless you are prepared to make the effort. It means exploring new places, off the beaten track, possibly getting lost, travelling with an open mind. Each and every road you adventure down will ultimately take you to a magical location that is worth the visit. On your travels you will admire the meadows that are so vividly green, the marble that is so beautifully white, the ancient red brick walls, the yellow and ochre hues of maize fields, the extraordinarily blue sea and sky, the air we breathe, the people and their lives, the differences. All these things explain why it is La Strada – the Road.
It would certainly be nice to find travellers who prefer to belong in places rather than just look at them. It would be great if they chose to understand and feel, rather than judge the people they come across. They would be explorers and not mere tourists. Are you ready to start your journey on this fabulous Road ?
Who are we?
Paolo Pellei : I was born in the Marche region, in San Benedetto del Tronto more than forty years ago. When I was just over thirty the Northern Star took me to Finland. Before embarking on La Strada adventure I taught Italian language and culture for about ten years at the Italian Cultural Centre in Helsinki and in various language centres and universities. I took part in the TV programme Una casa in Italia (A house in Italy) as a presenter. I also elaborated the online language course. I like good food and wine, Paolo Conte’s music, football, the sea in winter, films in which they don’t shoot people, quite unlike current video-games, Sciascia and Pavese books, paintings by Gallen-Kallela, the relaxed feeling one experiences after a nice sauna bath while admiring the serene beauty of an infinite lake. My heart goes from the mellow hills of the Marche to the endless plains of Finland.
Rikka Kalajoki-Pellei : Until the nineties I mostly travelled East – until I met Paolo, then I started going West. And here I am now in a village in Central Italy with my family. I specialised in Slav languages and I worked for ten years in tourism. I do translations from a few Slav languages, from Italian and English to Finnish. I have a passion for horses, I like music in general, and I am keen on Russian literature, (my favourite author is Nabokov) but I have now taken to Mma Ramotswe’s books. They are easy to read – just fine for a mother like me who can never get enough sleep. I like the climate in Italy, I also like good food and wine. I find the people here sociable and optimistic. To me, the greatest quality the Italians have is their ability to enjoy life.
Viola, Anton, Lumi and Lucas – let’s hope they take up the same Road when the time comes.