Buon giorno, Roma!

GF Journeys trip to Italy

By Vic Dolcourt

February 2014 - Whenever I imagine Italy I have visions of the Coliseum in Rome, the Duomo in Florence, the redolent flavors of cheese, garlic and tomatoes in perfect proportion, and the magic of balsamic vinegar. But travelers to Italy on the upcoming GF Journeys trip to Tuscany, Parma and Rome won’t have to imagine Italy–they will experience it firsthand with an autumn tour personally led by both Gina DiPrima from Livermore and her Italian business partner.

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Gina DiPrima

Gina has been helping travelers with their perfect vacations from the time she was the tour operations manager for Italy for Backroads, an East Bay touring firm catering to active travelers, on to the present as the operator of Family Friendly Italy, and most recently GF Journeys. GF Journeys is a new venture. It is an outgrowth of ideas and tours from Family Friendly Italy; however, it specializes in travel services for the gluten-free traveler.

“Everything changed last year when one of my 5-year old twins was diagnosed with diabetes and celiac disease. Diabetes is additive to your lifestyle. You have to change, but little is deprived of you. But celiac disease is subtractive. There are now lots of things you can’t eat, and you have to be very careful of where you eat outside of your home. Consequently, travel becomes a lot more complicated and a little bit dangerous. Because some of the members in my East Bay celiac support group knew my background in travel they asked me to put together a list of safe places to eat for several different cities in Italy.” said Gina. To create the list she contacted business friends and associates in Italy, as well as diving deeply into the services of the Italian Celiac Association.

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Pizza! Pasta! Pastries! 

Imagine visiting Italy and being tempted by all kinds of wheat-filled goodness and NOT being able to eat it due to a gluten sensitivity? Traveling to Italy seems impossible for someone who can't eat gluten (due to celiac disease or a gluten intolerance) but it is actually quite do-able IF you know what you are doing...You might be surprised to learn that many Italians themselves can't consume gluten (there's a high incidence genetically of celiac).

The thing about managing an allergy to gluten while traveling is that it can take a lot of time-consuming forward planning. That's what makes a gluten-free Italy tour a dream for someone with these challenges. I've seen a few companies try to start these in the past and was thrilled to hear from Dream of Italy subscriber Gina DiPrima that she has started GF Journeys,  a travel service designed specifically for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

Her first Italy tour Gluten-Free Italy: Travels through Tuscany, Parma and Rome takes place this October.  The 7-day tour departs October 14, 2014, from Florence, Italy.  Price is $3125 per person (airfare not included) with a discount offered prior to February 28, 2014. Special rates are available to travel agents.

Already working in Italy travel planning, DiPrima was inspired to start these tours when her 5-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Celiac.

Gluten Free Travel Blog

March 07, 2014

Gluten Free Trip to Italy -- Take a True Vacation from Worry!

Once upon a time, traveling was a real challenge if you were gluten free. Not so anymore. The website I launched almost 6 years ago, GlutenFreeTravelSite, hasn't wavered from its original mission: to help the Celiac and gluten free community dine out and travel without worry. Fortunately, over the years, there have been many restaurants, hotels, inns, resorts, cruise ships, and travel compaies that have also joined in sharing that mission. 

Gina DiPrima founded one such company that I want to share with you today. Much like myself, Gina's inspriation for starting a business to help the gluten free community was one of her children's diagnosis with Celiac at a young age. After spending over a decade in the travel industry working for a luxury tour operator, she decided to channel her experience toward planning itineraries for families (or adults only) needing gluten-free friendly accommodations and meals

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