Growing up, you are always told that studying in school will land you the best jobs. I did do the studying, but I never thought that being born and raised in France and spending summer holidays in Italy would be my most useful training, and land me my dream job. 

Co-founding BellaTerra Travel has been an incredibly fulfilling achievement for me because it doesn’t get any better than doing what you love with your best friends.

I have such happy memories of childhood by the beach in a remote corner of Sicily, entire summers of socializing with family members and friends, experiencing the best cannoli di ricotta, the homemade pasta from my Nonna, the tiramisù from Aunt Natalina and all that good stuff that, along with a slow pace of life seems to be preserving people until way past the average life expectancy of most countries.

In what seems like a parallel world, I have similar happy memories of my French family in the mountain Alps, running around in my grandmother’s orchard, accompanying her to the farmer’s market every Saturday which was also an excuse to converse with villagers and neighbors, or going to school in the scenic town of Annecy and hanging out with friends by the lake. 

Childhood memories become so much clearer when you are no longer a child. You suddenly turn around and realize that every day life has become heirloom that you now cherish and appreciate. 

As I buried my 90-year old Sicilian grandmother recently, it seemed like a whole piece of my childhood had been taken away. But after much pondering, I realize that both my grandmothers have actually left me with the most precious gifts: heritage, culture, happy memories and a strong sense of family. I am proud to be putting my own version of French and Italian cultures to good use through BellaTerra to keep it real and authentic for our customers. There is no bigger thrill for me than hearing from a client that they have had the best experience thanks to the hoteliers, guides and numerous people that we put on their path to help make their trip unique.

Celia