I am a self described Italo-phile.  My Milanese friends say that I have seen more of Italy than they have. At the ripe age of nineteen, my boyfriend Bill, whom I now am (mostly) happily married, (except when he insists on decorating), took me on my first bike tour of Europe. In three months we covered much of the main land of Greece, Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland and Iceland, bringing my art history studies to life. I was particularly enamored with Italy, not only for it’s cornucopia of culture, but because of the intensely passionate and welcoming people. On that first trip we made Italian friends who, I consider some of the kindest people on the planet.  After 25 years of friendship, the Varinelli’s, Ventura’s, and Galli’s of Milan have become my Italian family and have taught me what it means to love life, family, food, wine, art and each other with Italian intensity.

In college I studied ceramics and have a masters degree to prove my fascination with 4th century transport amphorae. My studies led to a love of the Etruscan culture and an exploration of the Tuscan countryside. I have taken countless trips with friends, groups, and family, to most regions of Italy, but am completely and hopelessly stuck on Tuscany.

For several years, I led bike tours for women of Tuscany and have come to know the people and area well. These trips allowed me to foster friendships and partnerships with  Tuscan wine makers, farmers, linguists, and proprietors of restaurants and agriturisimos — all hard working, intense, life-loving people.

My husband Bill, a pragmatic philosopher, believes, as Shakespeare, that we are just characters in a play, each with a role to play in each others comedy or saga. If that is true, then I have to say that I like the Italian characters best. I dedicate this blog site to him, Bikin’ Bill, adventurer and inspired traveler, leading man in my comedy.

Italy has taught me much; to love my family & friends with intensity; create food for the ritual and pleasure of eating fresh flavors, paired with great wine, amongst good company; enjoy the beauty of nature in all filters of light; and to make the most of every moment of everyday, because there is too much beauty out there to miss out on if you don’t seize it!

~ Betsy

Comments, questions or to get hooked up with an incredible Tuscan adventure, contact me:  Betsy@customtuscany.com