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Stephanie Serino

New York, New York Travel Agent

At Home in the Mediterranean

The Mediterranean is my second home. My background is Italian, my husband is from Valencia, Spain and we spend six months a year based in Spain and traveling all over. I also cruise the Mediterranean every year, so I’ve gotten to know the best ways to enjoy the many ports of call as well. It’s truly one of my favorite regions in the world, and I love planning special experiences for my clients who go there.

One of my favorite European beach towns is Ibiza. It is most famous for its nightlife, but you do not have to be into the club scene to love it. Ibiza is spectacularly beautiful with a relaxed and down to earth vibe and a beach for every mood, from secluded rock-framed coves where you probably won’t see anyone else to big expanses of sand with chill music and lots of people. It’s also relatively inexpensive—with amazing fresh local seafood and produce and wonderful, inexpensive wines from Spain.

For big-city excitement, I often suggest Rome. You are walking passing a Renaissance fountain sculpted by Bernini while looking at a shop with fantastic designers and listening to the clickety-clack of Manolo Blancos on cobblestones that date back to ancient Rome. You could visit the Vatican Museum every day for a year and not see the whole collection. I usually recommend small group or private guided tours for the Vatican, the Colosseum and other ancient sites; that way you can skip the lines, and you’ll come away with a great understanding of the history and what it all means.

One place you don’t need a guide is the Borghese Gallery, and it’s my favorite museum on earth. You get a timed ticket and an excellent audio tour, and can only stay two hours, which is just right. In that time, you see a wide range of art, from ancient Greece and Rome to the Renaissance.  

There’s so much I love about the Mediterranean: the weather, the beautiful water, the perennial greenery, and the lifestyle. Here, everything revolves around food, family, and friends. People relax and drink wine with meals so that meals can take a long time. Wine is like a condiment that facilitates conversation, and the food is fresh and healthy. Many of my clients enjoy taking a cooking class so they can recreate those tastes at home, and some tell me they’ve adopted the practice of spending more time over dinner talking. What a great souvenir!

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