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The Scottsdale architectural firm of Candelaria Design Associates is one of the premier luxury residential architecture firms in the country. Enjoy our blog which features our work, our travel, our recipes, wines, tips on design and decorating, and the lives of our clients and employees, etc.....its all the ingredients for the Candelaria Design Lifestyle. Contact Candelaria Design to start your dream residence 602-604-2001!

Candelaria Design Tour Italy - Sept 2016 - Departure for Italy

We are officially off and on our way to Italy as we begin our 14th Candelaria Design Tour Italy!


I love this trip especially when I get to introduce some newbies to the experience of travel. I have a couple first timers to Europe and Italy which is the best. Watching their eyes and expressions as we arrive in Firenze and come upon the Duomo for the first time.


We have a wonderful group for our September trip. All of my travelers this trip are from the Phoenix/Scottsdale area. I have five repeat travelers and the Wedgie Media team who will be filming and droning our trip and the beautiful sights we will see for our new show Design and Romance - Italy. So 21 travelers in total. Some of my repeat travelers are enjoying their third and sixth trips!

So what adventures will we be embarking upon on this trip??? I have added several new venues this time including the Antinori Winery and a truffle hunt and picnic at a nature preserve in Tuscany.

Follow our journey right here on my blog as I will upload posts during the course of the trip. I will be posting a lot of pictures and videos here, on You Tube, Facebook and Instagram so you can enjoy this wonderful trip. I am very excited to start this trip with this group. I’m sensing some good times ahead for sure.

Here is our basic itinerary so join us on our adventure:

Sept 7th Departure from Phoenix

Sept 8th Arrival in Firenze with dinner at the picturesque Villa La Vedetta

Sept 9th A day in Firenze with dinner in front of the Duomo

Sept 10th Drive to Umbria with a stop at the Antinori Winery then our welcome dinner at the Farmhouse.

Sept 11th Sunday Brunch at Villa Piazzano then to Cortona for afternoon shopping and a fabulous dinner in a cellar.

Sept 12th Assisi followed by a wine tour in Umbria and dinner alfresco.

Sept 13th Wine tours in Umbria with our wine guide Pino.

Sept 14th Farmer’s market in Umbertide followed by antiquing at Lacole then our cooking class at the farmhouse.

Sept 15th San Gimignano and Siena

Sept 16th Truffle hunt and picnic in Tuscany and farewell dinner at the farmhouse

June 17th – Drive to Positano and the Amalfi Coast

June 18th – June 19th Positano and Capri

June 20th – time to come home L

Ok Here we go!

Arrival in Firenze

When you travel for nearly 34 hours between getting ready, getting to the airport, flying and then arriving and checking in… are in somewhat of a dream state. I guess they call that jet lag!

18 travelers and a three man film crew, with travelers arriving via NYC and Croatia and we all made it! Not one lost piece of luggage. Amazing.  Well we checked in and all got settled one by one at the beautiful Hotel Brunellschi located in the heart of Firenze We have been staying here since 2004 and it is one of my favorites. The staff if outstanding and very friendly and have been the same crew throughout the years. It makes you feel like you are staying with good friends or family and they treat you accordingly. 

We all got settled, some of us arrived just before noon and we had some time to do a little exploring and/or get a quick power nap in. Of course, my objective was to get that first Italian espresso…..that definitely helps take the edge off the jet lag.  We later then met at the hotel lounge for cocktails before we made our way to the spectacular Villa La Vedetta in the hills above Firenze for our welcome dinner. This is our first time at this venue and it was nothing short of spectacular.

The ladies of the Candelaria Design Tour Italy at the Villa la Vedetta

The ladies of the Candelaria Design Tour Italy at the Villa la Vedetta


Of course everyone is in this jet lag state of being and all of a sudden you are enjoying a Prosecco on the terrace overlooking Firenze with the sun setting in the distance …..well like I said dreamlike for sure.

Michelle Watts and Walter Spitz at the Villa La Vedetta

Michelle Watts and Walter Spitz at the Villa La Vedetta

Michelle Watts, Walter Spitz, Phil Giltner, and Isabel

Michelle Watts, Walter Spitz, Phil Giltner, and Isabel


We start with cocktails and appetizers on the terrace - which was absolutely lovely as we watched the sun set over Florence. This was followed by a spectacular dinner with a set menu that we had created ahead along with the wine pairings so my jet lagged travelers did not have to make a single decision this evening – just relax and soak in the experience. The stories and friendships were beginning……


Fabulous evening and a wonderful start to our journey!