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May 2013:

Fall Trip to Tuscany Planned

May 6, 2013

Posted in: Salute to Howard County Chamber of Commerce

With the promise of beautiful scenery, outstanding architecture, famous monuments and fabulous food and wine, the Howard County Chamber has had no trouble enticing travelers to join its tour of Tuscany from Oct. 21 through 29, 2013.

Following a highly successful trip that took 88 travelers to China at the end of March 2012, the chamber leadership knew there was a desire among its members for memorable, affordable international travel opportunities. Registration for the Tuscany tour will continue through the summer.

The nine-day package being offered for Italy includes airfare, daily breakfast, four dinners and seven nights in a first- class hotel in Montecatini. Chamber members pay $2,499 and nonmembers pay $2,699.

Each day, guests can take day trips to some of the most popular locations within the Tuscany region, including Florence, Venice and Sienna. Pisa’s Piazza dei Miracoli (or “Square of Miracles”) includes the Leaning Tower and an ornate cathedral. The walled city of San Gimignano is known for its towers and its well-preserved medieval village. Portofino is a beautiful Mediterranean village on a picturesque cove.

Each stop offers opportunities to sample treats such as cappuccino and gelato, shop for local goods and enjoy the scenery.

Joe McGuinness, who works at chamber member Signs by Tomorrow, and his wife, Pat, are planning to go to Italy with the chamber after enjoying the previous trip to China.

“The chamber organization made the trip great,” Joe McGuinness said of the China excursion. “We started and ended at the chamber of commerce parking lot and everything else was taken care of … first class buses, luxury hotels, great food and excellent tour guides.”

McGuinness said travelling with other people who were affiliated with the chamber and had similar interests added to the experience.

“The China experience was far more than we expected,” he said. “China is in a very positive high-growth mode. The people that we met were great and proud of their progress. They were anxious to talk to Americans and their side comments reflected their desire for more political freedom.”

Like the China trip, the tour of Tuscany will include opportunities to learn about various industries for which the region is known. The chamber group will visit an Italian leather workshop in Florence and enjoy a winery tour and wine tasting in Chianti. One optional excursion will go to Carrara, which is known for its quarries of white marble. The day trip to Venice will include a demonstration of glass blowing.

Travelers are invited to add an extension to Rome, which includes transportation, two nights in a hotel and tours of major landmarks, for $599.

“We worked hard to ensure our latest travel opportunity offers the most exciting tour options for a very reasonable price,” said Pam Klahr, the chamber’s president and CEO. “We are excited for our members to explore new business activities while enjoying everything the Tuscany region has to offer.”

Individuals interested in traveling to Tuscany with the chamber can learn more at or can contact Joanne Birdsong at 410-730-4111.

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