Arriving in Style
When we first met Cathy Fleming, she was front and center in our April “Live in Style” feature, modeling the perfect outfit for traveling anywhere around the globe. As the owner of Viaggi di Gusto—Tours with Taste, a Madison company that leads customized wine and culinary tours to Italy, and a life-long avid traveler, Fleming’s passion for traveling has taught her a thing or two about arriving anywhere in style.
After living in both Switzerland and Africa, Fleming fell in love with Italy and eventually launched Viaggi di Gusto to help bring all of the best of what Italy has to offer—from unbeatable wine to scrumptious food—to other local women.
But, of course, Italy is also known for its sense of style. From the streets of Milan to famous designers who call the country home, a high sense of fashion is woven into the fabric of both Italian clothes and culture.
So Fleming is back to tell us more about Viaggi di Gusto and how traveling in Europe has influenced her personal style. Get ready to take notes!
What kind of Italian travel experience do you offer through Viaggi di Gusto?
We help travelers get to know Italy on a more intimate level than would be possible for the independent traveler or group-tour participant. We take time to immerse ourselves in the Italian way of life by going off the tourist track to explore small towns that embody the country’s history, culture, food and wine.
Each itinerary is carefully planned to give travelers a more authentic experience. We visit small medieval villages and hill towns, stay at century-old villas, visit vineyards to sample wine, and learn the cooking secrets of some of Italy’s finest chefs. These are not the typical do-it-all, see-it-all, seven-day tours. We make sure travelers have plenty of time to soak up the culture—and sometimes that means sipping coffee or wine at an outdoor café.
What kind of women are drawn to your tours?
Our tours appeal to first-time visitors to Italy because we save them the time it takes to organize a well-planned trip. But we also have many people who have traveled with us before. That’s because they’ve learned we introduce travelers to cultural experiences and varied cuisines that even experienced travelers won’t find on their own.
What style advice for European travel do you offer women on your tours?
When planning a travel wardrobe, think comfort and layers. Because Italians dress up more than we do, I generally suggest travelers keep their wardrobe simple but classy. In general, think light clothes—crisp clean slacks, capris or skirts with a smart top and sweater for layering. Obviously, a pair of comfortable shoes is essential.
When moving from day to night, including a jacket or cardigan can help transform a casual daytime outfit into a classy evening outfit while also adding an extra layer for warmth. Scarves and wraps are also great for dressing up casual outfits. For keeping your belongings safe, messenger bags or purses that cross your body are comfortable and keep your bag safely in front of you. They also free up your hands for a spontaneous cappuccino, gelato or glass of wine.
What essential items do you always pack for Europe?
I try to make everything I pack count. For example, I like to pack neutral colors that I can mix and match and brighten up with a scarf or jewelry. Most importantly, I pack clothes that are comfortable but are still appropriate for a nice restaurant.
Find more information about Viaggi di Gusto at viaggidigusto.com.