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Tom Schmidt Luxury Travel Agent New York, New York
Tzell Travel Group
Caribbean, Europe, Thailand, USA, Worldwide, Italy
Cruises, Luxury Hotels, Wellness, Luxury Resorts , Spa & Fitness, Family Vacations, Luxury Ocean Cruises , Outdoor Activities & Sports, Luxury River Cruises , Luxury Spas , Eco-Tourism

Tom Schmidt

New York, New York Travel Agent
Europe: A Family HeritageTravel Experience

It rarely happens that my wife and I can go on a trip with all three of our boys, but last year in August, we made it happen.

My wife and her family are originally from Austria, right by the Italian border in the Trentino area. Of all the places to visit in Europe, this is the one she most wanted to see. It was very interesting because her family had settled in that area and, while they are from Austria, they all have Italian names, speak Italian, and their food is Italian. The reason for this is because after WWI, that area changed from Austrian to Italian and finally to a Hungarian settlement. This was my wife’s dream heritage travel destination, and we took our sons and our oldest son’s girlfriend and her parents along to experience this fascinating region.  

At the start of our trip, we visited a small town called Cremona, which was the home of Stradivarius. Most people know that Stradivarius stringed instruments are revered worldwide, but many do not know most of the valuable antiques were built by the family of Antonio Stradivari in the 17th and 18th Centuries. My oldest child is a very accomplished violinist and his girlfriend is a great violist (they are both teachers in Virginia.) So, nestled in Cremona, we discovered the Museo del Violino, where you can learn all about Stradivarius’ life. It was a real travel highlight for our two musicians. They also offer music concerts at night, which is an extraordinary experience in the very town where the legendary violin-makers lived. The next day, we went to Venice for two nights, and then we went north to the area of Lake Garda.  

The following day, we drove up to the mountains to a small town my where my wife’s grandfather was born and raised. My son and his wife had previously researched our family history and wrote about it, so it was a moving experience for my wife and the kids to “get back to their roots” so to speak. We went to this charming restaurant hotel, to which the entire family was apparently connected.

While we don’t speak Italian very well, using the kids’ smartphones and translation apps, we managed to make contact and they understood who we were. At first, these long-lost Italian cousins were a little standoffish until they vetted us, but they started to warm up and even called people from outside on the street, grandmothers and cousins from the grandfather’s side of the family. They took us on a tour of the town. Our entire family enjoyed this experience thoroughly and it truly was a family trip of a lifetime. Of all the places to visit in Europe, I highly recommend taking the time to visit the home of your ancestors. 

It’s hard to choose my favorite one or a few travel destinations; I book it all. I determine what to recommend to clients based on their desires, needs and must-haves, coupled with my first-hand experience and knowledge, and the treasure trove of information in our Tzell Travel Group databases.

Whether you are looking for places to visit in Europe, or anywhere in the world, I have a wealth of ideas and information on exciting travel destinations for you to consider. With specialties in luxury leisure travel and wellness, I always incorporate some aspect of wellness and luxury into the trips I arrange for my clients. Let’s plan your getaway today.