Pietro Molica Lazzaro
I grew up in Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean and truly one of the most beautiful places in the world. It is a magical place with magnificent historical sights, glorious scenery, wonderful food – and even a volcano.
My passion for travel began at an early age. My father worked as a coach driver for a local tour company and, as a young boy, I would accompany him to Palermo or Catania airport to collect groups of tourists from Germany and France. I could feel the excitement of these travellers and their pleasure at being in Sicily and I thought, one day, I want to make people feel the same way by sending them to amazing places. When I was young, we could not afford to go on many holidays, but I was always dreaming of taking a plane to some exotic location, to see unusual animals and learn more about local cultures.
Q&A with Pietro our European Specialist
What is your favourite travel memory?
I lived in Australia for almost two years and the last thing I did before returning to Europe was backpacking for five months, visiting some of its most beautiful sights. I went to awe-inspiring places such as the Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road, the Great Barrier Reef and Magnetic Island. I surfed at Bondi Beach, Surfers Paradise, and Byron Bay. I tasted wonderful wines in the Hunter Valley, Yarra Valley, Barossa Valley and Margaret River. I intend to return to Australia one day for sure.
Your most annoying travelling habit?
Everywhere I go, I must look for a place that makes great coffee. If I cannot find one, I get terribly upset and have been told that this annoys my travel companions.
What 5 things do you always travel with?
My camera, cross pendants (for luck), trainers, bandana, travel guide.
What is on your bucket list?
China: for the Great Wall
Brazil: for the Rio Carnival
America/Canada: for Niagara Falls
You are stranded on a desert island with 2 famous people, who are they?
Jim Carrey – With him you would never stop laughing. He would be the best person to have around in this situation.
Jennifer Lawrence – She grew up playing many sports, so would probably have a lot of energy for hunting and gathering food. And she is handy with a bow and arrow. I will not starve with her.
My favourite destination - Spain
The first time I visited Spain was a school trip in 1998. It was love at first sight, especially because I met a beautiful Spanish girl and wanted to move there. Unfortunately, my parents were not on the same page. I visited Madrid, Sevilla, and the wonderful city of Barcelona. I am a big football fan so touring the Nou Camp, the home of Barcelona FC, was a dream come true. Since then, I have visited Spain at least 15 times for work and pleasure, but every time I go, it feels like the first time. I love the people, the culture, the food, and the history. If I had to pick a favourite city, I would select San Sebastian. It is one of the world’s great culinary destinations and has several gorgeous beaches, including Playa de la Concha. San Sebastian is a perfect spot for a long weekend or a lengthier trip.
Throughout my travels there are some experiences and memories which stand out. I would like to share these recommendations with you for some travel inspiration..
Favourite Island – Magnetic Island, Australia
When I toured Australia in 2014, I visited Magnetic Island, situated off the cost of Townsville in Queensland. I absolutely adored the secluded beaches, rugged natural scenery, and abundant wildlife. I stayed at the Bungalow Bay Koala Village, which has an on-site wildlife park where I held a giant snake – quite scary but also exhilarating! I also took a day trip to the magnificent Great Barrier Reef where I witnessed some of the world’s most beautiful coral reefs. I will never forget this fabulous trip.
Favourite City - Venice
I might sound biased being Italian, but my very favourite is Venice. Even after many visits, I am still enchanted by the “city on water”, with its 117 tiny islands separated by canals and linked by bridges. If you are looking for a weekend break or a romantic location where you can propose to your beloved, Venice is the place for you. If you go for a gondola ride at sunset, and perhaps add a bottle of champagne and strawberries, they will say yes for sure!
Favourite Experience – Pintxo Tour, San Sebastian, Spain
I love good food, so one of my favourite travel experiences is the Pintxo Tour in San Sebastian. You get to eat delicious pintxos (a Basque version of tapas) while also learning about the culture and history of the Basque country. With many Michelin-starred restaurants, fine cider houses and hundreds of pintxo bars, the city is rightfully considered one of the culinary capitals of Europe. The tour takes you from traditional, family-run bars to modern, award-winning establishments, where you get to sample seafood delicacies, elaborate meat dishes and more. You hop from bar to bar, laughing, chatting with chefs and foodies, and making friends with the friendly locals.
Favourite Family Destination - Sardinia
In 2016, I stayed at the most luxurious family resort in Europe – the Forte Village Resort on the island of Sardinia. This spectacular Mediterranean resort is set in 47 hectares of lavish gardens and private grounds close to the typical Sardinian town of Pula. We thoroughly enjoyed the sport and leisure activities as well as the unique and relaxing Spa – the perfect place to unwind and pamper yourself with unique relaxing pools, treatments, and yoga sessions. Forte Village has become popular with celebrities such as Sting and David Beckham. When I visited, I met several Italian and English footballers, as well as the renowned soccer coach Massimiliano Allegri!
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