Founder of An Italian Affair, Antonella Nichinonni was born and raised in Casigliano di Strettura, a small hamlet on a hill top just off the old Flaminia Way midway between Terni and Spoleto in Umbria, Italy’s green heart.
As a young adult along with her family she moved to Australia where she completed her education and still makes her home.
She is a university graduate with Honours specialising in the Languages of Italian, Spanish & French. Also holding a Grad.Dip.Ed she has taught at all levels for over 23 years. In 2005 she founded an Italian Language school, Forum Italiano, in Melbourne Australia, and now runs her own school, An Italian Affair language school.
Her love affair with Umbria started from birth and even though Australia has been her home for many years, her passion for Italy and deep connection to the region and to its people remain very strong. She has been fortunate to retain her ancestral family home and no greater pleasure has she had than to be able to share her home, its passing traditions and seasons, retaining and renewing the friendships of generations past with her family, friends and students.
Antonella is specialising in a new form of luxury, that being the luxury of Experience. Her deep connection with Umbria and strong desire to share it led Antonella to create hosted educational, cultural and gastronomic tours offering unique and special travel experiences, the sort that money cannot buy and that only genuine passionate and local people can deliver.
Antonella celebrates the aspect of self-discovery that can take place when people from a “wired” world are immersed into this ancient landscape and its people.
“I never know exactly where and when it will happen but at some stage on every journey I see people touched in a way that is deep and real and surprising. I will quote poet, David Whyte to describe what I mean;
”I knew then, as I had before life is no passing memory of what has been nor the remaining pages in a great book waiting to be read. It is the opening of eyes long closed. It is the vision of far off things seen for the silence they hold. It is the heart after years of secret conversing speaking out loud in the clear air.”
I have seen non-religious folk deeply affected visiting the tomb of San Francesco, others bought to tears by the simple generosity of neighbours sharing the sweetest figs from the field. Last year we experienced a literary interlude with Prof Rodney Lokaj at his home exploring the “Spiritual Journey of Faith of San Francesco & Santa Chiara” on a perfect evening outside under the stars overlooking the Spoleto valley, the whole night had a magical quality that we just couldn’t shake for days.
For me this is the pinnacle, these experiences can’t be manufactured or reproduced over and over again, they are always subtly different but when the temperature and conditions personally and physically and spiritually are just right the outcome is truly transformative.”
Antonella personally hosts all her tours. She feels a strong necessity to respect the generosity of her hosts, family and friends and wishes that her activities will have only the lightest touch on their way of life.
As such these tours are by necessity very small in scale and frequency
and available only to a select cliental.