This November, discover Europe in away you’ve never imagined.  Brought toyou by Hanns Ebensten Travel, the Italian Magic tour will followthe footsteps of some of the greatest artists and thinkers in history, startingwith a three-day pre-tour extension in Venice.

The tour continues in Florence, whereyou’ll discover the works of Michelangelo and his archetypal work David.  Next comes Assisi and the private hermitageof St. Francis, ending at Caesar’s doorstep, Rome.

Along the way, travelers willexperience the best of the accomplished artists and writers of this land, fromDante to Caravaggio, from Titian to Byron, and enjoy nights in lovely hillsidevillages in Tuscany and Umbria. For those with more time, we offer a three-dayextension in Rome at the end of the tour.

Zachary Moses,marketing directorfor Hanns Ebensten Travel has a preview of what travelers canexpect.

GT:  What do you hope travelers take away fromthis tour

ZM:  We hope that travelers go home not only witha better understanding of Italy and its culture, but a greater understanding ofhow Italy plays a part in the LGBT community today, as well asduring the country’s rich history. We hope that travelers go home with newfriends and connections that will last them the rest of their lives.

GT:  What makes this tour different than othertours in Italy and Europe? 

ZM:  The biggest difference is that these aretours for gay men, lesbians and their friends. There is no awkward time spent figuringout, or filtering in front of your traveling companions. Everybody isprepared to accept you as you are.

We focus a largeramount of our time showing you the gay spots in a region. Our tours provide anenvironment where you can be comfortable in a group of like-minded individuals.Even when we are using local guides, we always send our staff guides along withto increase the sense of safety and comfort on our trips.

GT:  Alyson Adventures/Hanns Ebensten has a greatreputation with the LGBT community.  What's the secret to your success? 

ZM:  We have never sacrificed our ideals in theinterest of profit. We focus on what will make a truly unique experience forthe uncommon traveler. We all know how difficult it is to come out of thecloset, and that many of us are still in the closet in one way or another indifferent parts of our lives. Our guests come back to us time and time again,because they know we will always deliver a quality gay tour. What we haveconsistently offered is an escape from the regular world and a chance to beyourself. This is your vacation and it’s meant to be savored.

GT:  Why is it important to offer tours catered tothe LGBT community? 

ZM:  Because it’s a big, bright world outthere, and LGBT people should travel it in style and safety. There area lot of companies trying to make a dollar by adding us to their mailing listsand claiming to cater to the LGBT community, but these are, by and large, straightcompanies wanting to profit from a big “new” market.

It’s absolutelynecessary that Hanns Ebensten Travel continue its 38-year tradition ofdeveloping and offering something truly unique and truly gay. Wedon’t just offer regular tours that can accommodate gay people. Our company isrun by members of the LGBT community, and our tours are developed withour “family” in mind. These are our vacations, the times we get away fromour regular lives, let’s enjoy them to the fullest! 

What excitingstuff do you guys have coming up? We just added our “TortugueroExpedition” tour to the calendar. This Costa Rica trip runs Dec28 2011 – Jan 5th 2012 and is for adventurous gay men.It’s an excellent way to ring in the New Year! We will stay in the best hotels; fromposh resorts with views of the Arenal Volcano to Eco Lodges in thejungle. We will tiptoe to sea turtle nesting grounds; play hardat whitewater rafting, caving, and hiking; and get athrill riding zip lines through the cloud forests. When theweather is chilly back home, head for the rainforest!

We also have anAll Women’s “Splash!” Grand Canyon Trip running July 27th,2012 – August 5th 2012. This whitewater rafting adventure leavesfrom Las Vegas to spend 7 days floating the Colorado River belowthe towering walls of the Grand Canyon. We camp each night, shower underwaterfalls, and gaze up at the glorious stars. This trip is one ofthe best ways to disconnect from our digital world and really experience nature.We also run five other“Splash!” tours in 2012: four men’s tours,and one mixed group date.

GT:  Is there anything else you'd like to add? 

ZM:  I have always been a solo traveler, outsideof vacating with my family. Since joining Alyson Adventures and Hanns EbenstenTravel in December 2010, I’ve really come to appreciate what we do. Touringwith groups of new people, building a close-knit group to mix with at the endof each day, splitting a bottle (ahem…3?) of wine while telling our storiesaround a fire …our tours are the perfect new adventure for me. I can’t wait tobicycle through the French countryside in September. Care to join me?

Click here for more information on Hanns Ebensten Travel.

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