Daniele is Italian, born in a little town on the southern banks of Lake Garda, and now living in Castegnero, an even smaller place in the countryside of Vicenza, surrounded by beautiful Palladian villas and not too far away from Venice and the Dolomites. Daniele travels a lot and, for the last five years, he has spent every autumn and winter leading tours in Latin America. In spring and summer he roams around Europe, either on bicycle tours or on land/sea tours.
It was not always this way; after studying Astronomy at Padua University, Daniele worked for several years as a software developer, until he decided he'd had enough of always seeing the same screen in front of him. He quit his job and started to travel, first to South East Asia, then around the whole world; a journey that kept him away from Italy for 30 months, visiting 26 different countries. When he returned he worked at a local publishing company for a while, but the travel bug hadn't left him so he found one of the greatest jobs in the world: tour leading. The rest is history!
Q: How did you fall into tour leading?
A: When I was travelling solo around the world, sometimes it was quite difficult to get to the places I wanted to visit for several reasons (mainly the cost, but not just or always that). My answer to the problem was not to give up, but instead to organise small groups of other travellers interested in getting to the same goal, to do all the research, to find some serious tour operator and then, basically, to lead the group. It came naturally and I enjoyed it so much that I wanted it to become my profession.
Q: What do you like most about tour leading?
A: To show other passionate travellers the places I like, to help them get in touch with people and cultures, to share experiences and create new ones.
Q: Where is your favourite part of the world?
A: There is not a favourite part of the world, for me, as all places have something special and offer plenty of reasons to go back another time, to discover more.
Q: What has been your biggest travel highlight?
A: My favourite moment was seeing a pack of wolves howling at the moon.
Q: What’s the craziest request you’ve ever had from a client?
A: Could we go and see Pinocchio's tomb? My answer was “Sorry sir, but Pinocchio was made of wood, so he was cremated”.
Q: What’s the one thing you couldn’t travel without?
A: My sense of humour.
Q: Which famous person would you most like to travel with?
A: Dead or alive? If dead, I'd go for Bruce Chatwin or Marco Polo, two travellers curious about the world. If alive, I think I'd choose Bill Bryson, because it would be a lot of fun.
Q: Have you ever made a cultural faux pas?
A: A few times. But a smile and an apology has always got me through.