Trafalgar Travel Director Giacomo Giamboi was a lawyer born in Sicily but he decided to work as a sous chef in Amsterdam.
There, he opened a clothing store chain before setting up his dream restaurant. Back in his native Italy, he served as a sous chef once more, moved on to be a private chef in a yacht until the travel bug bit him for good.
For a couple of years, he worked as a guide for an Australian boutique travel firm, “Living Italy” before joining Trafalgar Travel in 2008.
In the last 7 years, he’s been a big hit with Trafalgar guests. ”He’s patient, always ready to help. His warmth, knowledge and passion for Italy kept him on top of his game,” his clients noted.
No wonder, Giacomo has risen to become one of the “most highly valued travel individuals” in the 65-year old guided vacation firm which serves 230 destinations,1,118 Insider Experiences, mostly in Europe.
Today, Giacomo is the face of Trafalgar’s YouTube series of travel journeys throughout the italy.
Of course, the Trafalgar Travel Director still enjoys spending time in the kitchen and being with his two children when he’s not on the road.
And because he’s a chef, guests often ask for his advice when choosing culinary delights and fine wines, including where to buy the best “limoncello” – the Italian liqueur made from macerated lemon skin.
Often, he improvises and organizes extras, like when a male client suddenly decided to propose to his sweetheart in Venice. Giacomo arranged for a gondola in a romantic but remote part of La Serenissima.
Trafalgar actually built a network of “real insiders” – local characters, from chefs like Giacomo, to artisans and historians, from professors to archeologists, farmers to taxi drivers, who share their knowledge with guests to immerse them in the culture of the places they visit.
“You’ll eat pasta and home-cooked meals with local people in their own homes, drink limoncello they have made themselves and listen to their stories. They’ll help you understand your destination in ways you’ve never imagined.”
Because Trafalgar has special arrangements with major attractions, guests enjoy VIP treatment. They avoid queues, benefit from luggage porterage right to their rooms and stay in carefully selected accommodations.
Always, it’s a pleasure to give something more, Giacomo acknowledged. For instance, “We have special arrangements to take our guests inside the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican City half an hour before it opens to the public.”
Only then can visitors behold the true magnificence of the wall frescoes of Michelangelo, the Renaissance artist considered to be one of the greatest of all time, while the place is silent and empty, before hordes of tourists and their deafening chatter engulf it.
And Giacomo takes pains to show his guests all of Italy’s hidden gems.
In Rome, he leads them to a seldom-visited church, San Pietro in Vincoli (Saint Peter in Chains), where dwells Michelangelo’s marble sculpture of Moses, with horns on his head.
The greatest Renaissance Pope, Julius II, commissioned Michelangelo to build his tomb and for him, the artist sculpted a seated, horned Moses, showing the inhuman, demonic aspect of the prophet to whom God gave His ten commandments.
In the Roman Colosseum, the largest amphitheater of the ancient empire, Giacomo enrolls the children of his guests to the gladiators’ school so they will have a grasp of how gladiators were trained to fight men and beasts for bounty.
On the other hand, in Naples, he takes kids to a restaurant where they make their own pizza.
And in Assisi, Umbria, he escorts guests to a night tour of the church-within-the church in the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli (Saint Mary of the Angels).
The 15th century basilica encloses a 9th century little church, the “Porziuncola”, where the young Francis of Assisi renounced the world to live among the poor. It was the most sacred place for the Franciscan Order.
“Many of my guests become so moved by the sight of it, they weep,” Giacomo recounted.