Lydia Lucente

Lydia Lucente

The Cicci Bella Story

Growing up in a first generation Italian family, both of my parents spoke the language but only when they did not want myself and four siblings to understand what they were saying. My father’s first language was Italian. He was raised in a household with his Nonno and Nonna in Staten Island, New York and did not speak a word of English until he attended grade school. My mother also spoke only Italian at home.

My parents' dream for their children was that we be “Americanized” so they did not teach us the language. Every Sunday we would go to my Nonna’s house and there were two tables, the adult table speaking Italian and the “kids” table speaking English.

As my parents aged, they really felt they had made a mistake in not teaching us to speak Italian. 

Hence…when my youngest child attended college, my number one goal was to immerse myself in the Italian language and culture. My children encouraged me to sign up for an introductory course at the community college because they knew this was "Number 1" on my bucket list. I studied and traveled for several years with my best friend, Batina to really gain an understanding of the language, the people, the culture and the history.

I had always envisioned that this would be something that I would love to do as an “empty nester”. I communicated my love of Italy to so many and heard time and time again, "I would love to go there but don’t feel comfortable not knowing the language or culture or even know where to start!” From these conversations, I gained a vision of what I would love doing - Cicci Bella Tours! I really enjoy doing this in a small group setting. Whether traveling with a group of ladies, men, couples or families, I am so excited to share this wonderful country with all of you! So many people have dreams of traveling to Italy and Europe but do not always have someone to travel with or, as many of the travelers I spoke with, were not as interested in the big bus tours a lot of people, a tight schedule and never really being immersed with the Italian people and culture. 

So, here I am! All of my family and dearest friends have watched, encouraged and helped to make this dream come true. I have the love of the language and a passion for the country, the culture and everything that Italy has to offer!