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active 2 days ago

Ottavia Mapelli

I was born in a sleepy town on the shores of Lake Como, a corner of the countryside great for growing up but not for expanding the mind. Mine has always been somewhere else and my lifelong passion for the United States led me to graduate in American studies.

I immediately fell in love with adventure travel, and as soon as I started working in this field I realized it was the kind of job I had always looked for without even knowing it existed. In S-Cape Travel, the tour operator I work for, I do a little bit of everything: I mainly deal with groups, help with product development and take care of "tailor-made" trips - probably the thing I like the most. In the trips, I plan I always try to shape itinerary, experiences, and excursions based on each traveler's needs, desires and passions.

Something I always include? The foodie factor, of course - quite essential in Italy. But also unexpected, genuine experiences and some interactions with the locals - the best way to get in contact with the "soul of a place" as we say in Italian.

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"We specialize in any kind of active travel throughout Italy: from the most strenuously active trips to mostly cultural ones, with just some light walking. Tuscany, the Dolomites, Puglia, Amalfi Coast, the Cinque Terre are just some of the destinations we work with. We are the Italian experts for Via Francigena, the "Camino to Rome", taking walkers from the Alps of Aosta Valley to Rome passing through an ever-changing landscapes, art cities and traces of ancient civilizations - I walked it all myself, to check the itinerary and make sure our documentation was properly updated. Last but not least - I love planning themed tailor made trips in any part of Italy - here the "local" factor plays a big role and I love including unique, memorable experiences. "

How did you get involved in travel?

"I have always known that I wanted to travel. At the tender age of 4 I would speak a non-existent language, explaining to my baffled parents that I was actually speaking English. Right after my graduation, my idea of taking a year off to travel the word was postponed to chase another challenge: founding a Tour Operator that would only offer active trips. Two years later I moved to Florence, where my personal adventure continues: I work for S-Cape Travel, planning and experiencing adventure travel in every possible sense - from wild camping in Jordan to wandering Sicily and chasing every single Easter procession Sicilian towns can offer. "

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"A trip I will never forget? Hiking in the National Parks of Oregon and Washington, following the Solar Eclipse of 2017, and biking 2000 km through Italy, from Milan to the Southernmost tip of Italy: the experience that made me realize that adventure travel was really my calling.

Future trips I’m dreaming of are in the Northern Countries: Iceland, a land of ice and fire, and Norway, following the steps of the Saint King Olav along the itinerary that connects Oslo to the old capital Trondheim."

Featured trips & expertise

Palazzo Corvaja in Taormina
Best of Sicily: Palermo, Taormina, Catania - 12 Days

A favorite with bikers and hikers, Sicily's hilly landscapes are also perfect for travelers who want big views, diverse cultures, and sunny weather. Explore all this and more on this packed 12-day itinerary, which starts in the food capital of Palermo. Tour medieval churches and relax on sunny beaches, then head to Taormina to dive into the arts and theater scene. Explore Mount Etna and the local winemaking culture, then end your trip in Catania, where churches, street food, and views of the Ionian Sea create the perfect Mediterranean atmosphere. 

Manarola is one of Cinque Terre's five colorful villages
How Many Days Should You Spend in Italy?

Italy has 20 regions, each with its own identity. Landscapes, cuisine, and dialect differ greatly from one to the next, and each merits its own visit. If your time is limited, you’ll be able to see Italy’s highlights in a matter of days—but spending two weeks or more means you'll get to explore multiple regions and fall in love with the authentic Italy.

Casale Marittimo village vineyards in Tuscany
Riding the Eroica Among Famous Vineyards in Tuscany - 7 Days

Get ready, cyclists: this one's for you! The Eroica is a world-renowned vintage bike race, held annually in the hilly, vineyard-dotted region of Chianti in Tuscany. Follow the route of this legendary race, experiencing the Strade Bianche (unpaved white roads) that take you through the heart of this magnificent countryside.

The ruins of Taormina at sunset
Road Trip Around the Scenic Sicilian Coast - 15 Days

An island as beautiful and historically rich as Sicily deserves to be experienced at a leisurely pace. This 15-day itinerary features beaches and cathedrals, fishing villages and urban markets, a volcano and ancient archeological sites. Take your time as you circumnavigate this stunning region of Italy.

Sicily's east coast is a colorful and vibrant region.
Discover Sicily's East Coast: Picturesque and Stunning Sicily - 8 Days

Many of Sicily's highlights — volcanoes, ancient ruins, beautiful beaches and great cuisine — are found along the region's east coast. This 8-day tour will guide you through these stunning coastal towns at a comfortable pace and set you up at comfortable boutique hotels each night. You'll visit the natural wonders of Mt. Etna and Ciclopi Riviera, as well as enjoy some of the more refined aspects of Sicily, such as its great wine!

Sunset view from the island of Alba
Adventures in Southern Italy - 7 Days

Visit the island of Capri, the remains of Pompeii, and charming Naples on this active and culinary trip. Experience a landscape that varies from Mediterranean macchia (shrub) to cultivated terraces of citrus and olives, sampling fresh seafood, mozzarella, and pasta along the way.

Recent trip reviews for Ottavia

Cortona adventure, Italy - May 21 - May 25, 2019

Traveler: Dan C. - Local specialist: Ottavia Mapelli

The more i absorb the beautiful vacation i just completed i have come to realize the fantastic job done by Ottavia and the kimkim organization. The rides that Ottavia designed were exactly what i had in mind. It's as though we had ridden them together beforehand. Sweeping vistas through vineyards and olive groves, challenging terrain ( for sure ) and great weather provided a side of Italy i was imagining . The lodging at Pieve a Salti was comfortable, the entire staff gracious, the food... read more

The more i absorb the beautiful vacation i just completed i have come to realize the fantastic job done by Ottavia and the kimkim organization. The rides that Ottavia designed were exactly what i had in mind. It's as though we had ridden them together beforehand. Sweeping vistas through vineyards and olive groves, challenging terrain ( for sure ) and great weather provided a side of Italy i was imagining . The lodging at Pieve a Salti was comfortable, the entire staff gracious, the food excellent, and the massage by Fabrizza at the beauty farm was one to remember.

The self guided bike directions were 95 percent spot on and the few missed turns turned into small alternate adventures . The bicycle was well adjusted and experienced no issues.

Certainly i will recommend kimkim to all who ask about my journey. Thank you for the great trip.

Dan