Profile photo for Ottavia Mapelli
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active 6 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."

Ottavia is part of the following groups: Italy Travel Agents
San Nicolo and Portixeddu Beaches, Sardinia
Self-Guided Sardinia Coastal Walking Tour – 8 Days

This eight-day walking tour takes you to Sardinia's Costa Verde, the Green Coast, which is known for its amazing views, wild deer, watchtowers, and sparkling waters. You'll visit a UNESCO geopark at Montevecchio, then walk through the dunes of Piscinas, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Next, you'll explore beaches and granite cliffs before heading to two coastal islands to discover traditional fishing towns and popular resort areas.

Vineyards near Barolo, Piedmont.
A Wine-Lover’s Walking Tour: Piedmont & Tuscany - 8 Days

This 8-day itinerary takes you on a gastronomic adventure through two of Italy’s most spectacular landscapes and cuisines. Starting in the Piedmont hill town of La Morra, you’ll work your way south to Tuscany, ending in the medieval city of Montalcino. In between, you’ll explore picturesque villages, sample local dishes, and visit historic wineries. 

Bikes on the coast of Apulia
Apulia by Bike: Matera, Alberobello, Monopoli, Ostuni, Gallipoli, & Lecce - 12 Days

Active travelers will get a full dose of sea and countryside views as they bike their way through southern Italy. Begin in the prehistoric town of Matera, then pick up your bike and ride to the whimsical settlement of Alberobello with its conical trulli houses. Sample local wines and culinary delights in Cisternino, then soak up some sun in charming beach towns on the Adriatic like Monopoli, Gallipoli, and Polignano a Mare. End your trip with excursions to spectacular grottos, and stroll past Baroque architecture and Roman ruins in Ostuni, Otranto, and Lecce.

Montepulciano
Cycling and Food Tour of Tuscany: Alba, Asti, Pienza, & Montepulciano - 8 Days

Some of the best wines and food in the world will fuel you on this 8-day cycling adventure through rolling hills and quaint villages in Tuscany. Begin your active trip with a truffle workshop in Alba before cycling through Piedmont and on to Tuscany. Along the way, you'll wander through medieval villages of golden sandstone and limestone, dine in Michelin-starred restaurants, sample world-class wines and cheeses, and learn how to make pasta.

A walking path through the Tuscan countryside
Hiking Through Tuscany: Florence, Chianti, & Siena - 8 days

Active travelers who value independence and flexibility will appreciate this self-guided tour through the Tuscan countryside. Opt for a leisurely pace, or more involved hikes, as you first see the masterworks of Florence—the birthplace of the Renaissance—and then make your way to Chianti. You won't want to miss tasting some of the region's famous vintages, with Cypress tree views all around you. End your journey with an exploration of the preserved medieval city of Siena for a trip back in time.

Mountain roads in the Dolomites
Cycling Tour of the Dolomites - 8 Days

Perfect for active travelers looking to enjoy one of Italy's most picturesque regions, this cycling trip will take you along snowy peaks and tranquil lakes in the Dolomite Mountains. Begin and end your trip with a bit of relaxation in the charming town of Pian dei Pradi before beginning your adventure through this lush region's hills, valleys, vineyards, farms, and quaint villages. Along your loop, you'll have time to sample authentic cuisine, soak in thermal baths, explore a nature preserve, and sip wine by the lake.

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