Garden trip: Bella Italia

Bella Italia means beautiful Italy

You know how much I loved Italy when we went on a pilgrimage to Assisi and Rome last March. Well, now it’s your turn to take a garden trip to Italy and see the sights.

A stairway garden in Assisi.
A stairway herb garden in Assisi.
A garden trip you’ll never forget.

A few days ago, I sat down with my friend Julia Laughlin, co-host of the Garden Party on KTOK, horticulturist, and gardener extraordinaire, to chat about her garden trip to Italy in 2018. The trip is from Wednesday, May 30, 2018, to Sunday, June 10, 2018.  

Ah, late spring in Italy visiting gardens. Could life be any better?

A courtyard in Civita di Bagnoregio, the disappearing city on the hill.
A courtyard in Civita di Bagnoregio, the disappearing city on the hill.

I don’t think so.

Bill and I traveled with Julia to England–remember the Chelsea Flower Show and London, Wisley and Sissinghurst? Those wonderful locations were just part of our England itinerary. I can honestly say I would jump at the chance to go with Julia to Italy, and this is the garden trip of a lifetime. Julia’s co-leader is another great friend, Linda Horn, Director of Marketing and Community Relations for Total Environment, Inc.

Passionate about gardening? Italy is full of passion, gardening too.
The gorgeous Italian countryside in March. It will be even more beautiful in June.
The gorgeous Italian countryside in March. It will be even more beautiful in June.

These two women are expert horticulturists, who bring a real passion to gardening. There’s no more passionate place that Italy so I know you’ll be in good hands. Julia has traveled to Italy before, and she custom designed this trip to see as many gorgeous gardens as possible. The tour starts in Venice, moves on to Lake Como, Florence, Rome, Sorrento, Pompeii and finally, the Isle of Capri.

The Swiss Guard don't really like to have their picture taken so I had to be surreptitious.
At the Vatican, the Swiss Guard don’t really like to have their picture taken so I had to be surreptitious and shoot from the hip.

I don’t have any photos of the gardens you will visit, so I’m using my photos of the Italian countryside and Rome. Hope you don’t mind. Click on gallery photos to make them larger.

Here is the travel itinerary, and below is the map. The tour is through Go Ahead tours, the grown up version of EF Tours, the college tour company. Therefore, all hotels and other accommodations are upgraded for adults. Presently, the trip cost is $5399 with an Oklahoma City departure and two persons per room. If you would like to have a private room there is a $400 supplemental cost. If you wish to make your own flight arrangements the cost will be $1700 less.

From Julia’s handout: “Note that if you enroll you will be locked into the price the website quotes you, but your cost could (and will likely) go down as we enroll more travelers. Your price goes down as we reach enrollment plateaus. I just like to start at the top price and then there are only good surprises! That is to say, your fee cannot go up but will more than likely be discounted by as much as $300 or more as we fill the trip.”

Map for Julia Laughlin trip to Italy.
Map for Julia Laughlin trip to Italy.


Although this is a garden tour, it isn’t all gardens. Italy is known for its fantastic food, and you’ll have wonderful lunches and dinners throughout the northern and southern regions. This is my daughter, Claire’s, video of our visit to Italy. It shows our trip and some of the food you can enjoy. It also shows a lot of the Vatican including the museums and St. Peter’s Basilica which will be part of your trip too.

“Horticulture and the natural world, in general, are like music,” said Julia, “When you think you’ve learned everything you can about it, you can always learn more. It just goes on and on and on.”

I couldn’t have said it better. If you have questions or want clarification, you can email Julia at or

Traveling is the best way to learn more about the world and yourself. I hope you go.

One more thing, I received no compensation for this post. I just think it would be a great trip, and Julia is a good friend.


  1. Denise Whitehead says:

    Talking to a friend about going with me… I’m excited just thinking about it!

  2. Thanks for the memories of parts of Italy I remember visiting when I was 7 and again 8 years old. The countryside gives me a smile on a rather tough day.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      You’re so welcome David. Thank you for commenting. People don’t so much anymore. 😀

  3. Sounds like fun to me.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Lisa, I think it will be. They are covering a lot of ground in a short amount of time.

  4. What a dream of mine but sadly I cannot make these dates as we have a major family graduation that weekend you leave…darn it. Well I will look forward to seeing your posts about it next year…..and I will have to go another time.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Hi Donna, I have a conflict also so I’m not able to go. If only I could. 😀

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