About Donna Franca

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In Loving Memory.

Donna Franca Franzaroli passed away on Jan, 08, 2020.

Franca Franzaroli was born and raised in Rome, Italy, and was baptized and married in St. Peter's Basilica. She received her teaching degree from the Magistero University in Rome. She was trained as a Montessori teacher, and taught third grade in an all-girls school before marrying and moving to Boston in 1955.

She entered the travel industry in1967 while raising her four children. She was the President and Owner of Donna Franca Tours, one of the leading tour operators specializing in custom designed vacations to Italy and Europe, working hand in hand with legacy carriers such as Alitalia, Air France, Delta, KLM, Lufthansa and Swiss International. Donna Franca strived to go above and beyond to assure her client's a seamless, carefree travel experience.

Franca Franzaroli was the proud owner of a Villa in Tuscany, where she had spent time in the summer with her family. Many of her clients, on their way to Florence or Siena, stopped at her villa for an outdoor country barbecue lunch and wine tasting with Chianti produced in her own vineyards.  She was a pioneer in the agriturismo rural movement.

In 1995, Donna Franca, inspired by the overwhelming appreciation of all her clients who contributed to her success, composed a poem I AM ITALY.  She is proud to share it with you:

I'm real, I'm alive
I'm happy, I'm Rome
I'm Florence and Venice
Pisa and Assisi
Taormina and Capri
I'm the Colosseum
I'm the David
I'm Valentino, Ferragamo and Gucci
I'm Ferrari
I'm the best cuisine in the world
I'm art, culture, nature
I'm a generous mother
My heart is 2,000 years old
I'm a friendly country
I bore such children as
Columbus and Pavarotti
Michelangelo and Rossini
Rudy Valentino
and Sophia Loren
I'm yesterday and today
I have the Mediterranean in my eyes
I don't know the cold
And I would like to tell you
I love you!
In 2016, Donna Franca published a book on her memoirs, "Pride and Perseverance: A Story of Love and Courage My Recipe for Success" which recounts her humble origins, the trials and tribulations of running a successful tour operation while raising 4 children, her life accomplishments and achievements.   Following each chapter, you will find a tasty recipe!  She translated her book into Italian and was planning on publishing her memoirs in Milan, Italy prior to her passing.  The English version is available on Amazon or through Barnes and Noble.

Donna Franca with Luciano Pavarotti

On December 27, 1985, the passenger terminals at Rome and Vienna airports experienced suicide grenade and gun attacks, killing sixteen (including five Americans) and injuring more than 100 civilians. American travelers were shocked by this terrorist attack and that fear was clearly evident in the dramatic drop in booking vacations to Italy.

In December of 1986 Donna Franca was invited by her long time good friend, the countess Maria Teresa Maschio, to a private party which took place in the Modena Opera House, where Luciano Pavarotti was celebrating an event representing his twenty years of association in the world classical music industry.

In the photo, Donna Franca is handing the great maestro a gift of an inscribed Paul Revere silver bowl. The inscription read: “To Luciano Pavarotti, the voice and soul of Italy”. Pavarotti then invited Donna Franca to meet that week with him and his family at his home in Modena. At that meeting Donna Franca asked him to do something special to appease American fears and promote future travel to Italy. Pavarotti then said “The Prime Minister Pertini asked me the same thing. However, I don’t want to get myself involved in politics, but I have a proposition for you. I will allow you to sponsor one of my deeply cherished recordings, “Alla Mia Citta’, by Luciano”  for you to give as a gift to your clients who will travel to Italy.”

I gladly accepted Luciano's proposition, and since then I am very pleased to offer this CD to all my direct clients who travel with Donna Franca Tours at least three times. I offer this as a token of appreciation because I believe that Luciano Pavarotti represents “The Voice and the Soul of Italy.” 

Donna Franca with Julia Child

In 1989 Donna Franca belonged to a gourmet association called ''Les  Amis D’Escoffier Society". Members would meet once a month in one of the deluxe hotels of Boston for a gourmet wine dinner.

In the photo, Donna Franca asked the celebrity chef Julia Child if she could have a picture taken with her. Julia was also a member of the association. Julia was a wine connoisseur, over and above being a great chef. This photo was taken at a dinner at the Ritz Carlton of Boston. On that particular day, I happened to be lucky enough to be seated next to Julia Child.   The great celebrity chef had shown a particular interest in one of the wines we were tasting together.  I distinctly recall that she scolded one of the waiters for trying to remove one of herr wine glasses too hastily from the table. She said "Young man. Don't take my  glass away. Fill it up again please!"


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