Today’s the day! I’m officially leaving for Italy!! After a long night of last-minute packing and searching for an elusive camera battery, I’ve got my suitcase ready, 8 Italian/traveling apps downloaded onto my iPod, expandable pants galore, and I’m taking the red eye into Rome to get in just after 6 in the morning. I’m staying in Rome for 3 nights (hitting up a few spas while I’m there) before heading north on Monday for the main part of my trip at Antico Casale di Scansano Spa Resort in Tuscany (pictured above). If you missed it, read the blog post about the trip HERE. I’ll be blogging, Facebooking and tweeting it all from @SPAWEEK and @michellejoni; follow both for the full story!

Something you should know about me: even more than finding solitude and relaxation, my absolute favorite thing about traveling is being able to share. Sharing insider info, funny situations, photos, interesting people, blonde moments… and also sharing souvenirs. So, since blog posts, tweets and videos alone won’t bring Tuscan Extra Virgin Olive Oil to your kitchen table this Fall, here’s what I’m going to do to take you along with me as much as possible:

Throughout my 12 days in Rome and Tuscany and wherever else I end up, I will be collecting souvenirs for YOU. What they will be is yet to be determined, of course, but Italian spa products, fresh olive oil from the Tuscan Maremma and cute Roman keepsakes are sure to be included. (No cheesy Leaning Tower of Pisa statuettes… sorry.)

Here’s what I’ve got so far!

Eye cream from Wonderfool – it’s one of the best products of their signature line, and is great for both men and women. Sorry it got a little crinkled in my luggage.

When my first Italian “date” took me for cappuccino, he got me one of these Bacetti chocolatey nougats and told me they’re the best in Italy. So I went to the market and got you a whole bag:

Each one of these notebooks has pages in a different material, as indicated in Italian on the front of each book. It’s a very Italian brand.

This little box of dark chocolates was too adorable to pass up.

Erik Banti is a wicked cool man. He not only runs one of the most successful wine businesses in Tuscany, he’s a National Geographic photographer and a golf champ. And that’s not a sticker… it’s something that turns into a spout for any bottle of wine!

Also made by Erik Banti… one of the spa scrubs used at Antico Casale di Scansano. There are whole grape chunks in there that would have otherwise ended up as wine in a glass on the dinner table. It’s approximately $75 and smells just like a delicious wine cellar.

Fresh pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil from the village of Pitigliano in Maremma, Tuscany.

From Antico Casale di Scansano, there’s this nice, soft green running towel.

One of my new favorite pastas: Maccheroni

Plus, I’ve grabbed some Italian champagne and a candy bar from the Antico Casale mini fridge, some delicious, locally baked cookies from my place in Pitigliano, and a couple Saturnia product samples from Terme di Saturnia Resort & Spa

Click the Spa-rrividerci Tag for all the WIN ITALIA blog posts and questions.

TO ENTER

All you have to do is follow and keep in touch during my trip. I will be blogging just about every day, tweeting and Facebooking all the time, all the while letting you know which souvenirs I’ve picked up for giveaway. At the end of each blog post, I’ll ask some sort of fun question. If you comment, Tweet me back or comment on the Facebook threads about that or anything along the way, you’re automatically entered to be the recipient of the Italia-filled luggage.

THE PRIZE

When I get home on November 16th, after I recover from my jet lag, I’m going to pack all the Italian keepsakes into an exact clone of the carry on I’m using for my trip, and send it to one of you. (11/17 UPDATE: Still have a few more blog posts to do… we’re extending the giveaway until all the Italy posts are up!) The bag itself is a stunner– this fantastic LUG bag in orange (my favorite of the colors). It has a million compartments, including one made for your laptop, one to keep your toiletries isolated in case of spillage… oh how I love compartments! There was so much notable thought put into the making of this piece of luggage. Not to mention the classy ISPA logo on the front and the chic embroidered Spa Week hang tag!

And… IT STARTS NOW!

Tell me – what’s the best souvenir you’ve ever gotten?

Next stop… Rome.

Spa-rrividerci!

Images courtesy of desktopnature, florencefoodie and the best spa resort in Tuscany!

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