Citalia’s Italian Heritage: 95 Years of History

Holidays to Italy are what Citalia is known for. Our 95 years of history and a long line of Italian heritage have put us at the forefront as the true Italian experts.  

From our beginnings on the railway lines to where we are today, here is a glimpse into Citalia’s Italian heritage, a shining star of Italy holiday excellence. 

Where it all began 

We don’t call ourselves the Italian experts for nothing. Did you know that what you now know as Citalia began 95 years ago in 1929? Previously known as Compagnia Italiana Turismo (CIT), Citalia was originally founded by the Italian State Railway.  

The aim of the company was to provide Italians living in the UK with a way to enjoy holidays by train when travelling back home. No surprises here, we still offer some sensational train holidays in Italy.  

Once air travel became more accessible, CIT opened its doors across Europe, Australia, and America. In the 1980s, CIT England rebranded as Citalia and began offering charter flights to must-see Italian destinations. Personalised service has always been our shining star.  

Train travel remained one of our top priorities as we introduced the ‘Napoli Express’. This offered a way to travel from London Victoria to Rome and then onto Naples. Citalia representatives travelled on each journey, ensuring that the true Italian service was felt from the moment travellers got onboard.  
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Three names come about a lot in the Italian travel industry: Luciano Rocca, Massimo Sabattini and Stefano Della Pietra. All three iconic Managing Directors helped build Citalia into what it is, ensuring the world can enjoy the very best of Italy.  

Today, Citalia is all about what it means to be an Italian, harnessing the heritage of our company and sharing authentic Italy with visitors from the UK. Something that has helped us remain the true Italian experts for more than 90 years.  

At the heart of Italian life, relationships are a big part of Citalia. Our long-standing partnerships have kept us the UK’s leading Italy travel specialists. You may even hear a few of our partners call us CIT, a nod to where we’ve come from.
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In the late 90s, Citalia became a public company with shareholders when it was sold to Italian industrialists, the Gandolfi family from Varese. Then in 2001, the company was sold to First Choice Group which later merged with Thompson, to be part of TUI UK. Citalia relocated to Origin One in Crawley, where you can still find us hard at work to bring authentic Italy to our many customers, living up to our Travel with Confidence commitment to each customer.  

As part of the amazing collection of other travel brands known as Travelopia, Citalia remains the Italy expert.  

Our Italian heritage 

We are lucky enough to have a fantastic team of Italian experts, not just because they know the ins and outs, but because they have lived and breathed Italy. Getting to know some of the untouched gems by heart allows us to recommend the very best Italy has to offer, even the little places.  

For example, our very own Romina Locci has worked for Citalia for over ten years. Born in Sardinia, she knows Liguria, the Amalfi Coast, and Sardinia like the back of her hand. The enchanting landscape is something that stays with a person long after they leave, something which Romina knows all about. As one of our Italy experts, Romina Locci is on hand to give you the best places to see and things to do across Italy.  

Stefano Nirta is another Italian-born member of our team and is the Regional Destination Manager of Citalia. He has worked here for 13 years and grew up in Rome. As a leading Italian expert, Stefano knows pretty much everything there is to know about Italy and more. His insights and love of Italy are what help us remain the leading Italian experts.
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The Head of Italy Product, Heather Green, has been with us for more than 20 years. You’ll be hard-pressed to find someone more passionate about Italy, something which grew after living there herself. Heather knows Italy better than most, she’s seen and done it all. Her passion and excitement for all Italy has to offer is a true testament to why Citalia is the Italian expert.  

Another member of our brilliant sales team, Antonia Coppolella, is another Italian descendant with family in Puglia. A true lover of all things Italy, her favourite memory is sitting around her aunt's home, eating local bread dipped in olive oil and savouring the sensational homemade wine. Antonia is passionate about the Amalfi Coast, Umbria, and Tuscany, and knows the hidden gems that turn Italian holidays into unforgettable memories.
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Citalia is the Italy expert because of the passionate people who know what it means to be an Italian and the incredible holidays Italy has to offer. Our aim is for everyone to experience the real authentic Italy. Our range of holidays, excursions, and activities are all based on providing the very best of Italy in a way that harnesses authentic Italy.  

Italian heritage is an important part of what we do. If you’re looking to celebrate Italy, January 7th is National Flag Day, also known as Festa del Tricolore (Tricolour Day). While not a public holiday in Italy, there are events that take place across the country to celebrate national pride and what the flag represents.  

The largest celebration takes place in Reggio Emilia within the Emilia Romagna region. Foodies, if you do make your way here, be ready for an all-out feast, the region is known for its incredible cuisine, Michelin Star restaurants included. Citalia’s Gastronomic Highlights of Emilia Romagna Small Group Escorted Tour ensures you won’t miss a thing.
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Your plans, our expertise

Start planning your Citalia holiday by getting in touch with one of our Personal Travel Planners.

Lines open: Monday to Saturday 09:00 to 17:30 (Wednesdays from 9:30), Bank Holidays 10:00 to 16:00.

Are you ready to discover the real Italy?

Citalia have over 95 years’ experience in tailoring authentic Italy holidays. Our Italy Experts are on hand every step of the way to help you create a memorable holiday to Italy, all you’ve got to do is call!

Suggested Destinations & Trips

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What our customers think

We have been helping our customers discover the real Italy for 95 years now. Our experience and expertise, together with our attention to detail and personal touch, really does make us the leading Italian holiday specialist.

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