Business Spotlight: Nada’s Italy brings travel, culture to Pineapple Grove

Antonio Falvella teaches an Italian language survival class for travelers at Nada’s Italy. From left are Alan Levy, Joanne Weingarden, and Jeff and Kim Jolicoeur. Tim Stepien/The Coastal Star

By Lucy Lazarony

Not everyone has the time or money to fly to Italy.
But anyone can tap into the culture with a visit to Nada’s Italy in Delray Beach. And when people do want to experience the real deal — a country known for its contributions to the worlds of art, architecture, food, fashion, opera, literature, design and film — Nada’s Italy can help with that as well.
Nada Vergili owns Nada’s Italy, a travel and tour company in Pineapple Grove, and whether leading a tour or a class, she loves sharing the very best of her home country.
On Saturdays, starting at 4 p.m., her company provides free classes, each with something different about Italy. For example, this month’s classes include language (Jan. 11 for intermediate and advanced speakers of Italian and a Jan. 25 survival guide for travelers) and a presentation on Naples and the Amalfi Coast (Jan. 18).
“One of the best parts of my job is sharing Italy with the rest of the world. My home is one of my passions and it is a pleasure to share this beautiful country with so many people looking to experience la dolce vita,” says Vergili, 42, who was born and raised in Florence, capital of the Tuscany region. She moved to the United States when she was 22.
Vergili designs her tours to provide authentic travel experiences.
“We have small groups — never more than 12 — and we move around in executive Mercedes vans with a private driver, not the big-bus style of mass tourist transit,” she says. “We work mostly with small, boutique hotels. Some only have seven or eight rooms, but they’re luxury. You could be in a medieval castle. You could be staying in a Renaissance villa in the countryside. You could be staying at a family-run boutique hotel in the Amalfi Coast, overlooking the sea. Our excursions are authentic Italian experiences. We provide a view of Italy the way it is supposed to be seen.”
What is the best part of a tour with Nada’s Italy?
“Many would say the food but, more than anything individuals absolutely love the experiences,” Vergili says. “The tours we provide throughout the days and evenings are led by an amazing group of English-speaking Italian guides. One word that is found within our reviews time and time again to describe our tours is ‘magical.’”
When and why did Nada’s Italy move to Pineapple Grove in Delray Beach?
“In 2012, a road trip down the East Coast with a friend, after her marriage ended, brought me to Delray Beach. Both my friend and I fell in love. The vibe of Delray is eclectic. I thought this is going to be my new home, immediately. It took a few years of house hunting and visiting as a tourist, but I purchased a home in Lake Ida three years ago and subsequently the office in Delray was a must-have,” Vergili says.
“Our most popular tours are: Jewels of the Amalfi Coast, Italian Treasures, and Northern Delights. Some of our more seasoned travelers love Flavors of Verona and Lake Garda, as well as our Tuscan Villages and Cinque Terre tour,” Vergili says.
Nada’s Italy is at 119 NE Second Ave. It has a second location in Charlotte, North Carolina. Call 877-959-8365 or visit

Sometimes it’s nice to be home for the holidays. Sometimes it’s nicer to get away, especially for people who’d like to experience sun, warmth and beach rather than clouds, cold and snow.
As usual, the Boca Raton Resort & Club was fully aware that guests would be arriving and was all decked out for the holidays. It ranked No. 3 among the 10 best hotels for the holidays in USA Today’s  Reader’s Choice awards, which polled travel experts, editors and readers from around the world.

How do South County cities stack up against other cities in America where populations and job opportunities are rising rapidly? The personal finance website SmartAsset, in a study of boom towns, has some answers.
SmartAsset looked at data for 500 of the largest cities across seven metrics: population change, unemployment rate, change in unemployment rate, GDP growth rate, business growth, housing growth and change in household income.
It listed the top 50. Boca Raton was rated No. 20, and Boynton Beach placed No. 47.
Delray Beach was unranked.
For Boca Raton, over five years, its population increased 8.67%. Its average yearly gross domestic product grew 3.39%. Over five years, its number of establishments grew 10.32%. And it had a 19.42% five-year housing growth rate.
For Boynton Beach, over five years, its population grew 6.72%. Its average yearly GDP grew 3.39%. The number of its establishments grew 10.32%, and its housing market grew 4.34% over five years.

See full report:

The Lantana Kmart at 1201 S. Dixie Highway will be closing by February, according to TransformCo, the company that purchased the assets of Sears Holdings Corporation (including Kmart stores) last February. Shoppers will notice “Going Out of Business” signs on the doors.
With the rise and convenience of online retail, big-box stores like Kmart are scaling back their brick-and-mortar operations because they are not finding the same type of economic vitality experienced in the past.
In September, the Lantana Town Council approved a change to its comprehensive land-use plan that could pave the way to replace the shopping center anchored by Kmart at the northwest corner of Hypoluxo Road and South Dixie Highway with apartments.

Webber International University in Babson Park elected entrepreneur and real estate developer Harold “Sonny” Van Arnem to its board of trustees at its annual board meeting in October.  Van Arnem, an Ocean Ridge resident who has founded and owned a number of businesses, is chairman of Van Arnem Properties, a real estate development firm at 265 NE Fifth Ave., Delray Beach.

Shannon Duff has joined Oxbridge Academy as associate director of academic advising, student services and college counseling. Duff earned a BA in history at Yale and an MBA from the Yale School of Management. She worked as an analyst and, later, as an associate at Lehman Brothers in New York.
Oxbridge named Tyler Grimes as distinguished visiting artist in musical theater for the school year. Grimes is the managing director of the Lovewell Institute for the Creative Arts in Fort Lauderdale, which conducts musical theater workshops internationally.

Catherine Strader, assistant vice president of sales and service manager at Legacy Bank of Florida, 50 NE Fifth Ave., Delray Beach, and vice chairman of the Boynton Beach Professionals leads group, won the monthly Boynton Beach Professionals’ recognition award for November. For information on the leads group, email 

Real estate agent Deborah Bacarella earned the Commitment to Excellence endorsement from the National Association of Realtors, in recognition of her knowledge and competency in her real estate practice. Bacarella is an agent with RE/MAX Advantage Plus, 900 E. Atlantic Ave., Suite 10, Delray Beach.

The Boca Chamber says a Diamond is a dedicated, inspiring, accomplished, motivated, outstanding, noble and driven businesswoman, and each year, it selects a deserving recipient for its Diamond Award. In December, the Chamber chose Clara E. Bennett, executive director of the Boca Raton Airport Authority, as its 2020 Diamond Award recipient.
Bennett leads a team of aviation professionals in the business, operations, marketing and development of the Boca Raton Airport.
In addition to her 28 years as an airport executive, she maintains several professional affiliations, which include twice serving as chair of the Florida Airports Council. She is also a member of the board of directors of the National Air Transportation Association.
Rhea Jain, creator of her clothing line, Renoosh, received the Pearl Award, which is given to a young woman who has graduated from the Boca Chamber’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy program. The award recognizes her leadership abilities.
Bennett and Jain will be recognized Feb. 21 at the Chamber’s annual Diamond Awards luncheon at the Boca Raton Resort & Club. 

Amy Snook, a partner in the All About Florida Homes team of Lang Realty, Delray Beach, was inducted into the Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches and Greater Fort Lauderdale’s Honor Society, during the Realtor Revolution Conference and annual meeting at the Palm Beach County Convention Center. 
“We are very fortunate to know highly involved, passionate, and dynamic members such as Ms. Snook,” said Jessica Lowe, vice president of programs for the association. “We are beyond thankful for her contribution to our association and participation in events, volunteerism, education, conferences and governance, global and commercial alliances.”  

The Institute for Regional Conservation, a nonprofit dedicated to the protection, restoration, and long-term management of biological diversity, celebrated its 35th anniversary with events to share its story and the importance of its work in Delray Beach and Miami. Sponsors in the Delray area were John Campanola, agent for New York Life, BCoSF Media, attorney Erin Deady, Central Park Taekwondo, mental health counselor Martin Nathan and Valentina’s Pizza and Pasta. 

Erin Deady, a Delray Beach resident who operates a law practice and consulting firm, for the sixth time participated in an AIDS/HIV bicycle ride from Miami to Key West.
The ride raised more than $1.36 million, with proceeds to benefit South Florida charities such as Broward House, Children’s Diagnostic & Treatment Center, Metro Inclusive Health, Pridelines, AIDS Help, Miracle of Love, and Compass Community Center.

Real estate investor Sharon Restrepo will speak about how you can increase profits with less stress while renovating at the Boca Real Estate Investment Club’s monthly meeting, set for Jan. 9 at the Double Tree Deerfield Beach, 100 Fairway Drive. Cost is $20. For more information, call 561-391-7325.

Christine Davis Mary Thurwachter contributed to this column.

Send business news to Christine Davis at

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