About Us

Ciao Tours

The Little-Known Greek Origin of Italy’s Famous Word, ‘Ciao’

One of the most well-known words associated with Italy, ‘ciao’, is an informal salutation often used for “hello” and “goodbye.” Did you know that although it’s associated with Italy, the word ciao has a Medieval Greek origin?

This famous greeting derives from the Venetian greeting s’ciàvo vostro (or s’ciàvo), meaning “(I am) your slave,” which people used to express respect at the time.

The Venetian word s’ciàvo vostro, or s’ciàvo, in turn, derives from the Medieval Latin word sclavus, which was merely a loanword from Medieval Greek Σκλάβος (skla.vos), which was used to indicate people of Slavic ethnicity. At the time, the majority of slaves were Slavic.

This greeting was eventually shortened to ciào, lost all its servile connotations, and came to be used as an informal salutation by speakers of all classes.

Northern Italian people adopted the Venetian ciào during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Later, the word (now spelled ciao) became common elsewhere in Italy, and it has since spread to many countries in Europe, along with other items of Italian culture.

History

History & Passion

In 1998, we launched Ciao Tours in Canada with a dream to provide unique, personalized, and independent Italian tours with local expertise. Ciao Tours was born thanks to an international friendship, and we have focused on providing our clients with the utmost care and attention, while respecting the traditions, cultures, people, and environments of the countries in which we live and work. We discovered an authentic and passionate way for our clients to experience a country and chose a niche in the market which the large tour companies were not meeting. (The age of following an umbrella with fifty people you didn’t know was coming to a well-deserved end).

We wanted clients to experience the small, family-run farms called Agriturismo, to learn from the local guides in Rome, Siena, Florence, and Venice, to enjoy a cooking lesson with an Italian family, and more. In short, we wanted to immerse our clients into the hospitality, culture, and beauty of our country—Italy!

Ciao Tours has grown to include a combination of international and local staff in Canada, Italy, and Greece, who combine their skills and cultural knowledge in a positive way. Our office is located in Calgary, AB Canada, and we have dedicated travel agents throughout North America. As a group of Canadians, Italians, and Greeks, Ciao Tours has vast talents in all areas of tourism and business, and we focus our various professional abilities on one common goal—ensuring that our clients’ customized Ciao Tours are their most memorable holidays!

Our Value

OUR COMPANY VALUES

  • Quality in everything we do
  • Honesty and trust
  • A healthy balance between work and family
  • A “can-do” attitude
  • Accountability for our actions
  • Meeting or exceeding our customers’ expectations
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Meet the Team

Meet the Faces of Ciao Tours

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CRISTINA MARKETING MANAGER (SIENA, ITALY)
I am part of Ciao Tours since 2012. I moved to Calgary in 2011 to follow my ex-husband, who is working for an Italian Oil & Gas Company, and we moved back to Italy in July 2015. I have two kids, Francesco who is 14 and Margherita, 11. I’m from the center of Italy (split between Umbria and Marche), as a student I attended the University in Venice (where I got my degree in languages German-English) and I have a Marketing and Communication background (I worked 8 years for an important Italian Publisher). I’m currently working as a primary school teacher. In Calgary I was part of the sales department and now I’m following all the communication and marketing for Ciao Tours, especially as a social media manager. I really love my country, social media and photography and working with Ciao Tours allows me to use all my passions at once!
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CLAUDIA SENIOR ITALIAN TOUR MANAGER (SIENA, ITALY)
I live in Siena, in the heart of Tuscany and I take care of Ciao’s clients first working on their itineraries, then following them while they are traveling from one destination to the other and thanks to them I am continuously learning something new about my country. I studied foreign languages at the University of Florence and taught English and Spanish to adults and teenagers, I dealt with organic food and cuisine while raising four children, then I met Ciao Tours and immediately fell in love with its philosophy. I’m proud to share my knowledge and passion with my clients and to help them to relax and enjoy their vacation and of course I’m completely satisfied when they leave Italy with an unforgettable memory and great photos.
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LAURA ITALIAN DIRECTOR (SIENA, ITALY)
Since the beginning, I have worked together with all our partners to offer a true experience to share with those who have chosen us, so that every tour, every occasion can be a mutual enrichment, an open look to discovery and that leaves us with good memories. I deeply believe Italy is unique with all its different traditions, because of the richness and humanity of its people; its century culture can surprise me first and all the people who are curious to live it. Looking for new goals I met Greece and I found out a Vacation in Greece makes us live longer! Let be pleasantly surprised by the “Greece therapy”: Here then, from the habits and schedules of the city, one soon arrives to conceive the day according to the so-called "Greek Time", without haste and without stress. Let yourself be guided and accompanied, come, touch and taste the Italian and Greek Style of life, you are welcome.
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ELENA GREEK TOUR MANAGER (ATHENS, GREECE)
I have been working as a tour guide with groups and families from around the world for the last 25 years. Greece is the field where the windmills of my mind blow their breezes and inspire me to enhance peoples' travelling experience within the Greek world: a world of wise oldness and mellow nostalgia intertwining with the brisk, youthful, and spirited disposition of its people towards life and its issues. As a member of the Greek team of Ciao Tours I am here to make sure your vacation is a great experience. Whether it is the picturesque mainland villages or the whitewashed island towns, the iconic historical sites or the vibrant cities, the melodious songs or the stirring music and uplifting dances, the delicious cuisine or symposiums with "amethyst" wines, the majestic mountains, or the rolling hills with silver green oceans of olive trees, the emerald coastlines of the Ionian or the deep blue waters of the Aegean Sea ...let us guide you "to the ends of love". Love for Greece and its many faces.
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ANNA MARIA EXECUTIVE ADMIN (CALGARY, CANADA)
As a Italian Canadian, I bring the best out in both cultures to Ciao Tours! As a 1st generation Canadian, my genitori (parents) who immigrated from Calabria to Canada, I was immersed into the new countries ways but never forgetting the old country. After 25 years at the Bank of Montreal, I retired and now have time to enjoy my true passion of travel. My role with Ciao Tours provides me with the opportunity to share my country with our clients. I feel like I am traveling with them while I organize their personalized detailed itineraries.
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YIANNI GREEK TOUR MANAGER (ATHENS, GREECE)
Born and raised in Kalamata, Greece now residing in Athens. When I was young, I didn't know what to do with my life, so I asked myself "Yianni what do you love the most?" and the answer was "I love Greece and I enjoy giving people everlasting experiences and laughter". Then it became so clear to me that I want to be a Tour leader. As a new member of Ciao tours, I felt welcomed, so I want to give back to the trust that was given to me by doing what I love, providing experience and ease of mind to the travelers that want to experience our beautiful country. So, for the last 6 years, I am happy and full of energy because I do my dream job that younger Yiannis craved so much. Always remember “We travel not to escape life but for life not to escape us".
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RITA CUSTOM ITALIAN TOUR DESIGNER (CALGARY, CANADA)
Ciao everyone, I am Rita, I am Italian and I have lived in Calgary since 2015. After a few years of searching and studying, I found my dream job: working in the Travel industry! I joined Ciao Tours in August 2021 as a Custom Italian Tours Designer and I love creating memories for my clients. I am very proud to sharing my knowledge about my outstanding Italian Country and will be a pleasure for me work for you! Italy is waiting for you! Arrivederci a presto.
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MATTHEW PRESIDENT (CALGARY, CANADA)
Thank you for choosing Ciao Tours for your next vacation. As the President of Ciao Tours, based in Canada, I am dedicated to making sure that we create a unique, customized tour that is completely tailored to you! I am Greek-Canadian & live in Calgary with my wife Tracy and 3 boys. I enjoy travelling to Italy, Greece & beyond, making new connections & scouting interesting places to share with our clients. I look forward to delivering you your dream vacation & sharing everything the Mediterranean has to offer.
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DIDI ITALIAN TOUR MANAGER (SIENA, ITALY)
I am a third generation Italian-American that now lives in Siena. After getting an associate’s degree in languages in Boston, where I was born and grew up, I followed my dream to spend a year in Italy. That was over 40 years ago and I’m still here! I often return to North America to visit family and friends, but my home is now in Tuscany. I love taking special care of our clients, assisting them without being intrusive.
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ALI MANAGER (CALGARY, CANADA)
Experienced travel professional with expertise in planning and customer service. Proven success in coordinating travel to international and themed destinations. Strong collaborator focused on achieving team goals and world-class service initiatives. The years of endeavor in tourism field made me a person who knows how to combine knowledge and care. I was made in Trips!
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YVONNE SENIOR ACCOUNTANT (CALGARY, CANADA)
As the Senior Accountant of Ciao Tours, my department is responsible for providing our clients with accurate and reliable accounting documents. Because of our accounting policies, Ciao Tours has an outstanding reputation with all of our suppliers and is considered a preferred Tour Operator in Italy.From Italian cooking to the intrigue of a country steeped in ancient history; along with the world renowned hospitality of it’s open hearted people, I enjoy my work with Ciao Tours. I am a travel “junkie” and look forward to assisting you on your own travel adventures into the heart of Italy.
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JOANNA CUSTOM GREEK TOUR DESIGNER (CALGARY, CANADA)
Γεια σας, I was born in Calgary but raised in Athens Greece. I have been back to Calgary now for 12 years, but Greece has always been and will always be my first home. I cannot wait to share my knowledge with you about Greece and see what περιπέτειες (adventures) we are going to create.
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HARIS GREEK TOUR MANAGER
I was born in Athens in 1980. I had a good childhood, and I went to some of the best schools of the time. The only thing that really mattered back then, was holidays. Always by the sea, always fishing. And this is still something I love. When I graduated high school, I chose to work in the family business which had to do with socks manufacturing. It wasn’t my dream, but it was something decent. I did my service in the air force and that was the last break I had. Since 2002, when I finished my service, I have done anything that seemed interesting and could give me extra knowledge in many aspects. I practice alternative healing techniques since 1999. I’m a Reiki master-teacher, I practice acupuncture based on Traditional Chinese and Ancient Greek Medicine, Crystal Healing, Theta Healing and a few Massage techniques. Helping people was always the best thing I could do. In addition to working with Ciao Tours, I work at many things. A school bus driver, I’m the frontman of a Blues and Classic Rock band called the “Sailing Driftwoods” and I also take part in some TV series and movies as an extra.
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Elpida GREEK TOUR MANAGER
Born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, I decided to reconnect with my Greek heritage through a visit to my heart’s homeland in 1998 and never went back! My mysterious sense of humour, passion for travel, creativity, cooking, arts, culture, and photography were all inspired on my travels around Greece and the glorious Greek Isles. A career in tourism made perfect sense and, with my extensive administrative background, I excelled in creating unique journeys around Greece. I love to share my passion for my homeland by tailoring authentic packages for the discerning traveler based on my intimate knowledge of Greek culture, heritage, history, and the sensational beauty that Greece offers. I’m adaptive, self-reliant, and always ready to go to great lengths for service that exceeds expectations. I believe my enthusiasm and optimism will ensure your journey with Ciao Tours in Greece will be dinner party conversation for years to come!