- Associated Press - Friday, July 11, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) - Ciao!

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday that he will leave next week for a 10-day trip to Italy, the longest vacation by a city mayor in recent memory.

The mayor, who has Italian roots, will be joined by his wife and their two teenage children. The family will visit the ancestral villages of his grandparents and tour Rome, Venice and Naples.

De Blasio took office in January. He will pay his family’s expenses.

“Returning to Italy this summer will be a homecoming for our family,” said the mayor’s wife, Chirlane McCray, in a statement. “It will be a moment to humbly express our gratitude to the family members and local residents who supported us and cheered us on over those long months.”

The family is set to leave next Friday and return July 27. McCray said the vacation is the family’s first since 2012.

The trip comes as a stark departure from the travel plans of recent mayors.

Unlike the president, mayors of the nation’s largest city do not usually take a traditional vacation. De Blasio’s predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, frequently went out of town for three-day weekends but did not take a full week off during his 12 years in office.

And Rudolph Giuliani, who held the office before Bloomberg, only took a handful of days off during his entire first term.

Three aides will accompany de Blasio on his trip, and they will pay for their accommodations on days they are not conducting city business. Other costs, such as security, will be paid for by the city.

De Blasio will mix in some official business with sightseeing, city officials said. He will meet with several Italian mayors and government officials and do interviews with Italian media, many of whom covered his mayoral run a year ago.

He also will stay updated with developments back home, calling top aides throughout his vacation, officials said. First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris will be in charge of day-to-day operations while the mayor is in Italy.

De Blasio’s team also said the mayor would cut short his trip if a crisis emerges back home. Workers at the Long Island Rail Road, one of the city’s major commuter trains systems, have threatened to go on strike July 20, two days after de Blasio leaves.

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