July 14, 2017

Fabulous Return Trip to Italy


It’s especially rewarding when our clients return to Italy and seek us out again to help them plan their trip. A few years ago we designed this couple’s honeymoon itinerary in Tuscany, and they were very pleased. They contacted us again to see if we could provide full assistance with a trip to Rome and the Amalfi Coast. We were more than happy to oblige by arranging their accommodations, transportation and tours.   

Kathy,

We had a wonderful time on this trip. We were delighted with the whole week. Your ideas were almost all spot-on for us, and the services and execution were near perfect.

We are happy to leave you this glowing review - and hope it helps to let others know about what you do! The same holds true for all the guides and services you provided - all of which were top-notch! Thanks again for finding us wonderful resources.

Every one of our guides this week was great, and the Vatican guide, Sylvia, was the best of the bunch. Incredibly knowledgeable, she sized us up quickly, and gave us a very personalized introduction to this amazing institution. Unsurprisingly, the Vatican was incredibly crowded, and it was a hot day (with no air conditioning, of course). So perhaps the Vatican wasn’t our favorite, but Sylvia was.

The driver of the Golf Cart Tour in Rome was terrific, fun, and dedicated to making us happy. We had already seen many of the sights, so he thought on his feet, and got us to places we hadn’t visited, including the non-Catholic cemetery and some of the views to the Borghese Gardens. The golf cart tour, however, is not our thing. It doesn’t really allow for wandering and serendipity, which are a big part of how we enjoy traveling.

Train to/from Naples — Easy peasy. Thanks for arranging the tickets and making the late change of travel dates.

The driver from Naples to Positano — On-time, good driver, good English, pointed out sights to see. Gave us plenty additional time for lunch in Pompeii.

The Pompeii guide (Daniel) was terrific. His family has been Pompeii guides for generations. Super-knowledgeable. Gave us a real sense of the perspective of the people living there.

We loved our hotel in Positano, and might well return to the friendly and supportive care of this team, especially Angelo and Josephina, at the front desk. We were very glad for the location, which was just high enough to be away from most of the tourists, but not twice as far from the water. Generally speaking, we stayed away from the crowded, touristy areas. We got good advice to walk 10 minutes to a more local, family run beach club, and had a nice time there on Thursday.

Walk of the Gods with Luigi — Great walk. Lisa and I both enjoy long walks/hikes, and this was a great find. Luigi is a committed outdoorsman, and has been giving the tours for more than a decade. Just great. We even decided not to take a taxi and walked back to Positano from Nocelle (another 5km).


Capri Boat Tour — A highlight of the vacation. The boat company was excellent, and Captain Massimo was professional, knowledgeable, and extremely welcoming to all. The tour to/from/around Capri was quite extensive, and there was plenty of time to spend on the island. We enjoyed (surprisingly) the single chair lift to the top of Ana Capri. The rest of the visit was just a crowded tourist stop, but still fun enough.

Finally, we liked the splitting of time between high-paced city and slow sunny beach. That might be a good formula for us.

Kathy, we’re thrilled that we got back in touch with you, and look forward to doing it again. Maybe Venice, or perhaps other areas. We’re kind of taking a liking to Italy…  

All the best,
Andy and Lisa - California - USA

July 11, 2017

Multi-generational Family Vacation in Tuscany

When extended families get together and ask for our assistance to arrange their vacation, it is inevitably a large, multi-generational group to work with. We helped this grandfather plan a family reunion for 16 - that needed to be a surprise for his wife! Besides a beautiful villa rental in Tuscany (with an incredible view - as their photo confirms!), there was also a preliminary stop in Naples for part of the group (with guided visits to Pompeii and Herculaneum). We are happy that the whole family, from 80 to 18 months, had a good time! 

Hi Kathy,

Thank you for all the guidance. It was a very successful trip!

Those of us who started out in Naples cannot say enough wonderful things about the guide and driver you arranged for us. The guide was so clearly expert in, and enthusiastic about, the city, the region, the history and the art and was able to impart her knowledge in a way that was interesting to the children and adults! And even though she was going through some personal difficulties (her father had just passed away), she was professional and warm and funny and delightful. She crafted the tour to meet our needs with the kids, but the adults would spend a day with her at the Archeological Museum in a heartbeat (sans kids!) The driver was, of course, quieter, but no less charming and looked after us very well. The hotel in Naples was perfect for our needs. Thanks for helping with that too.

In Tuscany, the villa was perfect. My wife was totally surprised and everyone had a great time.

Our cooking class at the villa was AWESOME! The chef and his assistant were great. They allowed the kids to get involved (although that significantly slowed down the operations) and the food was amazing. The pork (which can easily get dry) was moist and beautiful. So, much so, we all made to-go sandwiches with the leftovers. The tiramisu, and I consider myself a self proclaimed expert, (not much of a dessert guy, but will always do tiramisu!), was the best I've had. Not too sweet, more focused on the creaminess of the filling than the sweetness. It was just a really great experience.

Thanks for all your good work. Feel free to use these comments for your Testimonials page, and if useful, I'd be more than willing to act as a reference.

Regards,
Jay B. - New Jersey - USA

Family Villa Vacation in Tuscany

Renting a villa is probably the best way for large families to enjoy a vacation in Tuscany together. These beautiful houses offer space for everyone to gather and also to spread out. This family of 10 selected a great property in Chianti for their holiday, which immediately brought smiles to everyone's face upon arrival - from the grandparents to the adolescent kids! We added a few activities and services to their stay, and the result was a successful vacation for all! 


Hi Kathy, 

I want to thank you for your assistance in arranging our Tuscany vacation. The villa was fantastic. It suited our family’s needs perfectly and it was simply lovely.  

The chef dinner on our night of arrival was absolutely delicious.  It was so nice to not have to cook on our first night.  And, pizza night was a hit with everyone. Highly recommend both.

The winery and cheese tours were very enjoyable and everyone raved about the cooking class with Veronica. Also, thank you so much for arranging transportation into and out of Florence. It made the trips stress free and enjoyable since it seems that all of Florence is a ZTL!

Finally, I want to tell you how wonderful the villa caretaker, Teresa, was. She was of great assistance to my sister and brother in law with their broken car window. We can't thank her enough for everything she did for us. She truly went above and beyond.   

I would be happy to serve as a reference anytime if needed.

Regards, 
Lisa M. - Pennsylvania, USA

June 27, 2017

Tuscany with Kids

We get a lot of requests from families traveling with children to help them design itineraries that are kid-friendly. In this case, we were asked to ensure that a 12 year old girl traveling with 2 adults would enjoy this special trip as much as the grown ups. So glad to hear we pulled it off! 

Dear Kathy:

We loved our trip. Marco was fantastic. Jim and I are ready to return for our wine tour with him. 

The private cooking class at the historic olive oil estate was my favorite - and Jim's. They were great with Chloe. 


In Florence, Suzanne's tour of the Duomo museum and Baptistery was great- particularly engaging Chloe, which we appreciated very much. I had never been inside the Baptistery, and loved it.

Marco was a real help at Cinque Terre- and that was Chloe's favorite day. 


Rome was a whirlwind, and hot. We had a great time wandering independently though. 

Overall, you were a wonderful help and the guides you set us up with were great. Your assistance made our trip easy and memorable. We will contact you when we return- probably for an adult-only trip. 

Thank you very much.

Sincerely,
Alex, Jim and Chloe - USA 

June 2, 2017

Family Vacation in Tuscany

It's always great to hear that our clients’ time in Tuscany lived up to expectations! We have been seeing a growing number of referrals (always a good sign!) and this family was one of them. Their friends had worked with us last year (and the year before) - and had stayed in the same villa - so the bar to equal was set pretty high from the start. That's why it was especially rewarding to get this positive feedback. 

Kathy, 

It was a wonderful vacation. The villa was better than advertised. We lived on the Loggia! The guides were all superior: Antonella, Barbara. Our driver, Francesco, was special. My grandson really liked him and the service, conversation, etc were delightful. 

All three winery visits were excellent, seeing we shipped two and a half cases back. Both winery lunches, while perhaps a bit dear, were real treats. At the boutique winery we dined alfresco and at the castle it was more formal, but both had great food and great hospitality. Check out my grandson enjoying the wine tour!

The chef you arranged to come to our villa was another very pleasant surprise, excellent food, excellent service, friendly. 

Also, we loved our home base in Panzano. One suggestion, which might almost border on nitpicking, would be if maybe you or the villa could supply a map - it would have been nice to have one from the start. We got it after a few days, but a lay of the land early would have helped. However, we enjoyed two serendipitous side trips to the Enoteca in Greve with the wine dispensers and the Florence American Cemetery. We found them on our own and were blown away by each, but for different reasons.

Grazie.

Walter V. - New Jersey, USA

May 22, 2017

Honeymoon in Tuscany

We were so happy to arrange Amanda and Adam's belated honeymoon in Tuscany, and couldn't be more thrilled that they enjoyed it so much! 


Hi Kathy,

Thanks so much for checking in and apologies for the delay in responding. We had a wonderful time! Thank you so much for everything you did to help make our honeymoon so special. 

We really enjoyed our stay at the boutique hotel you recommended and arranged for us in Florence. We were upgraded upon arrival, which is always nice. The room was lovely and the location really was perfect and very convenient. We would highly recommend this place to anyone we know who is planning to come to Florence and would look to stay there again next time we plan to visit the city.

We absolutely loved the tour of the Accademia, the city and Santa Croce with the private guide. The tour was the perfect balance of historical and artistic insight with fun anecdotes and a human touch. The time flew by and we learned so much. The guide was so friendly and knowledgeable and she made it feel like we were friends who were visiting and she was showing us around.

We think the food in Florence may have been the best we had for the entire trip. We followed your recommendations and had wonderful meals! We also managed to try quite a few gelaterias - all wonderful (we do love ice cream).

On our way to the countryside we enjoyed our stops in Volterra and San Gimignano, particularly the latter (though it was quite crowded with tourists). The towns are both charming and the gelato at Dondoli was definitely worth a visit!

The hotel you arranged in the Tuscan countryside was lovely. Very pretty and comfortable room. We enjoyed the stroll into town on the back road, and it was an easy location for the rest of our movements.

During our stay in Chianti, we enjoyed the local restaurants and our tours!

The guide in Montepulciano and  Pienza was just fantastic and really gave us so much insight and interesting information about both towns which brought them alive. Her musings on the cities but also on Italy and Italian culture more broadly were really interesting and made for such a fun morning. It was so great that she was able to show us one of the historical cellars in Montepulciano as well as the various churches and views the city has to offer. Pienza too was beautiful, and again we were hugely grateful to have her show us around and bring it all to life.

We also enjoyed our lunch and tasting at the Brunello winery - they were generous with the wine and meat+ cheese, and then the pasta they served. Adam particularly enjoyed the fact that the winery is home to so many animals. Beautiful views, although slightly spoiled by lots of clouds that day.

On the escorted full day tour our driver was great. He arrived early and ensured we made it to all of our stops in plenty of time. He was very friendly and the car journeys were all painless. It was totally worth having him drive us for the day.

We loved the experience at the pecorino cheese farm. It was really fascinating to go behind the scenes for the cheese making as well as the wine making. All of the people there were very friendly and it made for a fun and relaxed atmosphere. Again, very generous with the wines (which we both enjoyed) and the cheeses, which were really delicious. We would definitely recommend this for others, and it was a great way to start the day.

Lunch at the Antinori Winery was also very enjoyable. We loved the setting and view, and the food was delicious. Judging by the popularity of the restaurant at lunch that day, we are not the only ones who thought so. It was a bit different given how modern it is but a nice change of pace and again we'd definitely recommend it to others. We were only sorry not to be able to eat and drink more there but after the farm in the morning and two more wineries to go, we knew we couldn't go too crazy!

The first castle winery was beautiful and the guide was very friendly and insightful. The tour was practically a private one - there was only one other couple with us. 

The final castle was our favorite part of the day. What a beautiful place! Our guide was absolutely lovely and able to answer all of our questions about the history of the area, the winery and about the wine itself. The cellar was fascinating and the castle is really special, especially with all of those original frescoes. Again, very generous with the wine tasting and meat + cheese. This was probably our favorite wine by taste and most enjoyable tasting experience. It was hard to leave! We hope to possibly come back again some day. Would definitely recommend this place to others!

Thank you again for all of your recommendations and for helping to set up our tours, hotels and other logistics. It all made our time in Florence and Tuscany so wonderful and exceeded our expectations!

Many thanks and best wishes,
Amanda H. - London, UK

April 23, 2017

Girls' Getaway in Tuscany

Assisting these four lovely ladies arrange their personalized itinerary in Tuscany was a pleasure. We were all so happy that they enjoyed their visit! 








Dear Kathy,

From beginning to end we had a wonderful experience in Tuscany!  

Our cooking class with Eleonora and her daughter, Olivia, was unique. The entire day was enchanting.


Our tours of Siena, and Montepulciano and Pienza, with Antonella were informative and insightful. Antonella's explanation of Siena's contradas and its Palio, made us want to return for the race itself. Antonella has an easy way with people and she introduced us to many friends on these tours. 

In Florence, Sara gave us a very in depth perspective on art and architecture in that city. 

Since returning, many friends have asked how we arranged our trip and I am sending your information to all of them!

Thank you for a most excellent journey!

Winifred M. - New York, USA 

December 7, 2016

Family Thanksgiving Vacation in Tuscany

It was a pleasure to work with this nice family of four. They asked us to put the children at the heart of things - to make sure they enjoyed their first European travel experience - and, I'm happy to say, it looks like we succeeded in creating a memorable trip for all! 

Hi Kathy,

I hope you are doing well! 

I wanted to take a moment and thank you once again for a wonderful trip that you planned for us in Tuscany. 

My husband and I, and our girls, who are 11 and 9, loved every second of it!  From the beautiful hotels in Florence and Lucca to a luxurious and spacious villa apartment in Panzano  to absolutely phenomenal private tours, wine and cooking classes and dinner recommendations – we loved it all.  

Of special mention are the fantastic guides who worked with us in Florence, Lucca and Siena.  Our girls were fascinated and entertained by their stories and history of the region.  Also, your availability throughout our stay made it easy and relaxing for us – we knew that in any situation we could always turn to you for help and support.  

The cooking class with Veronica was absolutely phenomenal!  In fact, Max and I are planning to come back to Tuscany to spend a couple weeks with Veronica learning how to cook Italian!

Thank you again! 

Olga I. - Milwaukee, Wisconsin - USA

October 5, 2016

Celebrating Our 30th Wedding Anniversary

Hi Kathy,

I hope all is well! We are still recounting our Italy experiences, what a great time! We will have memories for a lifetime! 

Please see my comments for your testimonials page.

All the Best!
Wayne G. - Atlanta, GA



We're frequent travelers from the US, and wanted to celebrate our 30th anniversary in Italy. A close friend suggested Kathy and we were not disappointed. She tailored a magnificent trip based on our requests and schedule. 

Kathy was super personable and we felt like she was our Italian host. While in Greve for the Chianti Classico festival Kathy made it a point to meet and welcome us to Tuscany. I highly recommend her, and will rely on her for future travel to Italy.

In recap, we arrived in Venice, traveled to Florence/Tuscany, and departed from Rome. 

Kathy arranged the following for us:

- Excellent transportation services: train bookings from Venice to Florence and from Florence to Rome. No issues.


- Tremendous, passionate, and highly knowledgable private guides in Venice, Florence, Tuscany and Rome. 




- Hotels and villas, top notch. 


- Amazing Wine Tour.


- Restaurant reservations, perfect in all areas we traveled, with excellent tables and special treatment because of Kathy's relationships. (Not the usual tourist dining experiences).

- Lastly, Stefano, our private guide/driver for our time in Tuscany, did a great job and made us feel like family. 

Grazie Kathy and New Tuscan Experience! 


September 7, 2016

Discovering Chianti and its Castle Wineries

With only a couple of days to see the Tuscan countryside, this couple from Australia asked us to arrange their accommodations and a special private wine tour in Chianti. We are happy to hear that they had a great experience!

Hi Kathy,

We had a wonderful time in Tuscany. Our boutique hotel in Chianti was very nice, with its beautiful grounds, delicious food and lovely pool. Our room was a good size and very comfortable, not that we spent much time in it! The location was perfect; close enough to the village, allowing us to easily walk in, yet far enough out to give the feeling of remoteness. 

We had a fantastic day on our private tour visiting the wineries and San Gimignano, even if the town was quite crowded. It was also very interesting visiting the wineries that you chose because even though they were not very far apart there was a distinct contrast. The first castle had a real wow factor about it, their cellar was magnificent and their wines were very nice. 


The second castle seemed that much older and more rustic. Having our own private dining room for lunch gave the feeling that we were the lords of the manor, plus the food was brilliant. We also loved their wines to the extent that we purchased a box and have had it sent back home. Stefano was a great driver, very friendly and engaging. He had a good knowledge of the area, its history and its landmarks. 

Thank you so much for arranging all of this for us! As I mentioned at the start, our brief stay in Tuscany was absolutely wonderful.

Best Regards,
Scott K. - Melbourne, Australia

July 29, 2016

Family City Tour

This family of 6, with young adult children, wanted to explore Florence and Rome after traveling in Switzerland. We helped arrange their train tickets, accommodations and tours. 





Kathy, 

We had a wonderful time.  All the accommodations were superb, the three tour guides were awesome and we had a great time.

One of the things our group enjoyed doing best in Italy was eating! We did not have a bad meal anywhere. 

You rock,  I would highly recommend you and your company to anyone.  All your suggestions, train tickets, the accommodations and the guides you set up for us were spot on. 

Thanks again,
Tom & Tia - California, USA



July 13, 2016

Group Trip to Tuscany

Hi Kathy,

I just wanted to touch base with you to Thank You, and to let you how incredibly pleased we were with all the arrangements you made for our group of 12!!!  We had an amazing time in Chianti, and much of it had to do with all the planning you did for us!!!  We’ve been to Tuscany a few times before and we know our requests can be a little demanding…  I knew when I asked you to find a perfect Villa on a large rural estate with outstanding views and a full time chef, and stay within my budget, it would be a challenge…  I have to tell you, you blew me away!!! WOW, the Villa you reserved for us far exceeded our expectations!!!  It was wonderful in every facet…  The setting was bucolic, and the staff was so very friendly… 


The chef was amazing, and the menu that you prepared for us was perfect!!!  When we awoke in the mornings, she had wonderful breakfast buffets laid out with coffee, juices teas, fresh fruits, melon, berries, toasts, eggs, meats, cheeses, granolas & yogurts… It was so nice to have breakfast on that lovely terrace and watch the sunrise with views of the vineyards and olive orchards!!!   


And after a long day of of touring and sight-seeing, to come back to the Villa and go swimming in that amazing  pool,  and then have all those authentic dinners prepared for us… well what can I say;  it was truly magical!!! 

The musical duet that you hired for our party on the terrace was outstanding!!!  And the BBQ and Pizza parties were truly a hit with our group…  

Thank you so much for all the detailed planning… You went above and beyond, and I truly appreciate all of your hard work…  I am grateful for everything that you’ve done for us, and as you already know, we’ll be back next year for another great adventure!!! 

Sincerely,
Tommy H. -  Pennsylvania, USA


July 12, 2016

A Villa Vacation with Friends

A group of 9 friends traveling through Italy requested a nice villa, close to a charming town, within easy reach of southern Tuscany and Umbria. Clearly, Cortona was the perfect place! 
We suggested a lovely property that fit the description and are happy to know they really liked it. 


Hello Kathy,

The Villa in Cortona was the highlight of our trip to Italy! The bedrooms were perfect for our group. The owner was friendly and always helpful. We made good use of the pool and barbecue and found the little grocery store down the hill very adequate.  

I too would highly recommend the Villa to any of your clients. 

Thanks!
Bill A. - Washington, USA
_____________________________________

Hi Kathy,

We feel the same way.  Staying at a villa in France or Italy had been high on our "bucket list" for some time, and it fully lived up and even exceeded our expectations. The owner was great, the villa comfortable and well equipped, the views and property were beautiful, and the pool was great.  We really enjoyed our hikes to Cortona, and enjoyed the town itself.  The property worked well for family and friends to spread out, but also come together in spaces that were perfect for partying together.  
Thanks for steering us to this and for making our arrangements. 

John and Heather B.
_____________________________________

Hi Kathy,

Val and I have now stayed at two villas you suggested and I wanted to say first of all that we loved both properties.

The historicalness of the building at the Villa in Cortona was very interesting. It felt like it dated from several centuries before yet still had the necessary modern conveniences.  I liked the fact that we could walk along a “nature” walk from the Villa to Cortona - admittedly the walk is a good 35 minutes for someone who is reasonably fit.

And Cortona is a city that you could go into on multiple days; we actually did the walk to Cortona on 3 different days. I also liked the fact that Cortona did not feel overly touristy. I also liked the fact that driving to the Montepulciano region felt very close. 

Even though the property has several villas, it is set up so that there are separate pools for each set of guests. The pool that we had access too was great and had just the right amount of shade around it as well.

Very much liked being able to have direct contact with the owners - they gave us a great recommendation for a pizza place that we would never have found if not for their mentioning this place (they do amazing long rectangle takeaway pizza). They also presented us with a bottle of gin that they make which was wonderful.

Finally, there was an incredible store for provisions with an excellent in-house butcher just down the road from the Villa that sold outstanding wine/fresh meat and a great selection of groceries and veg at very reasonable prices.

Thanks again for your help.  Have a wonderful summer season!

John and Vally A. - London, UK
_____________________________________

Hi Kathy,

Our family thoroughly enjoyed our time at the villa.  Cortona was a good walk but not over taxing and the surrounding sites were close enough.  

Thank you,
Peter and Carol L.



Large Family Vacation

This large multi-generational family (15 people, from 6 months to 65+) from the US came to Florence for a relative's wedding and requested a few days of activities for the whole group before heading to Venice. We arranged their tours and excursions (including an exclusive private visit and lunch at a stunning castle winery in Chianti), as well as their transportation to Venice. 

Hello Kathy,

I hope you are well! Thank you so much for arranging such wonderful excursions for us. Here is my feedback for the various parts! Overall we are so grateful for your suggestions and enjoyed our trip.

We enjoyed our tours in Florence. We had a wonderful experience at the Uffizi. The guide was very laid back and had a lot of knowledge to give us. He kept the kids entertained and they lasted the whole time!

The drivers were great and helpful. They made the experience easy and simple. Would definitely be happy to have them drive us again! We did not have any issues and the day went smoothly.

The winery was spectacular. The entire experience from the tour, the guide, the lunch, the gorgeous scenery, and the wine was amazing.

We really enjoyed the authentic nature of the winery and the private feel. We were able to spend time as a family and take our time to experience each part. We truly appreciate your recommendation! We will be enjoying the wine we ordered for some time. It just arrived!

Thank you for the wonderful recommendations and for all your help. I will most definitely pass along your information to any friends who will be traveling to Florence.

Take care and I will be in touch next time we are headed your way.

Sri L. - Milwaukee, WI







June 2, 2016

Cooking in Chianti

This couple was celebrating their 10th anniversary, and wanted a few memorable structured days to discover Tuscany with a guide. As foodies, they also requested an authentic private cooking experience in a beautiful setting - and we knew just the right place!

Hi Kathy, 
We had a great time in Tuscany! You did a great job. We really enjoyed our tours in Florence and Siena - the guides were excellent.  
The cooking class you arranged for us was great! The day spent at this beautiful villa and olive farm can't be beat and we enjoyed our time there very much. What really made the experience so meaningful was being able to enter an Italian home, see their culture and really meet Italians. It’s what made our trip complete.

Eleonora is a gracious hostess and wonderful teacher. The villa is impressive and the food was delicious, it was the best meal we ate on our trip - also because it was made with such love and care. We can’t wait to take out our notes and start cooking at home!

Thank you for helping us have a beautiful vacation!

Kind regards,
Amy and Amin A. - Milwaukee, Wisconsin


April 9, 2016

Easter Break in Tuscany

This family of 6 came to visit their daughter who was studying in Florence and wanted to spend the Easter holidays all together in a beautiful villa in Chianti. We were happy to make their wish a reality!



Hi Kathy,

I wanted to give a great big shoutout to you and your amazing company, New Tuscan Experience!

Our family had the most beautiful vacation in Italy, thanks to you and your amazing tour guides, chef, drivers and of course, our incredible villa in Certaldo! 

Here are some pics - they don't do it justice! 

If you are planning a trip to Tuscany, be sure to get in touch with Kathy! AMAZING!

All the best, 
Gail M. - New Jersey, USA