How best do you interpret journeys that leave one emotionally, intellectually, and physically fulfilled? For me, the tours of Italy with Isabella brought to reality my every dream of travelling in Italy, filling me with intense emotion as I reflect on these two amazing tours.
One journey began with early morning Italian caffe and brioche and a visit to a thousand year old basilica in the small Lazio village of Grottaferrata. We went on to stunning landscapes, excellent accommodation, Italian gourmet cuisine, enchanting Tuscan hill top medieval villages and were special guests at a village festival. Marvellous art and sculpture in Florence (and loads of shopping)! We learned about everything that represents Italian lifestyle and cuisine. Memories of fabulous meals and cooking with Marisa at Montagnana will never fade. And of course, it goes without saying that Venice with Isabella is altogether another way of looking at Venice!
In Sicily we took four-wheel-drives up Mt.Etna volcano and watched red-hot lava flow metres from our feet! The aroma of mountains of fruit and vegetables in the markets in Palermo (while keeping a look-out for mafia deals) is an experience not to be missed. I was introduced to Campari in the piazza in Taormina – and I’m hooked! The fresh almonds of Siracusa, delicious gelati and figs – all part of the taste sensations. Off to white washed Puglia and a sea of olive groves, the ancient Trulli and traditional bread making in this isolated region was stunning. Meeting the buffala, seeing the production and tasting real Buffala mozzarella at the home of a Baronessa was yet another highlight.
Both tours were organised with outstanding professionalism by Isabella and her husband Luigi. Tireless, fun-loving Isabella is a privilege to meet. Her knowledge of Italy is exceptional and her storytelling refreshing and captivating – she makes history come alive. Luigi, Italian, host extraordinaire leads from the rear and is our survival blanket and our friend.
Our coach drivers were so skilled, patient and shared great local knowledge, always exceeding beyond their normal duty. If these tours are the only journeys you take to Italy, or Europe, then I assure you that your expectations and experiences will be overwhelming. Happy and safe journeying.