Ann and myself , as well as our small group of friends, were enthralled with your ability to effortlessly present the villages, culture and wines as we travelled with you in Italy. We were all impressed with your ability to describe St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, and your discussion of the transformation of art from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance gave us insight into what the Renaissance was really all about…we all wanted to hear more! We loved every village you took us us to, especially your village, Montalcino. We’ll be back to taste more of that Brunello, and all of us thought your explanation of the wine was not only fun, but educational, and so was your talk about life in a medieval village. Thanks a million for so many incredible memories. We’ll be back!
Our many trips through Italy, Europe and beyond with Isabella at the helm have been social and historical adventures. We always return to Australia with a broader and greatly enhanced knowledge of the people, countries, food and wines we have experienced. It’s a pleasure to be part of well organised holidays which leave no stone unturned.
Travelling in Europe,especially, with Isabella, is a superb cultural experience. Her detailed knowledge, communication skills and personal care are of such a high order that you will retain countless treasured memories. Planning of the varied and highly stimulating itinerary is always meticulous and will suit the most discerning taste. Especially appreciated are the several days spent in the same location, enjoying the surrounding environment and its highlights in a relaxed manner – so different from the exhausting, frantic one night stopovers offered by other tour companies.
The quality of the accommodation, meals, wine, coach comfort and tour guiding will make you feel at the end of your travels that this is the best value for money that you have ever known!
Isabella’s trips are like “pasta al dente”, perfect and never overdone. Always expertly executed with contingencies ready for the unexpected. Isabella’s enthusiasm, knowledge and kindness makes you want to sign up for her next trip before the one which you are enjoying ends.
The joy of travelling with Isabella is the well planned off the beaten track experiences. I have loved lunch in a deserted mountain village in Croatia, roast pork in the Sicilian wilderness and leading a donkey to a well in Morocco – I could provide many more examples – on our many travels. Consideration of individuals and a thoroughly enjoyable experience is always your priority. Impeccable organisation underpins the whole experience. Wonderful factual story telling a bonus! Can’t wait for the next one.
You are in your element when you talk about the art of Italy and it was truly a joy to listen to you. Italy and your knowledge of Italy is your strength, and you are a formidable public speaker, giving you an edge, in the nicest possible way. Thank you for the most fantastic time.
TO THE WORLD AT LARGE
It is with great pleasure I write a small piece regarding Isabella Dusi.
My wife, Ann, and I first met Isabella in Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy in 2000 and from that stage it has proved to be a most beneficial meeting. Isabella, a citizen of Montalcino, provided the necessary information about the hilltop town to thoroughly enhance my stay and gain an unexpected knowledge of the culture of the delightful village. Subsequently, as a result of word of mouth from friends, on two occasions I have had the extreme pleasure of being part of the small travelling party Isabella specialises in hosting.
Morocco provided sheer enjoyment in being introduced to the culture of the various Moroccan people. All this enhanced by Isabella’s magnificent research extremely well told to our touring party about the history of the country, the lifestyle, mannerisms and cuisines of the people. I returned from this trip with a vast new knowledge and a wonderful experience.
Malta, Sicily, Sardinia & Corsica was another occasion to expand my mind with new knowledge of history, culture, cuisine and habitat of the Mediterranean islands. Isabella’s research, prior to the trip, was such that, when told to the small touring party, all were intent upon listening.
My wife and I have been extremely pleased with the standard of accommodation provided on Isabella’s trips and look forward to being part of further exciting journeys in the near future.
I have experienced the greatest of pleasure travelling with Isabella on three wonderful journeys. The tours have been so enjoyable. Long before the tours commenced you supplied so much helpful advice and assistance for this ‘not so young’ solo traveller enabling me to proceed with confidence. Throughout the tours I was always relaxed knowing that you were there, willing to assist and advise in anyway and not only for me. I am full of admiration for the organisational skills you apply to every aspect of touring. I do also admire and envy your remarkable knowledge pertaining to regions and of the many historic sites we visited.
For all of the wonderful socialising events, be it wining and dining at very special venues or the more simple fare typical of the region or indeed lunching el fresco in the lovely atmosphere of someone’s private garden, it is all so memorable and I am so grateful for all these special memories.
Isabella is simply superb, and has helped me to understand Italy. She plans, organises and leads exceptional travel experiences, clearly thoroughly prepared and researched. Her knowledge is seriously impressive. Her itineraries are unique. She provides valuable insights into the realities of local life from both a contemporary and a historic perspective, weaving significant strands of history into memorable tales. Sharing her valuable insights, Isabella can weave art and history into stories that provide perspective and context, so that we too gain understanding of those astonishing epochs of glorious creativity. I travel with Isabella with the utmost confidence, and am always thrilled and enriched by the experience.
Touring with Isabella has always been an incredible experience. Her attention to detail is second to none and she is a natural raconteur passionately telling us many stories about Art, History, Architecture, Culture and Theatre. Her recall of facts of past events is nothing short of amazing. We always leave her tours so much more informed of the places she has taken us to, and she makes history so interesting.
If you have never done a trip with Isabella then now is the time to do so. We are getting organised for our 4th trip of wonderful stories, out of the way places, good company, wonderful scenery, great history, meet the locals and delicious food. Altogether a wonderful time. Thank you Isabella.
Isabella is a talented and exceptional planner and leader of travel programmes. We worked with Isabella for a significant part of the 25 years we owned Travelworks NZ Ltd. She largely planned the Italy programme itinerary, booked all the accommodation and special visits, met group members on arrival in Italy … then led the complete travel experience through the country.
To give programme participants an experience of a lifetime, it’s necessary to have a skillset well beyond the normal. Skills that include imaginative yet logical planning, negotiation, excellent logistics, a remarkable knowledge of history, fluent Italian, creative writing and grammar; then morph these into on-the-road skills to include intuitive story-telling, recollection, leadership, on-your-feet problem solving, human relations expert and sheer resilience.
That’s quite a feat! Post-travel questionnaires always confirmed Isabella’s guests were totally happy with their travel experience and the magical and deep sense of Italy Isabella was able to impart. Many in fact returned again and again to travel with her on other programmes.
We have been on tours across Europe with Isabella and have thoroughly enjoyed our trips. We acknowledge the effort put in by Isabella, to not only ensure our safety at all times, but also the time spent to research all aspects of the trip. We would recommend Isabella to anyone for her great efforts. We have been on many other tours with other companies, but did not feel totally happy. Any problems along the way with Isabella were dealt with efficiently and quickly, which in itself is reassuring. Hope we get the chance to join Isabella again on her journey wherever she may go.
I’ve loved my holidays in Italy with Isabella. She’s always warm and friendly and ready to join in the fun, whether it’s around the table after dinner, or shopping for a sunhat, or enjoying a glass of Prosecco in a shady spot.
At the same time she is 100% professional and expects everything to be perfect for us, from our accommodation to the food, which is always amazing, in no matter which region of Italy we happen to be.
What I especially love about tours with Isabella is her immense knowledge of art, architecture, the history surrounding the places we visit and her ability to bring it all to life – the personalities, the rivalries, the plotting – she’s a great storyteller and makes it seem as if it all happened yesterday!
I’ve been on two land tours organized and hosted by Isabella and I have no hesitation in saying that she is the ultimate professional when it comes to creating a tour. From the route, to hotels, food and wine, and guided visits to iconic churches, castles and other places of interest, Isabella always does her homework to the nth degree – nothing is left to chance. Each tour was a huge success. While travelling on the coach Isabella often talks, whether because there is something to see, or something we will soon see, always speaking knowledgeably, enthusiastically, and very passionately. I found the range of her knowledge to be astounding, from art history to wine tasting and everything in between. We were like putty in her hands!
Both tours were magnificent, and in 40 days travel on one extended tour, I did not hear of even one disagreement within the group, due to Isabella’s watchfulness and the ability of moulding twenty people into a happy convivial group. At the end of the day, a sundowner, Isabella was always the centre of fun. She is a very, very exceptional person.
Fantastic tours, opened our eyes to the beauty of Italy and beyond! Great organisation from beginning to end. Isabella’s passion for travel and wanting to share shone through. We were so well looked after from Day 1. We enjoyed wonderful art, beautiful landscapes and great food. Isabella’s trips were wonderfully varied from day to day, with meticulous organisation and knowledge about every aspect of the tour. Highly Recommended.
As quiet country first-timers to Europe it was brilliant to begin by soaking up Italian rustic villages with time to wander and explore for ourselves the intrinsic characteristics you had expertly described. We delighted in our visits to see artisans at work, and to taste the quintessential meals from simple locally grown dishes to spectacular famous chef’s creations. You prepared our visits to the awe-inspiring cities so comprehensively that we did not feel daunted or overwhelmed. The partying and Jousting in Arezzo, the individually of selected Basilicas, and the highlighted master works in the Uffizi Gallery are imprinted in our memories. To this day we especially remember how you made us feel it was your pleasure to enrich our lives so personally.
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.
I have traveled in tours organised by Isabella Dusi all over Italy, with occasional periods elsewhere such as France and Malta, on at least six occasions in the last decade. My enthusiasm for her excellence is such that at least 20 friends have subsequently joined her for tours, many of them several times. She has considerably enriched all our lives.
Groups are kept small, the itinerary is meticulously planned blending organised activities and free time. Hotels are at least 3 star and often 4 with an average stay of three nights. Isabella has a great knowledge of history, art and culture plus a wonderful ability to explain what it is to live in modern Italy with its mores, quirks and social habits.
Learning about great local food and wines is integral to the experience. Memories of great restaurants remain long after the journey as do all the little details that make for excellence: the luxurious coach, Ronan or Salvatore, the drivers, and Isabella’s unique ability to invent a fabulous alternative if weather forces a change.
Great experience! Great value! You’ll love it!
7 reasons why we will always travel to Europe with you!
Diverse, well thought out itineraries
Delightful central Boutique Hotels
Local cuisine in the finest restaurants
Attentive to our every need
Plenty of time to absorb the atmosphere of medieval villages
Your passion for history, art, architecture and wine
Your wonderful ‘off the cuff’ storytelling
We have travelled all over the world for twenty years, but nobody does it like you, Isabella. You have inspired our love of the history and culture of Italy and Europe.
I have the most wonderful memories of touring Italy with the inspiring and talented Isabella. Unveiling places that were so very amazing, dining at superb restaurants, each well chosen for her group who were always so appreciative of attention received, each and every one of us. Having faith in our superb leader with her knowledge of history, quality locations well chosen for our comfort, I would always recommend her tours. I can’t wait to join Isabella for our next adventure with the confidence it will be exactly what I need at my stage of life – pleasures untold.
We would recommend this small group touring with Isabella to anyone. Meticulous planning and organisation, always surprises and no cost extras such as “it’s too hot we will go by taxi” or “lunch is on me today”. Isabella is an amazing historian and raconteur, no dull moments on the bus. I have learnt so much about Italian history, food, wine and art. Excellent variety and quality restaurants. Great accommodation which is sometimes quirky. Isabella’s passionate personality is evident in everything she does. Great judge of personalities and grouping people together for the happiest tours. We have made lifelong friends. Ronan our driver is an extra bonus – best ever!
I just wanted to thank you for putting on a new trip for which I have just booked; wouldn’t miss it.
Your trips have always been meticulously planned and run. Your knowledge and passion for art, architecture and history and the competent way in which you share it is unsurpassed.You always surprise with the events you organise and share with us, in particular when we visit locals in their own homes and get to share a meal and how they live. You are very friendly and personable and always ready to share a glass of wine or a dance.I can’t wait for the trip to start as they are the best most memorable holidays i have had, I’d follow you anywhere.
Phillip and I would like to express our gratitude for a most wonderful experience on our recent trip with you. This was our third adventure planned by you and we thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity of catching up with old acquaintances from past travels, as well as making new friends. Your tours are always meticulously thought out and well organised with excellent restaurants and wineries included. We always enjoy your interesting stories relating to the places we visit, and your depth of knowledge is exceptional. We look forward to our next escapade with you and of course sharing a glass of wine together.
Quite uniquely personal – travelling with Isabella and her intimate group spoils one for anything else! With knowledge, experience and imagination, she leads us on an intimate experience of culture. Nothing is ever left to chance. A superb organiser, I love the delightful atmospheric places Isabella selects to stay. We live the life, the pace is right and we have fun.
We have travelled with Isabella on 5 different occasions to places as different as Tuscany, France, Morocco and Greece. Each trip has been wonderful. Isabella’s planning is meticulous. We have eaten at Michelin starred restaurants, tasted top quality wine in ancient vineyards, rode camels in the Sahara and sailed the Cyclades. All fabulous experiences made all the better through Isabella’s attention to detail and tailoring the tour to suit the participants, many of whom, like us, have travelled with Isabella many times. We are about to embark on yet another adventure, no doubt there will be others in the future
We have shared two memorable trips in Italy with Isabella Dusi. The first took us to Rome, Tuscany, the Po Valley, Lake Orta and Venice. Isabella introduced to us the wonders of each and educational walking tours through the narrow streets of northern Italy. Our second tour took us to southern Italy, Sicily and Malta. Both trips felt like Isabella was introducing us to her private wonders of Italy and treating us as an old friend. She is a writer and natural story teller. Each day she provided interesting background information on the day’s event and why it was important for us to see and enjoy them. We have taken several independent trips to Italy since our tours with Isabella and she has been a generous source of information during our planning. Given the opportunity, we would follow Isabella anywhere in Italy.
Isabella’s tours are always well organised and interesting, her knowledge of culture, architecture and history is exceptional. There is lots of fun and surprises!
Fascinating destinations, first class research on those destinations, superb organisation and excellent food, wine and other adventures encountered with good company and lots of laughs – what’s not to like? Once having been a traveller who swore never to do organised tours I am now a devoted convert of travel a la Isabella. The bliss of being so well taken care of, with time provided for individual exploration rounding out each visit. Travels are backed up with rich and extensive background information on history, culture, politics, art, local identities and lifestyles. More than beautiful places and superb scenery and experiences, the passionate briefings, stories and art appreciation allow expansion of understanding of places and people. The laughs (have I mentioned the laughs) and memories are superb.