The year was 2000, it was a warm summer and I was sitting outside enjoying un bicchiere di vino in Piazza Cisterna in San Gimignano in Tuscany watching the big tour busses unload 40-65 people each.
The peoples faces contained a variety of expressions, from awe to frustration. As the throng of people formed the passing parade, I thought of how important this trip was to them. Each person who vacations
in Italy will leave with their own impression of the cities they visited, and for some,
it may be their one and only time in Italia.
My wish was then, and is now, that travelers have their eyes and hearts opened to the beauty that is Italy, that they appreciate the Italian people and culture, that they experience the real Italy . . . my Italy. This experience led me to envision a different way, a better way, for travelers to experience Italy. This was the beginning of what would become, Villas of Italy.
The ‘Big Tour” things I wanted to guarantee wouldn’t happen:
1. FOLLOW AN UMBRELLA — If your entire vacation is spent frantically trying to follow the person with the umbrella, you will miss the beauty of Italy. Trying to glimpse a view of a famous painting, or being herded through a church with a throng of other people, won’t allow any time to savor it. The narrow, winding streets and local ristoranti can’t unfold their charms when you travel en masse.
At Villas of Italy we travel with groups of 12. And, we travel in custom, air conditioned vans with the ability to go places and see things those big tour busses can’t. When with our tour guides, you are provided with your own 'whispers' for your ear so no matter where the tour guide may turn their head you hear them as if they were 'whispering' in your ear so you won't miss any detail.
2. AMERICANIZE YOUR EATING — Italians will tell you they have the best cuisine in the world, and
that’s hard to argue. The big tours work with hotels and restaurants to create dishes that cater to Americans, but aren’t ‘real’ Italian dishes. We ensure you're ‘eating adventure’ is 'really' Italian, Italian recipes of authentic, and often decades old, recipes prepared by chefs who are proud to share
their cuisine and culture . . . their 'authentic' Italy. Meals are expected to take time,
savoring not only the food, but the wine and conversation.
At Villas of Italy whether at the villa, or out on tour our meals our relaxed affairs
allowing us to experience and enjoy our meals as Italians.
3. ARRIVE WITHOUT A CLUE — You needn’t be a scholar to appreciate the art, architecture and culture in Italy, but a little studying before you arrive is going to enhance what you see. At Villas of Italy we have written blogs of some of the cities, sights and cuisine we’ll encounter. Our tours away from the villa are balanced itineraries and our local, private, professional tour guides know the history of their towns and are extremely proud to share it with us.
4. CRAM TOO MUCH IN A DAY — Realize the fact that, generally, if you are spending limited time in the major cities, and often with the bigger tour companies you spend limited time and typically won’t get to see all the major sites. At Villas of Italy we prioritize and add a variety of experiences to each day. Working with our private, professional guides we have maximized the number of sights we see, but still in a relaxed fashion and even stopping for a gelato or espresso every so often to soak in the local culture. And, we have 2 days of leisure at the villa so you can either relax by the pool, take a cooking class from our villa chef Mauro, or take the train to a local town to spend more time, on your own, exploring.
5. BE UNPREPARED TO WALK — Nothing zaps the fun out of a vacation faster than aching feet. Big tours keep you moving fast, like cattle, to cram in as much as they can before they load you onto the big bus to move on to the next city. They don’t even warn you that breaking in new shoes on tour isn’t a good idea,
or 'preparing' to walk for 4-5 miles a day is a good thing. Many cities, such as Florence, are mostly
pedestrian only, and that means it’s your two feet that are going to get you around. We plan our daily itineraries with our private, professional guides to move in a logical progression from one sight to
another so while we do walk for several miles we’re not retracing our walks back to sights we missed
like tourists on unguided tours do, or some of the bigger tours often do. We believe your eyes and mind will only absorb and appreciate what your feet allow!?
6. NOT BOOKING IN ADVANCE — During the high season, all major attractions require long waits if you haven’t purchased tickets in advance. Our guides and tours are planned for and we make reservations,
so there’s never a wait.
7. CRITICIZE WHAT’S DIFFERENT — Italy is not the United States. As obvious as that sounds, it’s important to remember that you are visiting a foreign country, and a foreign culture. While those bigger tours move you fast through towns, museum’s and historical sights to cram in as much as they can, you often don’t get a chance to experience, or feel the culture, or the people. At Villas of Italy we plan our
days so you can embrace the experience, the people, the food, art, architecture and ‘tempo’ of life.
Things will be done differently, which is, why Villas of Italy was created and hopefully one of
the reasons you wanted to visit!
Welcome to a new kind of tour – Villas of Italy - The kind that gets you closer to the authentic and unforgettable Italian experience you travel to find in the first place. Tours carefully crafted to local organic, biodynamic wineries and farms, visits to the major Tuscan cities and hilltop towns led by professional tour guides who actually live in the towns, all to deepen and enhance your tour experience with a local perspective. And, no unpacking and repacking every few days to move to another location . . .
yet another hotel.
At Villas of Italy you live at your country villa for 10 days in your private double bedroom with private bathroom with a beautiful pool overlooking the vineyards and olive groves. Everything is arranged for you; all meals, wines, tours, cooking classes . . . everything!
You arrive as guests, but leave as famiglia. Join us at the villa on our next
Villas of Italy:Tuscan Adventure tour, August 18-28, 2019. If you’re picturing yourself in the Italian countryside, now’s the time to get a trip on the calendar. Contact us for a detailed daily itinerary.
We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us
Villas of Italy specializes in all-inclusive superior villa vacations. We've designed our adventures so Italy can be experienced in intimate tour groups, Tourneo Custom air-conditioned vans, and one-of-a-kind Villa estates. Immerse yourself in Italy's picturesque towns and villages while enjoying exquisite cuisine, vibrant culture, and the spirit of Italy.
Explore our vacation options! HERE.
Tony Moglia's grandparents immigrated from Italy in the early 1900's. He's a dual citizen who has traveled extensively throughout Italy for 40 years. He's happily married to a vibrant dancer who together have two children and three grandchildren. Tony has dreamed of Villas of Italy since his first trip to Italy, and now he shares his dream with you.