I believe that most people would rather experience a country more authentically, but many simply don’t know how. Most travel agents only know about places that are marketed for tourists and large tour companies go where there is demand. Even suggestions from friends are most often based on their own experiences as a tourist, despite what they may think. Unless you actually know a local that will give you good advice, like us, 99% of the time you will find yourself visiting places that have been shaped for tourism, and have lost their local charm.
A small group tour with us is one of the best ways to really get to know Italy. On our small group tours you explore northern Italy with a local host, myself, and a group of eight people or fewer, visiting the kitchens, homes and family businesses of real Italians. Each experience is authentic, off-the-beaten-path and carefully curated. We like to say our small group tours give travelers the greatest insider access at the greatest value. But it’s not just us who think so – we asked our clients to share what they loved about their small group tour experience. Each guest’s story was different, but the same 5 themes kept coming up.
Here’s why you should choose a small group tour:
1. Small groups are fun and friendly
Our small group tours are capped at eight travelers total. “When they say ‘small group,’ they mean small”. And there’s nothing like traveling together to spark friendship. Linda said her group was “the envy of other travelers! We bonded with our fellow travelers immediately and laughed almost all the time that we weren’t eating”. Other travelers, ended up liking their group so much, they have stayed in touch since, and some have even have traveled together again.
2. Travel like a local, with a local
As the leader for all her small group tours, Audrey builds lasting relationships not only with the travelers, but with the local olive oil producers, cheese makers and guides. This makes everyone on her tour feel so welcomed.
Your tour leader isn’t just showing you Italy, they’re welcoming you into their way of life and giving you an inside-look into the lives of fellow Italians.
3. Deep dive into the culture
If you’re looking for an authentic, one-of-a-kind experience in Italy, small group tours are a great way to go. Your tour leader will take you off the beaten path to destinations you wouldn’t find on your own. “We felt like we were living like true Italians,” and guests enjoyed that there were few tourists or buses at their tour stops.
Some of our travelers favorite experiences include hands-on cooking classes led by local Italian chefs based on regional delicacies.
4. Stress-Free Travel
All Travels with Audrey small group tours are designed to give you a seamless experience, but small group tours take it a step further with a dedicated tour leader who is on-hand from the moment your tour begins. Your tour leader is there to take care of every detail – transportation, hotels, food and experiences – and give the group flexibility to enjoy each day to the fullest. Beyond being flexible, your tour leader will also spend time getting to know the group and can adjust the day’s activities based on your interests and preferred level of activity. Their goal is to give you the best day possible, every day of your trip.
As one guest wrote, “all we had to do is show up. From the time we arrived, each day was seamlessly organized, full of surprises, incredible journeys, AMAZING FOOD!, well orchestrated schedules, and provided good balance of personal time and guided excursions through the unique hidden treasures of Italy.”
Our small group tours include accommodations, ground transportation throughout, daily culinary and/or cultural excursions, two meals per day (breakfast plus lunch or dinner) and pick-up/drop-off in a major city.
5. Travel without sacrificing free time
In addition to daily excursions, your group will have plenty of down time to relax or explore on your own – it’s your vacation! Audrey always ensures you have time to make your own discoveries in our time at leisure.