Sharing with you a story from a client:
I had been planning for this trip for over 20 years, and the best part is – my wife had no idea! I don’t have much money, but from the day I got married I knew I wanted it to ALWAYS be special. Years ago I started taking a little bit from each paycheck and putting it aside into a secret vacation fund, hoping that for our 25th anniversary I could take my wife to the most beautiful place on Earth. Thankfully, I got my wish!
Now while our last name may be Italian, sadly we are about as Italian as take-out pizza. My family came here on a boat over a century ago, and since then we’ve lost almost all of our roots. Yet every time I hear Italian or see pictures of Italy my heart swells with pride, and I have always dreamed of reconnecting with the place that my great-grandparents once called home. Every time we saw pictures of Italy in a magazine or on television my wife would sigh and talk about how badly she wanted to visit, but quickly lamented that we would never have the money.
Luckily, as our 25th anniversary was approaching, a friend who knew what I was planning connected me to Audrey at Travels with Audrey. From the moment we first spoke, I knew that she instantly got it. She understood why this trip was so special for me, and how I could make it the time of our lives. The best part was when Audrey told me that once we got there, I didn’t have to worry about a thing! Audrey was going to be in Italy already, and was available to act as our private guide and be with us every step of the way. My wife almost burst with excitement when I handed her the plane tickets at our anniversary party!
From the moment we got off the plane in Venice, Audrey was there to take us under her wing. Venice was even more beautiful than we imagined! Before we left, Audrey had advised us that since the city does cater so heavily to tourists, she would give us a proper Venetian experience. She made sure that we stayed in the right hotel so that we could get the proper local experience, rising in the morning with the city and seeing how things operate before the busloads of visitors arrived. We had coffee at cafes that weren’t overcrowded, ate in restaurants with locals, walked in the neighborhoods where Venetians still lived, and got to see a side of Venice most people miss. After a romantic gondola ride (we didn’t mind being a little touristy), Audrey suggested areas we could go and explore once the sun went down and the tourists returned to the mainland. We were able to feel like we could ‘get lost’ without ever having to worry about where we were.
As soon as we got to Rome, we knew how grateful we were to have such a knowledgeable tour guide! The city felt huge to us compared to our hometown, and was full of so much history that we didn’t know where to turn next. Thankfully, on our way to Rome, Audrey walked us through the smartest way to see all the most important sites while avoiding the worst of the crowds. As much as my wife loves sleeping in, Audrey explained the importance of getting to the Vatican first thing in the morning so that we could have our best chance at seeing the Sistine Chapel without getting completely trampled! We have coffee table books of Italian art at home, but the art in the Chapel was more beautiful than we could have imagined. Before we left, Audrey taught us to throw coins in the Trevi Fountain to ensure that we would return to Italy soon!
We left Florence for the last stop on our list, because Tuscany was the part of the trip we were most excited for. Without telling my wife, I gave Audrey the name of the town that her grandfather was born in, which I knew was close to Florence. Audrey got excited and told me that not only was it right outside the city, but it was also home to one of her favorite wineries and she knew the owners well. She spoke with them ahead of our arrival, and they were more than happy to welcome us for lunch.
On our second day in Florence, after seeing the majesty of Michelangelo’s David the day before, Audrey told us she had a surprise for us. As soon as she saw the name of the town on a road sign, my wife burst into tears and realized where we were headed. The family who owned the winery could not have been more welcoming. They offered to join Audrey and give us a tour of the village before we joined them for lunch. We may be American through and through, but for the first time in our lives we felt fully connected with our Italian roots.
We cannot thank Audrey enough for the trip of a lifetime. She was a lot of fun, and wonderfully knowledgeable about every leg of our journey. While she planned a perfect itinerary, she also understood that my wife would have her own requests once she learned about the trip, and was able to adapt on the fly. We cannot thank her enough for all of her hospitality, and are already saving up for our next big trip!
Planning a vacation to Italy? Audrey helps you make your vacation truly memorable by creating a unique itinerary that promises a personal experience you will not find anywhere else. Contact Audrey to book your very own private tour to Italy with an exclusive itinerary designed around your wishes or learn more about the Travels with Audrey Difference.