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 as Italy receives millions of visitors each year. Even suggestions from friends are most often based on their own experiences as a tourist. Unless you actually know a local in the know 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.
Why Choose a Small Group Tour for Your Vacation in Italy?
When you think of traveling to Italy, what comes to mind? The Colosseum, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the canals of Venice? While these are all iconic tourist destinations, they only scratch the surface of what this wonderful country offers. To truly experience Italy like a local, you must go off the beaten path and explore its lesser-known regions. You want and authentic and genuine travel experience, you want to avoid the crowds, maybe you have traveled to Italy before and have seen Florence and Rome and now wish to see places that are not on the main tourist trail. As your local hosts, we welcome you to our home region as friends, showing you special gems and sites that most overlook and introducing you to the regional food specialties.
A small group tour with us is one of the best ways to really get to know Italy. On our cultural vacations you explore northern Italy with a local host, myself, and a group of eight guests (max 12), visiting the kitchens, and family businesses of real Italians. Each experience is authentic, off-the-beaten-path and carefully chosen. We like to say our small group tours give our guests 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 is different, but the same 5 reasons kept coming up.
Here are 5 reasons to choose a small group tour for your vacation in Italy with Travels with Audrey:
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. Shirley 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 Friuli-Venezia Giulia is my husband’s home region, and my personal deep knowledge of Italy, I personally lead all of our small group tours, having built lasting relationships with the local producers and guides. We are not only your hosts showing you Italy but we are welcoming you into our way of life and giving you an inside-look into the lives of our 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. We take you take you off the beaten path to places 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 myself as your local dedicated host from the moment your tour begins. I take care of every detail – transportation, hotels, food and experiences – and give you flexibility to enjoy each day to the fullest. Beyond being flexible, we also spend time getting to know you and can adjust the day’s activities based on your interests and preferred level of activity. Our goal is to give you the best possible experience, every day of your trip with us.
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.”
5. Travel without sacrificing free time
In addition to daily excursions, you will have down time to relax or explore on your own – it’s your vacation! We always ensure you have time to make your own discoveries in your time at leisure.
By the end of one of our cultural vacations, you will have experienced insider access to our local way of life in our home region of Friuli, visited hidden gems, explored back roads and small towns, gained a deeper appreciation and understanding of the local culture and seasonal traditions in a way few tourists do.
Where else do we offer small group tours?
Although our cultural vacations are based in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, and we specialize in northern Italy, each year we offer extensions to our tours to different locations in Italy like Slovenia and Istria, or Veneto and Trentino Alto Adige. Every year we also offer small group tours to other countries in Europe like Spain, Germany and Austria. Because we focus on quality, and not quantity, these trips are offered on a limited basis, and only once per year.