Luxury of Time… Dream. Explore. Discover.

Artisinal Cheeses of Podere il Casale

Your journey to Podere il Casale will open your eyes to the culinary joy of non-traditional cheeses and how they are produced. Sandra and Ulisse will welcome you to see their farm that is home to 150 sheep and 30 goats. Their animals live homeopathically so that no chemical residues will reside inside the cheese. This means that they are grazed on a broad variety of herbs and grasses. This makes the milk much more aromatic, so from year to year, the flavors may vary in a subtle fashion. Like all good things, the cheese is made carefully with the highest regard for flavor and aroma. The final product is a savory raw-milk cheese bursting with flavor. At their farm, you will taste their Pecorino and Caprino (goat cheeses) and delicious ricotta too in an informative and eye-opening lunch at the farm. 

While the taste of goat cheese is totally unique, another special attribute is its texture. Nothing else can deliver the same impression of richness without all the fat and calories, and it’s this that distinguishes a goat milk cheese from cow milk versions. 

Overall, artisanal foods involve serious craftsmen applying their personal trademark to centuries-old practices.  They enjoy sharing the results of their labor with the public, showing their love for cheeses through simplicity, tradition, and elegance. 

Cheese Tasting Clip

Extra Virgin Olive Oil; Italy’s Best Kept Secret. 

What is so special about authentic Italian olive oil? Italian olive oil, especially oils that come from family businesses, are made following recipes that are centuries old and passed down from generations. Meet Federico and his family as they show their great passion and enthusiasm for extra virgin olive oil. This tour will give you a new perspective on this much loved (but little known) product – learn about the different nuances good quality extra virgin olive oils can and should have. After a stroll through their beautifully kept olive grove, we will sit down to a delicious home-made meal. You’ll then experience an extremely fun and informative olive oil tasting and pairing with Tania (A professional olive oil taster, the equivalent of a sommelier for wine). Every course is prepared with great love and care by Nonna Maria Pia and will be paired with a different extra-virgin olive oil (own production), including dessert!

After wine, olive oil is perhaps the most famous product from Italy. At Podere Ricavo, no chemicals are involved in the production of their olive oil. They strive to create olive oil as pure and healthy as it can be using traditional processes and newer methods alike. You will be treated to the purest flavor as the liquid gold is added to your gourmet treasures. When it’s time to say goodbye, Federico and Tania will send you home with olive oil that you can continue to enjoy from the comfort of your villa.

What some Americans don’t know is that their olive oil should actually taste very different. In fact, 44% of consumers in the US reported liking the rancidity, fustiness, mustiness and winey flavor in their olive oil, which is considered a defect in fresh olive oil. A good extra virgin olive oil should be fruity, bitter, and pungent. To many people’s surprise, olive oil should actually be a bit peppery. This is an indication of freshness, and should not be considered undesirable. On top of this, olive oil shouldn’t be heavy oil and is best when it’s a dry oil. All in all, a truly good olive oil will be homemade with a family recipe, that can only be found in Italy.

 

Why Foodies Are in Pursuit of the White Truffle

There’s a reason why white truffles are so special. They are nearly exclusive to select areas of Italy and can only be found in the wild from October to December by truffle hunters and their specially trained dogs. After a full day looking for truffles, a fortunate hunter will only find a few truffles varying in weight and quality. From here, white truffles are taken to be sold immediately. White truffles begin losing their flavor from the very moment they are harvested, and some truffles even expire within a week. Truffles past their prime will not only be less expensive but almost completely void of flavor. That’s why having a fresh truffle on your plate in New York will be more expensive than the same truffle offered at the source. To have that truffle fresh, it had to undergo a speedy journey. Although white truffles are only potent for a short window of time, they compensate in flavor and texture. White truffles have an earthy and musky flavor with hints of garlic. A truffle properly handled will be shaved over your plate because this gives the fullest flavor and aroma.

Because of the white truffle’s incredible price, a fortune can be made off of fakes. The white delicacy costs between $2,400 to more than $6,000 per pound. Although, it’s exceptionally rare to discover a truffle that weighs more than a couple of ounces. The white truffle is one of the most expensive substances in the world. “Beware of imposters, the rarity and expense of the true white truffle means imposters are rife. Chances are, if you’ve tasted white truffle, you’ve been eating chemically enhanced tuber borchii — an inferior Italian truffle similar in appearance but incomparable in taste.”(Maureen O’Hare, CNN Travel June 26th, 2017) Tuber borchii is known as the ‘whiteish truffle’ for its uncanny resemblance to the white truffle. “The second-rate truffle is sprayed with a harsh artificial aroma that mimics the smell and taste. “When I go into the restaurant and I get that smell I don’t eat the truffle dish,” says Massimo.”  (Maureen O’Hare, CNN Travel June 26th, 2017)

Unfortunately, the truffle oil you have on the top shelf of your pantry is no exception to this truth. Most truffle oils are made with synthetic flavor that only mimics the real taste of white truffles. “When you eat the pasta with the truffle oil you don’t taste it with your mouth, you taste it with your nose. The gentle, earthy taste of Italian white truffle is too subtle to be preserved in oil or cheese or meat. That’s because the essence of truffle, as modern diners know it, didn’t quite go mainstream until a much cheaper substitute was developed; 2,4-dithiapentane is a chemical reproduction that smells eerily similar to the real stuff. It’s unclear when this synthetic truffle taste and smell was invented, but David Patterson, writer for the New York Times, alludes to having known of its use in the 1990s.” (Maureen O’Hare, CNN Travel June 26th, 2017)In fact, manufacturers only have to include small amounts of truffle to say that their oils are made from truffles, even as little as a gram for a large bottle.

In reality, something as special as the truffle can only be experienced at the source. Truffles can only grow under delicate and precise conditions, and finding them is a difficult process. All in all, a true foodie should know not to trust every label with ‘truffle’ in the name. I have saved the most important reason until last. If you’ve ever got your hands on a really fresh white truffle you will know that the flavor is like nothing else in this world. When people say they don’t get what all the fuss is about, I suspect they’ve been duped with a fake. The only thing comparable to a white truffle is another white truffle.

In the month of November, a well-known truffle festival is held in San Giovanni d’Asso, close to Montalcino in SE Tuscany. This festival has taken place every second and third weekend of November since 1985. Because of tradition, like many Italian celebrations, it includes processions with the townspeople dressed in period costumes with other events unique to specific Italian festivals.

Since the White Truffle grows in rougher terrains and is harder to find and tends to be more physically demanding, it requires a good level of fitness and suitable clothing. Spring and Summer truffles grow in clearings and are easier to find, thus posing less of a challenge (long pants and sturdy walking shoes are still a requirement).  Join Paolo and his dog and spend a few hours in the woods for this very unique outing. During your truffle hunt, you will be given a complete explanation of truffles, how they reproduce, and what their ideal habitat is.

Tuscany Tour PDF

JOIN US FOR A CONVERSATION… 

 We would like to offer you an opportunity to meet the locals like Paolo. More importantly, we offer you conversations with them about the relationship they have with the land, their craft, and how they express and honor the generations that came before them. 

The Crowds Are Gone– Celebrate Tuscan Food & Wine in Autumn All-Inclusive Food & Wine Tour

Alternatively, we offer à la carte options tailored to your unique desires. A la Carte Tailored Experiences

 

 

Positano – The Pearl of the Amalfi Coast!

“Positano bites deep.  It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there, and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone.” -John Steinbeck

For More Information:

 

https://dreamitalianvillastours.com/tours/

 

 

 

Luxury of Time… Dream. Explore. Discover.

Artisinal Cheeses of Podere il Casale

Your journey to Podere il Casale will open your eyes to the culinary joy of non-traditional cheeses and how they are produced. Sandra and Ulisse will welcome you to see their farm that is home to 150 sheep and 30 goats. Their animals live homeopathically so that no chemical residues will reside inside the cheese. This means that they are grazed on a broad variety of herbs and grasses. This makes the milk much more aromatic, so from year to year, the flavors may vary in a subtle fashion. Like all good things, the cheese is made carefully with the highest regard for flavor and aroma. The final product is a savory raw-milk cheese bursting with flavor. At their farm, you will taste their Pecorino and Caprino (goat cheeses) and delicious ricotta too in an informative and eye-opening lunch at the farm. 

While the taste of goat cheese is totally unique, another special attribute is its texture. Nothing else can deliver the same impression of richness without all the fat and calories, and it’s this that distinguishes a goat milk cheese from cow milk versions. 

Overall, artisanal foods involve serious craftsmen applying their personal trademark to centuries-old practices.  They enjoy sharing the results of their labor with the public, showing their love for cheeses through simplicity, tradition, and elegance. 

Cheese Tasting Clip

Extra Virgin Olive Oil; Italy’s Best Kept Secret. 

What is so special about authentic Italian olive oil? Italian olive oil, especially oils that come from family businesses, are made following recipes that are centuries old and passed down from generations. Meet Federico and his family as they show their great passion and enthusiasm for extra virgin olive oil. This tour will give you a new perspective on this much loved (but little known) product – learn about the different nuances good quality extra virgin olive oils can and should have. After a stroll through their beautifully kept olive grove, we will sit down to a delicious home-made meal. You’ll then experience an extremely fun and informative olive oil tasting and pairing with Tania (A professional olive oil taster, the equivalent of a sommelier for wine). Every course is prepared with great love and care by Nonna Maria Pia and will be paired with a different extra-virgin olive oil (own production), including dessert!

After wine, olive oil is perhaps the most famous product from Italy. At Podere Ricavo, no chemicals are involved in the production of their olive oil. They strive to create olive oil as pure and healthy as it can be using traditional processes and newer methods alike. You will be treated to the purest flavor as the liquid gold is added to your gourmet treasures. When it’s time to say goodbye, Federico and Tania will send you home with olive oil that you can continue to enjoy from the comfort of your villa.

What some Americans don’t know is that their olive oil should actually taste very different. In fact, 44% of consumers in the US reported liking the rancidity, fustiness, mustiness and winey flavor in their olive oil, which is considered a defect in fresh olive oil. A good extra virgin olive oil should be fruity, bitter, and pungent. To many people’s surprise, olive oil should actually be a bit peppery. This is an indication of freshness, and should not be considered undesirable. On top of this, olive oil shouldn’t be heavy oil and is best when it’s a dry oil. All in all, a truly good olive oil will be homemade with a family recipe, at that can only be found in Italy.

 

Why Foodies Are in Pursuit of the White Truffle

There’s a reason why white truffles are so special. They are nearly exclusive to select areas of Italy and can only be found in the wild from October to December by truffle hunters and their specially trained dogs. After a full day looking for truffles, a fortunate hunter will only find a few truffles varying in weight and quality. From here, white truffles are taken to be sold immediately. White truffles begin losing their flavor from the very moment they are harvested, and some truffles even expire within a week. Truffles past their prime will not only be less expensive but almost completely void of flavor. That’s why having a fresh truffle on your plate in New York will be more expensive than the same truffle offered at the source. To have that truffle fresh, it had to undergo a speedy journey. Although white truffles are only potent for a short window of time, they compensate in flavor and texture. White truffles have an earthy and musky flavor with hints of garlic. A truffle properly handled will be shaved over your plate because this gives the fullest flavor and aroma.

Because of the white truffle’s incredible price, a fortune can be made off of fakes. The white delicacy costs between $2,400 to more than $6,000 per pound. Although, it’s exceptionally rare to discover a truffle that weighs more than a couple of ounces. The white truffle is one of the most expensive substances in the world. “Beware of imposters, the rarity and expense of the true white truffle means imposters are rife. Chances are, if you’ve tasted white truffle, you’ve been eating chemically enhanced tuber borchii — an inferior Italian truffle similar in appearance but incomparable in taste.”(Maureen O’Hare, CNN Travel June 26th, 2017) Tuber borchii is known as the ‘whiteish truffle’ for its uncanny resemblance to the white truffle. “The second-rate truffle is sprayed with a harsh artificial aroma that mimics the smell and taste. “When I go into the restaurant and I get that smell I don’t eat the truffle dish,” says Massimo.”  (Maureen O’Hare, CNN Travel June 26th, 2017)

Unfortunately, the truffle oil you have on the top shelf of your pantry is no exception to this truth. Most truffle oils are made with synthetic flavor that only mimics the real taste of white truffles. “When you eat the pasta with the truffle oil you don’t taste it with your mouth, you taste it with your nose. The gentle, earthy taste of Italian white truffle is too subtle to be preserved in oil or cheese or meat. That’s because the essence of truffle, as modern diners know it, didn’t quite go mainstream until a much cheaper substitute was developed; 2,4-dithiapentane is a chemical reproduction that smells eerily similar to the real stuff. It’s unclear when this synthetic truffle taste and smell was invented, but David Patterson, writer for the New York Times, alludes to having known of its use in the 1990s.” (Maureen O’Hare, CNN Travel June 26th, 2017)In fact, manufacturers only have to include small amounts of truffle to say that their oils are made from truffles, even as little as a gram for a large bottle.

In reality, something as special as the truffle can only be experienced at the source. Truffles can only grow under delicate and precise conditions, and finding them is a difficult process. All in all, a true foodie should know not to trust every label with ‘truffle’ in the name. I have saved the most important reason until last. If you’ve ever got your hands on a really fresh white truffle you will know that the flavor is like nothing else in this world. When people say they don’t get what all the fuss is about, I suspect they’ve been duped with a fake. The only thing comparable to a white truffle is another white truffle.

In the month of November, a well-known truffle festival is held in San Giovanni d’Asso, close to Montalcino in SE Tuscany. This festival has taken place every second and third weekend of November since 1985. Because of tradition, like many Italian celebrations, it includes processions with the townspeople dressed in period costumes with other events unique to specific Italian festivals.

Since the White Truffle grows in rougher terrains and is harder to find and tends to be more physically demanding, it requires a good level of fitness and suitable clothing. Spring and Summer truffles grow in clearings and are easier to find, thus posing less of a challenge (long pants and sturdy walking shoes are still a requirement).  Join Paolo and his dog and spend a few hours in the woods for this very unique outing. During your truffle hunt, you will be given a complete explanation of truffles, how they reproduce, and what their ideal habitat is.

Tuscany Tour PDF

JOIN US FOR A CONVERSATION… 

 We would like to offer you an opportunity to meet the locals like Paolo. More importantly, we offer you conversations with them about the relationship they have with the land, their craft, and how they express and honor the generations that came before them. 

The Crowds Are Gone– Celebrate Tuscan Food & Wine in Autumn All-Inclusive Food & Wine Tour

Alternatively, we offer à la carte options tailored to your unique desires. A la Carte Tailored Experiences

 

 

Positano – The Pearl of the Amalfi Coast!

“Positano bites deep.  It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there, and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone.” -John Steinbeck

For More Information:

 

https://dreamitalianvillastours.com/tours/

 

 

 

Lemon Orchard

This Business Is a Lemon, and a Family Wants to Keep It That Way

AMALFI, Italy — On a recent spring morning, Luigi Aceto, a hale 78, climbed a ladder in a terraced lemon grove that stretched up the hillside in one of Italy’s most picturesque towns and expertly began snipping lemons into a wicker basket. The sun was shining. The lemons were ripe and as big as fists. The scent of blossoms was intoxicating.

Mr. Aceto, nicknamed Gigino, was born and raised in these lemon groves, where his family has been working for centuries, first as tenant farmers, then as landowners. But with the land on the Amalfi Coast far more valuable today for luxury tourism than boutique lemons, Mr. Aceto worries what the future will bring.

“I have the honor and the burden of bearing witness here to six generations,” he said contemplatively, as he stood on a promontory in the lemon grove, wearing, as it happens, a lemon yellow shirt. He was referring to the three generations that preceded him as well as his own, and those of his two sons and grandchildren.

In many ways, the Aceto family tree mirrors Italy’s transformation from an agrarian peasant society before World War II into an industrial power afterward — and its lingering ambivalence about whether it wants to compete globally or believes its future lies in local traditions. The debate has become more intense since the introduction of the euro in 2002, which raised the price of Italian exports, making it harder for small businesses to compete.

Today, 90 percent of Italian businesses have fewer than 15 employees. The Acetos make a niche product — world-famous lemons, prized for their low acidity and delicate flavor — and like many small Italian businesses, they are reluctant to grow, preferring quality over quantity, tradition over expansion. Mr. Aceto wants the lemon groves and the business to stay in the family.

The Amalfi Coast is known these days as a tourist mecca.Credit :The New York Times

“My two sons work for the business and are dedicated; I count on them,” he said.

Mr. Aceto’s son Marco runs the production side of the company, La Valle dei Mulini, making limoncello liquor, lemon honey and other products from the lemons, which are so sweet you can eat them whole. Marco’s wife works in the family shop selling the products in the town’s touristy main square. Mr. Aceto’s other son, Salvatore, recently left a job as an accountant to come back to work for the family business.

That isn’t always the case for other nearby families, whose children left the lemon groves to go to college and seek professional jobs in the cities. Keeping the lemon groves alive is a constant struggle.

“One of our main goals is to prevent the abandonment of the gardens on the coast,” said Salvatore De Riso, a well-known pastry chef and the president of the Consortium for the Protection of the Amalfi Lemon. “So many have been abandoned, and we’re trying to get them back by involving the owners. We’d like to valorize the Amalfi lemon, which is unique in the world.”

Mr. De Riso said that the consortium, which certifies the quality of lemons in products like limoncello to protect them from low-quality imitations, is trying to help local producers raise production.

The consortium is also trying to get state financing to help the boutique producers stay afloat. But that is a vexed issue in Italy, where in past years, although generally not in Amalfi, the misuse of European Union agricultural subsidies has often made it more lucrative for larger farms to let fruit rot on the tree than to pay the costs of harvesting and transporting it.

Luigi Aceto, whose family has worked in Amalfi for centuries, says he takes care of the “patrimony of humanity.” CreditGianni Cipriano for The New York Times

Although Mr. Aceto helped start the lemon consortium, he no longer wants to be part of it, saying it is pushing small growers like him to produce too much.

Mr. Aceto would also like to sell the lemons himself, and frowns on what he calls “mercenaries,” or wholesalers who buy lemons from small producers and sell them at a markup to larger distributors.

Mr. De Riso disagrees. He said that increasing the quantity of production would help small producers earn more without detracting from the quality. All lemons certified from Amalfi must be of the “sfusato” family, which comes from the Italian word for spindle, because of their pointed ends. These grow only in the microclimate of the Amalfi Coast, where cooling breezes are trapped between steep mountain valleys.

The lemons were first brought to the Amalfi Coast centuries ago on trade routes from the Middle East and were treasured by sailors for warding off scurvy and other ailments at sea.

For the Aceto family, the euro — and the euro crisis — is yet another phase in a long and rich history. Gigino Aceto’s great-grandfather, grandfather and father tended the lemon trees for a local nobleman, when the Italian south had a largely feudal economy. His father was able to buy some land when a local noble family needed an infusion of cash.

The family’s limoncello. CreditGianni Cipriano for The New York Times

Mr. Aceto was born in 1934, the eighth of 13 children; his parents got a special large-family subsidy from Mussolini’s Fascist government. In 1968, he enlarged the plot to about 20 acres with a special 40-year loan from the Italian state at 1 percent interest, part of an agrarian reform aimed at helping farmers buy their own land.

He isn’t nostalgic for the past and still remembers being a child during the war, when the family nearly starved and he and his siblings were sent to gather herbs and anything else edible. “We had relatives in America who sent us packages,” Mr. Aceto recalled. “Now China is taking over. That’s how the times are going.”

Faced with global competition, Mr. Aceto’s son Salvatore is not convinced that the euro is helping small businesses like his. “I’d say no,” he said. “There are lots of positive sides, but the other side of the coin is that we didn’t benefit enough. If we still had the lire, we’d have stayed more competitive as agricultural producers.”

The Aceto lemon groves could be sold for millions of euros for luxury vacation properties, but the family will hear none of it.

“I’m taking care of the patrimony of humanity,” Gigino Aceto said. Planted in a series of stonewalled terraces, the roots of the lemon trees help prevent soil erosion and landslides, a growing problem with the torrential rains of recent years. “The rays of the sun penetrate under the roots, so that the lemon is like a little baby in its cradle,” he said.

“Maybe lemon juice runs in my veins instead of blood,” he added.

After his afternoon nap, Mr. Aceto showed off the family’s smaller plot, high on the hills above the coast. A sweet breeze blew through the lemon grove. The sounds of traffic and water lapping on the shore rose from below. Above were the steep stone walls of the local cemetery. Salvatore Aceto looked up. “Here, even the dead are in paradise,” he said.

Positano Villas Almost Sold Out For 2018- Book Early

If you have not booked your villa dream vacation in Positano for 2018, you might be disappointed.  This destination keeps out performing each season.  Just when we thought you needed to book 12 months in advance, 2018 is mostly sold out and you now need to be considering 2019, even 2020.

Peak season runs May through mid-October, where other parts of Italy you will find lower rates typically September through May.

Please consider joining us in April 2019, when we roll out all of the bells and whistles with our All-Inclusive Villa Tour offering you a turn key & hassle free vacation.  We give you the option to book as a double and join our group of 14 guests with this breathtaking view in the most famous villa atop Positano.  For one week, you will be transported to your multi-million dollar villa, a more affordable vacation than you could do on your own.

We also offer customization for groups of 8, or more.  We create the experience you are dreaming of, from your private chef, wines, spirits, tours, transfers, tips and taxes etc. You then arrive having everything arranged and only need to enjoy your vacation; never tallying the cash register for what you want to do, worry about paying cash upon arrival, or finding tours are sold out, or a multitude of other challenges.

RENTAL CARS & PARKING is Near to Impossible on the Amalfi Coast;  another reason having us arrange your tours with private drivers for you or your group is vital to having a stress free vacation.

Samples of these can be found below for Positano, Tuscany & Puglia

https://dreamitalianvillastours.com/tours/

 

 

Hotels

With our network of hotels throughout Italy, with the Signature Network, we know it will be good!

We feature 4 & 5 Star Hotels and whenever possible, we would suggest a boutique hotel (under 30 rooms).  We prefer charm, over business hotels with oversized lobbies and lots of people.  There is nothing wrong with big hotels, but we just prefer a boutique hotel’s ambiance.  Sometimes location, price, and availability will lead to offering you something larger, and that is OK, too!

Depending on the city & the season, the rate starts around $200 to $1000, per night.  4-Star Hotels peak season, on average, will begin around $450 a night. The city, their availability, etc., will always vary, so this is an example.

If your plans allow you to stay a minimum of 3 nights, we suggest an apartment rental.  Often you will have a more affordable option.  If your budget is 3-Stars, you most likely will be able to buy up to a 4-Star, and likewise, you can upgrade to a 5-Star property with a 4-Star budget.

We do not book hotels asking for 100% payment in advance with a 100% penalty if you cancel.  If you prefer to shave a few dollars (maybe 100 euro for the week), we recommend that you book directly. If you’re looking for a new experience altogether, try staying in an Italian Villa.

Villa Rentals

Apartment Rentals

Apartment Rentals are on the rise, and for good reason; they often offer a more affordable alternative to hotels.

Often you can have a 3-Star budget and book a 4-Star experience, or you can take your 4-Star budget and receive a 5-Star experience.

Most apartments range in size from a studio, 1 bedroom, 2-3 bedrooms.  There are limited options for 4, or 5 bedroom apartments.

Massage Services

We Offer Private Massages at Your Villa!

Relax in your chosen villa with a private massage therapist.

We can offer you a list of top massage therapist with expertise in one of the many specialties: Holistic Massage, Relaxing Massage, Deep Tissue Massage, Sport Massage, Pregnancy Massage, Aromatherapy Massage, Lymphatic Drainage, and Reiki.

Tuscany – Lucia Calo, Massage Therapist

Lucia, born in Rome, has travelled around the world in search of inspiration and techniques, with the aim of using massage to attain well being for the body, the mind, and the spirit.

She arrived in Val d’Orcia, four years ago and fell in love with the landscape, the people, the way of life.  Since then, this valley has become her home.

Lucia brings all her knowledge and expertise from her travels, from India to Australia, Bali, and Thailand.  She shares the secrets of these age-old civilizations and their massage techniques.

Lucia also offers beauty salon services: manicures, pedicures, waxing, and make-up.

Wine Excursions

We would be happy to arrange half, or full day wine tours, but as you can read from the article below, there are numerous regions and choices.  Please give us your preferences, time frame, and budget, and we will make a recommendation for you.

Wine Folly 

Getting into Italian wine is a never-ending adventure of new wines to taste. The book Wine Grapes identifies 377 unique indigenous wine grapes in Italy. With the existence of biotypes or sub varieties (genetically the same but with morphological and physiological differences), many believe this number is much higher. Add on to this 408 D.O.P. (Denominazioni di Origine Protetta) or regional wine quality denominations (DOC + DOCG), many of which have multiple styles, and you have an even larger number. To put it into perspective, if you tasted a new Italian wine each week, it would take you 20 years to taste your way through Italy.

If you tasted a new Italian wine each week, it would take you 20 years to taste your way through Italy.

Fortunately, each of Italy’s 20 regions specializes in just a few primary wines and this is where you can start. Below you’ll find a list of Italy’s 20 major regions (see link below) their vineyard plantings (from 2010), and their major varieties or wine blends along with a few tasting notes to describe them. There are 51 wines listed below and if you’ve tried them all, you’ll gain a profound understanding of Italian wine.

Full article- http://winefolly.com/review/italian-wine-exploration-map/

 

Culinary Experiences

 

Every corner of Italy has its own unique cuisine, and we are here to help you find the best experience.  Whether you want a full week of cooking, or just a cooking class for half of a day, or no cooking, we offer a variety of food-related outings. Our food and wine tours in Italy give just about any foodie a vacation they’ve dreamed about.

If you enjoy spending time with like-minded people who are passionate about food and wine, we recommend one of our All-Inclusive Villa Tours.  These are limited to 14 to 16 guests and cater to people who want some exclusive behind the scene food and wine-related experiences. For more information: https://dreamitalianvillastours.com/tours/

Walking Tours in Historic Centers

One of the most memorable experiences you will have in your travels is a guided tour of the historical centers.  Nothing will ever compare to a private guide who can bring the rich history alive through their storytelling.

You can always take your guide books, rent headphones, or go with a tour group and follow the leader with their colored flag.  Do you want to be in a large group of 20+ as you stand around trying to hear your guide? We didn’t think so.

With us, a private guide will be spending 3-4 hours being responsive to what interests you; while you are taken back in time. In most instances, our Italy guided tour packages will cost 350 euros for 3- 4 hours.  If you are a group of up to 12, the same price applies. You will also be able to enter in through a separate door and not stand in line.

Entrance tickets are extra but are nominal.  Museums are not open 7-days a week, and hours vary.

You will want to book your private guide in advance, especially during peak season.

Do not delay, please contact us for your own Italy guided tour package!

 

Transfers & Private Driver Guides

Often your best vacation is experiencing the destination, instead of stressing on how to get somewhere.  May we recommend private drivers for either your transfers from point to point, or private drivers for tours.

We offer private transfers from the airport/hotel, or pier throughout Italy.  Rome Airport to the city center is around 65 euro.  Yes, you can take a taxi, but after hours of travel, there is nothing better than having someone waiting outside of customs with your name on a sign.

Another reason for hiring drivers for your tours, is due to limited parking in many Italian cities/towns. Even when you can find parking it can be quirky, and not often, are there consistent means to pay for parking.  In the U.S. we take for granted that there are machines that allow you to use your credit card, or an attendant to take your payment.  Not true when traveling throughout Italy.

Sampling of tours

Florence a walking city; you cannot have a car in the historic center without a permit.  They are only issued daily by the police station.  May we suggest a guided walking tour, based on your interest.  You will want a full 3 days to scratch the surface of Florence, or opt for a driver for one of those days, to visit the Tuscan Countryside.

Tuscany Half Day Tours from Florence: Siena, Pisa, Lucca, Sangimignano and the Chianti wine region.  Full day excursions are available to Cinque Terre, Pisa/Lucca and Montepulciano/Montalcino; the Brunello Wine Region

Rome may we suggest a 3-hour city tour with a  driver, who will take you to all of the sites to give you a broad perspective. A walking guided tour of the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican, a must!

Amalfi Coast: Sorrento, Naples, Positano, Praiano, Amalfi, Ravello, Pompeii.   The Amalfi Coast is a 30 mile stretch of arguably the most scenic coastline in the world.  We highly recommend drivers and guides due to traffic & limited parking.  We also suggest water taxis that travel up and down the coast.

Venice a city with no cars made up of 113 islands.  We suggest a guided walking tour of Venice and water taxis to take you to the outer islands of Murano and Burano.

 

Customizable Group Villa Tours

Are you looking for a one of a kind experience? You have come to the right place!  We specialize in group travel, whether it’s a milestone celebration, a special interest group, (yoga, painting classes, etc.) sales incentive, or a conference, we will take care of all the details. Experience real Italy in an Italian Villa. We offer special incentives for groups of 14 or more.

Please let us help you plan your perfect group dream vacation or business meeting! We offer a wide variety of tours for just about anyone. Our Italy Food Tour package is great for the foodie in your group! With this tour, you’ll try food that Italy is famous for, and some you’ve never heard of. You’ll also experience wine tastings and spectacular restaurants.

Background Image 1

All Inclusive 7-Day Villa Tours

A villa rental offers a hassle free vacation option. Much like cruises, you unpack only once & they are more affordable than you might imagine.

You can add a villa to any cruise, or other land tours in Europe with a quick inter-Europe flight, or choose as your entire vacation in a region of Italy that is on your bucket list.

Villas rent Saturday to Saturday; great for those short on vacation time, or extend as you wish.
A wonderful option when you want to travel with a group of your friends & family or, especially well suited for multi-generational travel when celebrating those special milestones.

Arrival back to your villa after a day of touring is very celebratory! The anticipation of dinner while you wander in the kitchen to see what your private chef is preparing. The smells of the freshest ingredients & authentic cuisine catered to your groups preferences will soon be ready.

The evening is full of conversation sharing the days stories! Instead of sailing to the next port, or moving to another hotel you imagine what lies ahead knowing a whole day of new experiences await. The bar doesn’t close since this is your own private oasis, but when you are ready, your beautiful & spacious en suite bedroom awaits you.

Or, you may opt to join one of our all-inclusive hosted villa tours & just book as a double. Click here for more details.

BC & First Class Flight Options

Should you need assistance with booking Business, or First Class flights, please let us know. Through our Signature Network we have access to several carriers.