OUR FRIENDS SAY
MRS M MCCABE (USA), Portugal 11 Days, September/October 2019
Hi Aldo, I am home safe & sound.I am very happy I found secret Italia tours.God bless you & your beautiful wife for the tremendous service you are giving.The hotels were tip-top notch with service of excellence & such beauty! The places we visited were breathtakingly beautiful & extremely interesting. The food was delicious in all the hotels & the restaurants you chose.I felt very safe & cared for (you know how nervous I was before I left).My sister in law also loved every moment.I can not give enough praises.Louisa was very helpful, kind & absolutely brilliant!!!!A human encyclopedia- and always with a smile.Sergio is the best driver ever and NEVER took his eyes off the road. The attractions were magnificent.Thank you very much for a trip of a lifetime!!!!
MR AND MRS ELIPORI (USA), Puglia & Basilicata October 2019
My husband and I were searching the internet for a small group tour specifically covering the Puglia region of Italy when we came across Secret Italia Tours. Their Puglia/Basilicata itinerary fit the bill perfectly but we were at first hesitant to book the trip because Secret Italia was very small compared to the bigger and more well-known tour companies out there. After reading reviews and speaking personally with Aldo by phone several times, not only did we book the Puglia tour, Aldo also worked with us to put together a private four day add-on tour of the Amalfi coast. We just got back a week ago and can honestly say it was one of the most wonderful travel experiences we have ever hadAll accommodations were in small boutique hotels located in or very close to the city center.In addition to breakfast, included meals each day, either a lunch or a dinner, highlighted the specialties of the region and left us all quite full and very happy! From the olives, cheeses and Salumi, to the grilled vegetables, fresh pastas and seafood, pizza, taralli, and luscious desserts, we were simply in food heaven!While we stayed in four different cities, we also visited many small towns along the way with ample free time for exploring. There were also wine tastings, an olive oil tasting, a hands-on bread-making experience, Sunday dinner at a family-run working farm, and a cheese making demonstration, among other things, which were all informative and fun.Our trip was made even more enjoyable by Paola, our guide. Not only was she very well-organized, professional, knowledgeable, warm and friendly, she also had a wonderful sense of humor. Truly a delight to be with!All other elements of the trip like transfers to/from airport or train station, luggage handling, bus transport throughout the tour, communications regarding payments, final itinerary and other pertinent info, were all excellent. During our separate personalized Amalfi tour, the outstanding service continued with great drivers and tour guides as we visited Amalfi, Ravello, Positano, Sorrento and Pompei. Aldo checked in with us daily to make sure everything was perfect!If you’re thinking about using Secret Italia Tours for your next vacation, don’t hesitate another moment. You will NOT be disappointed!
MR AND MRS ILIFFE (AUSTRALIA), Sicily 12 days October 2019
We had a wonderful tour with Luca! Everything, from the itinerary, the hotels, the experiences, the excellent driver Giuseppe, and of course the beautiful Luca, was all that one could wish for in providing an excellent overview of Sicily for first-time visitors.We are glad that we travelled with Secret Italia and will recommend it to others.
MRS J MITCHELL (CANADA) Sicily 12 days October 2019
My husband and I just finished our 11 day Secret Italia tour with Luca. It was one of the best tours we have ever been on and Luca was fantastic.The attention to detail was evident, the pace of the tour was perfect, the activities well planned and the variety greatly appreciated.The quality and location. of the hotels excellent and the food experiences fantastic. Our only complaint is that we put on a few pounds.A very special thanks and acknowledgement to Luca. His caring, thoughtful and professional manner are to be commended. We also loved his sense of humor and of course his beautiful voice which touched us all.Our tour group was also exceptional. We all got along so well and commented many times how much we liked travelling with a smaller group of travellers. The van we traveled in was very comfortable and our driver Giuseppe was very good. We felt safe and relaxed.You have truly discovered the secret of what it takes to create an exceptional tour experience and we will definitely spread the word.
MR AND MRS TAYLOR, AUSTRALIA Sicily and Malta September 2019
We are now back in Australia and trying to get ourselves back into the right time zone.We wanted to tell you how much we enjoyed both of our trips.We love Malta!!!!!It is surprising how little people know about Malta, so we have been spreading the news.The itinerary was very well balanced with plenty to see and always plenty to eat and drink. From Band Clubs to amazing restaurants and from ancient ruins to beautiful churches.The crystal clear blue water and the contrast of the cream stone buildings.We were blessed with an engaging group of people with whom to share our experiences and have a good laugh.We also need to thank Cynthia who was an amazing guide.She was extremely knowledgeable and she exudes a love for her country. She was very caring and always attentive to any of our needs.Not that there were many because the tour was so well organised.We are telling everyone to GO TO MALTA it is really beautiful and despite its size there is PLENTY TO DO.Sicily was also an amazing experience and again our group was a great mix of wonderful people. There were so many wonderful shared experiences and great discussions.We have told them all that they should go to Malta!!Sicily was an extensive tour packed with so many wonderful things to see and we wouldn’t have wanted to miss any of them. So much history in such a small country. Amazingly intact ancient ruins and UNESCO listed churches,wine, salt, olives and olive oil and beautiful small towns. Something interesting and different every day from the Mafia to the opera.We have to make a special mention of the amazing Rosi. The enjoyment of our tour was definitely helped by her engaging personality, her incredible knowledge and her wonderful sense of humour.
Her care for everyone on the tour, whatever their needs and particularly her help and care on the night that David was injured and had to make a little trip to hospital. That definitely was one occasion when I desperately wished that I spoke Sicilian. I would love to have understood what she was saying to those boys on the bikes.Thank you again. It was so good to meet you both in Malta. We will definitely be spreading the news about your wonderful Secret Italia Tours.
MS L MILLER,USA Sicily September 2019
I just wanted to let you know what an amazing experience I had on our tour of Sicily.You made my experience in Sicily more than I could have ever expected.Every tour guide was so knowledgeable and passionate about what they guided us through and taught us about.The food!! Oh my heavens every single meal without exception on the tour was so incredibly delicious.The restaurants of the highest quality and the staff so warm, welcoming and so attentive. I’ve never stayed in such wonderful and beautiful hotels.I felt like the rich and famous when I was there.It was obvious that you put in a lot of work to make our tour of Sicily so incredible! You also did a marvelous job putting us together with Luca. He truly made our time is Sicily the best it could have been!
MR AND MRS BLACKWELL, USA Sicily September 2019
MR AND MRS RANDALL, USA, Sicily September 2019
We would like to take a moment to say how much we enjoyed our recent small-group tour of Sicily. After having a wonderful experience last year on Secret Italia’s Spain tour, we were concerned that our expectations for this year’s tour might be set too high. Would the hotels meet the same high standards of comfort, location, and service? Would the included meals be as thoughtfully selected, flavorful, and interesting, and introduce us to the unique cuisine and culture of this island? Would the local guides at our various stops succeed in bringing to life the long and varied history of the island in an interesting and engaging way? And what about the pace of the trip? Would we spend enough time in each location to actually get to know these places? And at the same time, would we cover enough of the island to understand its diversity and contrasts? And last but not least, would our Sicily tour director and driver provide the same exceptional level of service that we experienced last year? The answers, of course, are yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes! Simply stated, this tour was excellent in every way. Secret Italia puts a great deal of thought and planning into their tours, and it shows in every respect. We especially want to acknowledge our tour director, Rosaria.What a gem! Thoroughly professional, very well prepared, engaging, and cheerful. She was always happy to recommend a restaurant, make a reservation, or suggest points of interest to explore in our free time. And she succeeded in keeping our group focused and on schedule throughout the trip, all the while maintaining her bubbly sense of humor. One could not ask for better service. In short, we thoroughly enjoyed our small-group tour of Sicily, and we are already looking forward to our next Secret Italia adventure.
MRS J LUBIN USA, Puglia & Basilicata, September 2019
I am writing to tell you that this tour was excellent!. Lodging was first-class, and I have never eaten better in my life!Paola is an exceptional tour leader, so knowledgeable and fun. She turned our group into a merry band of explorers. I would recommend Secret Italia Tours, without hesitation, to anyone.Thank you for organizing this wonderful itinerary, and all of its perfect details.
MR AND MRS DAWBARN,UK- Sardinia & Corsica tour September 2019
That was a really super trip to Sardinia and Corsica that you organised for us. Fully lived up to all the standards in Pulia and Sicily. Paola also was an exceptionally good guide and with her knowledge and personality was just right for the clientele. We seemed to get on very well with our fellow travellers, which is an added bonus for a trip like this. It was nice to meet Katrin on the last day. Please pass on our thanks and regards to her.
MR AND MRS WISE, USA -Andalucia tour, September 2019
Let me convey how much Charles and I enjoyed the Secret tour of Andulucía and Southern Spain. There were so many special highlights and fabulous lunches and dinners. The tour offered such a nice combination of well situated charming boutique hotels that give you a sense of life in a different place and time as well as marvelous luxury hotels. So many delicious dinners, lunches and food experiences offered a real delight of tastes and flavors, plus the outstanding sherry and wine tastings. It was a congenial group of veteran Secret travelers guided by the lovely Laura.We were delighted with Ronda and so glad it was included in the itinerary. Lovely hotel with astonishing view and what a great local guide we had there too.Too many highlights to mention each but the sherry winery tour at Gonzalez Byass in Jerez was terrific and what fine sherries we sampled! The cooking class for paella was absolutely the best– even though it was also fun to learn how to make marzipan and we’ve had some great experiences making bread, pizza and pasta on other Secret tours. Charles thought the Equestrian Performance in Cordoba was the best of all. For me, hard to choose one from this tour but I must say the Flamenco performance in Sevilla took my breath away as did the many architectural wonders we saw. We were so lucky to be in Cordoba to see the incredible religious processions, just an extraordinary added bonus.
MRS NUCIFORA (AUSTRALIA), Puglia & Basilicata September 2019
Thank you for giving me such a wonderful experience of the Puglia tour. We had a marvelous time and saw some things that I would not have known about if I went on my own. Aberobello was just so picturesque and Poglinagno al Mare was breath taking. The different flavors of food we tasted was so diverse and delicious. Paola our guide was excellent and went above and beyond to help everyone and also with the headache that Alitalia gave us at the end of our wonderful trip!!! Paola is the best guide I have ever had; she is a wealth of knowledge. How can she remember all the history of the beautiful churches and frescoes etc? The hotels were all pleasant and the experience in Matera was unique. The restaurant in Matera was beautiful as it was all lit up with fairy lights and wonderful food. Trani was a beautiful hotel and a lovely place to end our tour. The whole tour was very well thought through and diverse from the cheese making to the Nonna Maria’s pasta day to the lovely vineyard “Roses” wine tasting to watching the grapes brought to the wine factory. Thank you for such a wonderful experience of Puglia.
M CANTER (USA) Sicily, September 2019
GINA MARONEY (USA) Sicily, September 2019
Thank you for an amazing trip experience.My family and I had a wonderful time.Every aspect of the trip was first class – the hotels, the transportation, the restaurants, and the ‘extras’.Andrea our bus driver was kind and friendly.Our tour guide Luca made the trip extra special! He was so knowledgeable and friendly. He was prompt and kept us on schedule. His patience with us ‘old people’ was heart warming. He even sang to us several times – he has a beautiful voice – you should use him in your advertising ;-)Other things that were extra special about the trip – the local expert tour guides that were arranged for each venue were wonderful. The lunch at the local home was so special – we enjoyed talking with the Alesandro and hearing his perspective of life in and out of his town. The visit to the olive grove was breathtaking. The vineyard tour was spectacular. The food at all locations was delicious. We all really enjoyed the pistachio pasta at the vineyard and the waiter was kind enough to provide me with the recipe.Each place holds special memories for me.Thanks to you and your team, especially Luca for making this the trip of a lifetime.I hope to travel with your team again soon.
ELIZABETH BELOFF (USA), Sicily September 2019
I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed our tour of Sicily.Our accommodations were wonderful, luckily I was Mary’s roommate and got to share the deluxe hotel rooms! Also all of the restaurants were excellent. My favorite was Rita, Susanna and Alessandro’s home.Our driver Andrea was excellent on all of the difficult roads up and down the mountains.And Luca was a remarkable tour guide. Our entire family fell in love with him! He is a very special person. So personable, knowledgeable, and talented.Everything combined made for an unforgettable vacation with family and friends. Thank you again. Looking forward to my next Secret Italia trip!
MR AND MRS TYNDALL (CANADA), Sardinia & Corsica September 2019
Aldo, our first experience with Secret Italia was amazing in every way! The hotels were wonderful; small, intimate, clean, and unlike the large chain hotels that big tours go to. The meals that you provided were an experience in itself! We have travelled all over the world, mostly on our own. So we were very grateful for the care that Paola and Luca provided!Paola was truly a most amazing guide. Professional, knowledgeable, polite and patient. She is a tribute to your business and I hope you continue to use her as a guide.
MR AND MRS LOWE (USA) Sicily, September 2019
We have just completed the delightful Secret Italia tour of Sicily, the highlight of our month vacation here in Italy. After reading the many favorable reviews on your website, we had high expectations for the the trip, which, thanks to your carefully planned itinerary and your wonderful guide Rosaria, were far exceeded.The hotels and restaurants on the tour were of the highest quality, the meals included generous quantities of food and wine, the pacing was comfortable but jam packed with interesting experiences and lovely scenery. Best of all was the company and guidance of Rosaria. My husband and I have done a great deal of traveling over the last 50 plus years, so it is no small compliment to say that Rosaria is one of the very best guides we have ever had. She was knowledgeable, informative, entertaining, caring and dedicated to making sure that we had the best experience possible. Everyone in the group was charmed by her delightful personality and sense of humor. She was a big reason why our group gelled so together so comfortably. Thank you for the lovely Tour of Sicily and for sharing Rosaria with us.
MR AND MRS MANDAVILLE (USA) September 2019
I wanted to share with you the delight I had during the tour in Sicily. My great-grandparents left Sicily for New York with my one year old grandmother in 1891. They never returned! Their future generations have celebrated our Sicilian heritage ever since.The tour you provided gave me a glimpse of the life they had as well as the richness of their past! I am sure they never saw many of the areas we explored on the tour! As a result of their hard work and pride my life has been extremely blessed.I know many other tour companies would have shown us churches, ruins, palaces, markets, theaters, mosaics, temples, Mount Etna and other historical sites. Your tour went beyond!!I was most impressed with the effort you made happen reflecting the values that have continued generation after generation by individual families: Salt pans and windmills, Olive oil groves, Winery tour, Dining with a family in their home – interesting conversations with the youngest member of the family, hearing his prospective of challenges in Sicily today.Sicilian life has always been about family!!!There were several random acts of kindness: Champagne on the boat ride, olive oil gift,lemon cello to name a few.I was also impressed with the choices of hotels – each was unique and reflected a completely different flavor of life in Sicily.Your choice of guides were outstanding. I could understand every word and they were knowledgeable and friendly.Last but certainly not least, I so enjoyed Rosaria! I am interested in farming, plants and most certainly food (which was unbelievable on this trip!!), Rosaria’s shared many facts about the landscape, terrain, and the months of harvest of each crop. All the food we ate were so fresh and to be able to see the actual plants was wonderful. Rosaria’s sharing furthered my knowledge of why food is so diverse in Sicily.There are some foods I love I did not get while I was there because they are not in season.I also was amazed at how Rosaria was able to keep us all on the desired time frame! This is an art and she is really good at it!I could go on and on but I can sum it up by saying “Thank you for an unforgettable experience!”
MR AND MRS BIANCO (USA) SICILY, Sept 2019
MR AND MRS THOMAS (USA), Provence July 3
MR AND MRS HORNE (USA) Portugal May 28
We thoroughly enjoyed our tour of Portugal and have been telling all of our friends about it. How special it was that Katrin was in Lisbon and spent some time with us. Typically, you do not meet the owners of a tour company. It was a wonderful personal touch that is much appreciated. We loved the fact that we went to some of the less tourist places and had an opportunity to take time to experience Portugal and not just look at all of the well-known tourist sites (even though we saw them all as well). We thoroughly enjoyed all of the meals that you provided–especially the Quinta in Evora–they were all top-notch. It was a wonderful opportunity that you just don’t get on traditional group tours. We were grateful to have some time on our own to explore and have meals. Great balance! Our guide Isabel was fantastic. She kept us on schedule; yet, we never felt rushed. She even managed the two tour members that had difficulty walking in a way that didn’t cost the rest of us too much time in waiting for them. The extras that you included were much appreciated. We enjoyed the olive oil tasting in Evora, the lunch in a convent, and the dinner at the convent hotel in Evora. The fact that everyone on the tour seemed happy and didn’t complain had to be due to the careful planning, the wonderful meals, the lovely accommodations, and an outstanding guide.As a result, we are even more excited about our upcoming trips to Puglia and Sicily than we were before we experienced Portugal.
MR AND MRS HUXLEY (USA) Portugal and Madeira Island, May 2019
We thoroughly enjoyed our recent tour of Portugal with our small congenial group of 12 and Isabel, our outstanding tour guide.She was very patient with the variety of personalities and abilities our group, and she adapted readily to any changes that were necessary.Personally it was an additional treat to have Katrin with us for a few days and get to know her. The two of you make a great team!Portugal has a rich history in addition to a varied and beautiful natural landscape. Isabel, having lived here most of her life, is very skilled in bringing this all to life with her extensive knowledge of Portugal’s political and cultural history, as well as the current environment in Portugal. She was able to address every topic we asked about.Our bus drivers were very good especially Sergio, who was with us for for two thirds of the trip. He was always prompt and exceptionally attentive, always standing outside the bus to help us on and off, and was a very careful driver! I would highly recommend him.The itinerary was well thought out, our accommodations were excellent, and there were great meals arranged with interesting wines. All these factors came together to provide a small group tour that exceeded our expectations, and we would highly recommend the Portugal tour.Our trip to Madeira Island was a real treat as well as having our own private driver/guide Aurelio. He has spent his life on Madeira and willingly shared his deep knowledge and understanding of the history and culture of the island. His knowledge of local plants and all things botanical is amazing. He was very helpful in getting us oriented, taking us to many significant viewpoints and providing us with useful information on points of interest we could explore at our leisure.We would highly recommend Aurelio as a guide and careful driver.Madeira Island is an amazing place to visit, both for its physical beauty and its relaxed atmosphere. The Quintinha Såo Joāo was a very nice hotel situated in a neighborhood with a reasonable downhill walk into town. The food service was very good for all meals with an amazing wine selection, and the wait staff was exceptionally personable. Our most memorable experience was the trip to Eira do Serrado, when we drove above the clouds and walked to the spectacular viewpoint high above the valley…it felt like we were in the Alps.We highly recommend the tour to Madeira Island.
MR AND MRS BATTISTA (CANADA), Sicily May 11
MR AND MRS MUIR (USA), Sicily May 27
We really enjoyed the wonderful itinerary throughout beautiful Sicilia, that took us to vibrant cities, ancient towns, well protected and preserved ancient ruins – led by local guides with great insight and passion. The owner, Aldo, and his staff were available by email prior to our tour help us make arrangements. Traveling by comfortable 20 seat van, or taxied about in luxury cars, with our excellent driver, Giuseppe, and fun tour guide, Rosario, we stayed in hotels, both welcoming and lovely. We dined in fine local restaurants, enjoyed new foods and local wines. We were really shown the best of Sicily. Fun experiences of opera, boat trip around Ortigia, lunch with a local family, Etna wine tastings and more made the trip unique! This no ordinary tour. Secret Italia strives to share the local scene as the locals enjoy it, and they succeed!
MR AND MRS DUNN (USA), Calabria & Puglia tour May 2019
Hi Aldo: Don and I returned from Italy on Sunday. We had the most wonderful time.Thank you for such a great trip. Everything was so perfect . You have put a lot of work into guaranteeing such an experience.All the hotels were amazing, food beyond amazing, and tours exceptional.We felt your presence every step of the way.Our pre trip to Calabria was also great. The family that owned the hotel(Barber) treated us as if we were part of their family and took very good care of us. The guides were fun – mother for 1/2 day tour and then her son for the next day all day tour. Thank you for checking in on us while we were there.I must say Paula, not sure how to spell her name, our guide was the best guide we have every had and we have traveled all around the world.. Europe, Asian countries, African Countries,South American countries, etc, etc.etc.all the Every time we praised her she thanked us and always gave you and Katrina credit. She said she was just the face on the trip but the real praise goes to both of you. How many people do you know would do that.?? She was very humble and everybody loved her.Also would you mail us your catalog of all of your trips. I understand that there may be two more trips not in catalog which Paula passed around on the van one day. We are thinking of taking a river cruise to Provence,France and would like to go to Normandy as well. We are not interested in Paris as a pre or post trip since we have been there many times.Gracie, Grazie, Grazie – Thank you, Thank you, Thank you
MR AND MRS BOWDEN (CANADA) Puglia & Sicily tour May 2019
MR AND MRS KOVACS (USA) Sardinia & Corsica, May 25
Ciao Aldo,This has been a wonderful experience….we have enjoyed every day, each city we visited and certainly the amazing cuisine. Last night our dinner in the hills of Bastia was a perfect ending…quite a special place.The trip was enhanced by the attention to detail of Piero..he has a very pleasant personality and his singing and guitar playing was an added bonus. Gigi, too, was very nice.
MR AND MRS MARANVILLE (USA), Sardinia & Corsica May 25
Jim and I wanted you to know that the Sardinia/ Corsica trip was wonderful. Beyond our expectations. The hotel rooms, and the ones with a sea view, were spectacular. Piero’s sharing of his knowledge of the Islands was a great learning experience. The vistas, the wine makers, the bread maker, the olive oil master-all wonderful. And then the food- fabulous just thinking of the various foods and desserts make me want dinner. For me Sardegna was the best. Jim and were able to include a pre/trip visit to reacquaint with a 1st cousin, that I had not seen in 35 years , and his family. At the end of the tour, we flew to Marseille to reacquaint with a 1st cousin I had not seen in 65 years! They were special visits. I say thank you very much and who knows there could be another Secret Italia trip in our future
MR AND MRS STERLING (USA) Sicily, May 24
Sam and I would like to thank you for your wonderful Sicily Land of Contrast Tour! In 2016 we went with Paola on your Unknown Puglia and Matera Delights and we had a fabulous time. So many beautiful villages and wonderful food! We still talk about it to friends.While on that tour we met other couples who had taken your Sicily tour and highly recommended it. They were enthusiastic about recommending it, in fact! So it was on our list as a “must do”.We loved every minute of Sicily Land of Contrast! We are still basking in the memories of the beautiful sights, wonderful people, the history and the great food. Our only regret is that we wished we had more time there! We love the special touches that you provide on your tours from knowledgeable local guides to the visits for a lovely lunch at the olive oil farm (what a delightful treat!), the delicious home made lunch at the farm in Mitogio and the Palazzo visit. Such personal encounters with the “real Italy” help to make your tours so special.We have to also praise the wonderful meals at the restaurants you chose – we enjoyed and took pictures of every feast!Last but not least I want to share that we loved traveling with Luca. He was a fabulous tour leader! He helped to make this trip one of our favorites. He was very thoughtful and also quite entertaining. Luca went above and beyond helping us with things – like making reservations, sending a package home from the post office and arranging for a cab for us to go to a performance in Syracuse. He was very attentive to us all and also made sure that we were pleased with our hotel rooms – which we were, indeed! We especially loved our hotel in Taormina. We have and will continue to recommend your tours to our family and friends!
MR AND MRS SANTISI (USA) SICILY MAY 24
MR AND MRS MALKIN, USA (SICILY MAY 11,2019)
LINDA WALL, USA (MALTA MAY 8,2019)
We are still traveling around Italy, but I wanted to get in our review of the Malta trip before I forgot. Everything was perfect, from the hotels to the food and especially our guide Cynthia. Cynthia was very knowledgeable and interesting. She provided us with historical time lines as well as events of the day. If we return to Malta we would definitely ask for Cynthia.Thanks for a fun and interesting trip.The group size was perfect. We had personal attention. We will direct our friends to the Secrets of Italia website for a perfect island tour.
FRANCES DUNLEVIE, AUSTRALIA (SICILY MAY 11,2019)
Thank you for organizing the Sicily tour- it was wonderful. Every place was special in its own way and all were interesting with so much to see and do. Hotels were good and the organisation was excellent. The dinner with the family was a lovely surprise. The cars and bus were great and Guiseppi Is a great driver – felt completely safe on the narrow roads.However, even with the beautiful hotels , towns and activities the tour would not have been as successful without Rosaria. Her knowledge of places, her determination to ensure everyone had a great time, her willingness to answer any question / sort any problem and most important her abundant enthusiasm and wonderful personality made the trip. She is a gem and an asset to your company. I would go on any tour where Rosaria was a guide.
JANIS MACKAY (AUSTRALIA) SICILY MARCH 2019
Thank you for your thoughtfulness with the room upgrades and the welcome bottle of wine. The accommodation throughout the tour was excellent. In fact everything about the tour was excellent and March was an ideal time to visit your beloved Sicily, the weather was perfect.The tour was wonderful and Luca was outstanding in every aspect. He took care of our group in his quiet unassuming manner, gave generously of his time and nothing was too much trouble for him.At our street food experience in Ortigia severe strong winds had staff holding down the awning of the restaurant to prevent it blowing off. Following lunch we were to walk back to the hotel and although the wind had eased Luca suggested for our safety we would instead take the car back to the hotel. A couple of fellow travelers wanted to walk but Luca quietly said we would all go back by car demonstrating his professionalism in taking no chances with our safety ensuring we all got back to the hotel safely.After a discussion on the history of Sicily’s occupation and without asking him, that evening Luca had a copy of the timeline for us. This, the giving of the Mimosa flowers on Women’s Day and other acts of thoughtfulness show the care and dedication he has for his role. Luca’s knowledge, love and passion for Sicily was infectious making this a memorable tour.Until my next Secret Italia tour, my thanks again Aldo and best wishes.
MRS BLACKSTONE (CANADA), SICILY MARCH 2019
I wanted to write and let you know how much we enjoyed Secret Italia’s tour of Sicily earlier this month.It has been my dream to visit the island for some time now, but I must say the tour exceeded our expectations, not only because we were surprised at the breadth and beauty of both Sicily’s landscape and its fascinating history, but also because your choice of restaurants and other interesting venues helped give us an in-depth perspective on the local foods, wine and people of the island.Being strangers to the area and not speaking the language, it’s something we could not have done on our own. The time we spent there was jam-packed with activity, which is something we look for in a vacation, and we came away full of great memories.Finally, I’d like to say how much our guide Luca added to the experience. We felt like royalty as he took care of all the things – such as drivers, local guides and restaurant reservations – that often make visiting a new country a confusing and sometimes harrowing experience. Luca’s extensive knowledge of the island’s history and culture, his clear communication about where we were going or why plans might have to change, as well as his fun and friendly personality, made us all fall in love with him, something you warned us would happen in one of your pre-tour information reports!We surely will recommend Secret Italia’s Sicily tour as a terrific way to enjoy this part of the world.
MR AND MRS CASPROWITZ (CANADA) SICILY MARCH 2019
Our Secret Italia Tour in early March surpassed all of our expectations. We experienced Sicily from so many aspects– historical, cultural, archaeological, geographical and gastronomic. I must comment you on your choices of places to see and visit. We appreciated having guides to enrich our knowledge about each venue and the variety of things we saw made the trip much more interesting. The accommodations were excellent, particularly our place in Syracuse. We loved having a driver, never having to pull our wallets and being able to just sit back and enjoy the scenery.The trip was made very special because of Luca. He freely shared the history of Sicily and how it evolved into present day Sicily. He treated us like royalty, kept us informed of our day’s plans and attended every need. He has a friendly and out-going personality and made the trip very personable and pleasant. You have a gem of an employee in Luca. Thank you! One final comment. We were so glad we took the tour when we did. The weather was perfect, not too hot, pleasantly warm. At each of the archaeological sites there were not hoards of crowds and we could take photos without a single person in them. I know you were disappointed that more people did not sign up but don’t give up. March was a wonderful time and if you want a referral about this time of year, please do not hesitate to give out my e-mail address.
MS YEEQ AND MS SAVIANO (USA), SICILY APRIL 27,2019
The Sicily tour with Luca was amazing! There are so many highlights of this trip – meeting Katrin and having her with us for the 1st day, the mosaics in the Palermo churches and at Monreale, the salt pans in Trapani, all the Greek and Roman ruins, Corleone (Gino the local guide was one of the best local guides), the food, the hotels, and the other travelers in our group, and, of course, Luca. It was all good!! (So good that Linda and I decided to book your Andalusia tour instead of going with another tour company.). Luca managed all the logistics professionally and efficiently, and he is so personable! His passion and enthusiasm for Sicily made the trip memorable. Loved all the times he sang us a song. I am now spoiled for the small group experience (small group as in no more than 14 persons to a group)! Thank you to you and Katrin for providing such a wonderful Sicily tour and experience.
MS AMY HYATT (USA), PUGLIA APRIL 29,2019
Having just gotten back from your fantastic Puglia and Basilicata tour, I just wanted to thank you both and let you know how pleased I was with this trip. First of all the hotels and the food were excellent. The hotels were right in the middle of town so we could walk to everything and the service and staff were great. There was a good mix of scheduled and free time. I loved the activities you arranged for us– from bread making to paper-mache. There was something wonderful each day– Lecce, Matera, the trulli houses.The group was great and very congenial , and small enough to get into local restaurants, etc. Leaving the best for last, there was Paola our extremely knowledgeable, funny and highly capable guide, who led us with wisdom, patience and humor. I look forward to my next tour with you.
MR AND MRS VARANI (USA), SICILY APRIL 27,2019
My husband, Jerry, and I want you to know how much we enjoyed our recent tour of Sicily (April 27-May 8). I found your company online a year or two ago and was intrigued by the “small-group” concept. I was looking for a tour of Sicily and compared your itinerary with that of Tauck (with whom we have traveled several times) and Smithsonian, and we liked the Secret Italia itinerary the best for a number of reasons. But reading about an itinerary and actually going on the trip are two different things! It was in the travel itself that we actually realized what a simply lovely itinerary you had pulled together. The hotels were all wonderful and in great locations. The restaurants you chose for lunch and dinner were very outstanding. We especially enjoyed the lunch we had with Susanna and her mother Rita at their home. Please extend our thanks to them for opening their home to us and for providing us with a wonderful meal. It had to be a lot of work for them to prepare all those courses for 15 people, but they were so gracious and welcoming to us.The local guides you selected were all top-notch and we learned so much on this trip. That’s what we love about traveling – expanding our horizons and being exposed to things/ideas that we might not otherwise have the opportunity to learn.Now about Luca! We were delighted to have Luca as our Tour Director. He is intelligent, knowledgeable, well-spoken, a capable group leader, and most important – fun and enjoyable to be with. He sang for us on occasion and that added a whole different dimension to the trip – it made it very special. We cannot say enough about how much Luca contributed to the success of the trip.And, Katrin, it meant so much to us that you were there for our welcome dinner and first day. It shows how committed you are to making sure that Secret Italia continues to have the quality that you and Aldo envision for your company. We wish you both much success and happiness in the future.
ANNETTE AND TONY LOMBARDI, USA (PUGLIA- APRIL 29,2019)
MR AND MRS BEAVER (USA)
Hello Aldo,We returned from our wonderful trip to Sicily. We are so pleased that there was a spot for us on short notice. The trip was fantastic! Our group was easy and friendly—and most of all our guide, Luca was superb!!! He is excellent—so good at age 26! The pace, places we stayed, the sights we saw—you have put together an outstanding tour. We are hoping to look at Puglia for next year.Best wishes to you.
MR DAVID CLARKE (AUSTRALIA)
Aldo and Katrin,Just a short note to thank you for the wonderful tour of Puglia and Basilicata I undertook in September / October this year. The itinerary, organisation, accommodation and the food experiences were fantastic, made all the more enjoyable by your host the irrepressible Paola. She is an absolute gem and fun, fun, fun. Just more evidence of the care and attention you have taken in designing your tours.Your tour also offers so much value as there were several times when as a group we were so satisfied with included lunches etc. that we did not feel the need to outlay a lot for the meals that were nominated at our expense.After having toured all over Italy the past 3 years I am now planning to tour Portugal and Andalucia and after my wonderful Puglia experience I would like to do that with your company.With your Portugal tours being so heavily booked for 2019 I am considering 2020, and hopefully your program for that year will be structured in a way that it will be possible to do both tours back to back without too long a break in between. I will continue to watch your website and perhaps you could also keep me in mind and give me an early reminder when your 2020 program is finalized
MR AND MRS PATERSON (UK)
Hi Aldo,Just back from our tour of Sardinia and Corsica. Yet another great trip. All the hotels were lovely. We really liked both the owner and the amenities of the Palazzo in Oristano and would happily stay there again. As for our beautiful room in Ajaccio. I felt so spoilt! Wish I had extended the tour to take in Calvi. A couple more days would have been perfection. Piero was a great guide, very knowledgeable and full of enthusiasm for the history of his country. All learnt a great deal from him.In all another triumph. Cannot wait for the next one!
MR AND MRS GREENBERG (USA)
Aldo—My wife, Leslie, and I just returned from our 12-day tour with your company. We had the very best time!!! Thank you so much for organizing such a terrific trip. Every “piece of the puzzle” was top notch—hotels, food, tours, bus ride, airport transfers, etc. We will definitely be joining you again for another European tour as will some of our friends whom we communicated with along the way. Piero,our tour guide was excellent…and a very nice human being as well. Ciao for now and keep up the good work!
MARCELLE ROGERS (UK)
I would like to thank you for organizing so perfectly my memorable trip to Puglia. The hotels and restaurant choices were excellent.The educational tours were entertaining and memorable. In addition, all this was brought together by the professional Paola whose attention to details, caring attitude and keen ability to go beyond the call of duty was truly appreciated by me and the others. Paola’s warmth and historical knowledge made my trip with SECRET ITALIA very special indeed. She is a credit to your company.I look forward to doing another tour with you hopefully in the not too distant future.
LORRAINE FREEDBERG (UK)
MRS ROSEMARY KNIGHT (AUSTRALIA)
Thanks so much for the amazing tour we had. It has been absolutely enchanting and wonderful in every way. Highly recommend them. Francesca our guide astounds me. Very well informed, smart, funny and lots of fun as well as incredibly skillful at dealing with all our guides, hotels and excursions. I’ve visited Sicily twice but this time, I’ve finally understood this complex pot pouri with its convoluted history of invasion by almost everyone over the centuries. I’ve also met some enchanting new friends and had so much fun getting to know them “.Finally, I love your new information pack with maps and more details and very clear instructions for arrival and what to expect in Europe. It’s very well explained and great. You just seem to go from strength to strength and now I’m sure you can’t do better! I think I will have to find another of your tours for next year!! Francesca has me hooked.Also I thought I might send you an excerpt from an email I sent today to many friends and family. “Perhaps the most beautiful and ornate churches in the world, extraordinary seafood markets and incredible pistachio pastries and cassata gelati, home of the Mafia and amazing wineries alongside the best preserved Greek and Roman ruins in Europe. This is the contradiction and enigma of Sicily; the island of contradictions and surprises!I’ve been on another outstanding “Secret Italia” small group tour (whom I traveled with to Portugal).
MR AND MRS DAVIS (USA)
I did want to take the opportunity to tell you how much Andrew and I enjoyed our May trip to Sicily. We loved the itinerary, the pace, the sights…but most of all, the trip was made special by our fabulous guide Rosaria. She is truly a gem, Aldo (but we’re guessing you already know that)…so knowledgeable, personable, and enthusiastic.She communicated her special feeling for Sicily and shared so many personal experiences and viewpoints. She was also very patient and did a fine job of bringing the group together in creative ways.
MR AND MRS FOX (USA)
Arthur and I thoroughly enjoyed our trip in Sicily! The choice of itinerary, locations to stop and places to see were perfectly chosen. A trip, however, is more than beautiful places and delicious food. It was our wonderful tour guide, Rosaria, who drew the group together, took good care of our needs and was cheerful and good natured and enthusiastic throughout the trip. She communicated her love of Sicily and allowed us to experience the island through her eyes. Marco was an excellent and patient driver. He and Rosaria were a good team! The city guides were all very good. We loved every thing we saw, temples, archaeological sites, Opera House, cities, hill towns. We especially enjoyed the vineyard and home visits, because they afforded an opportunity to spend time with Sicilians in different walks of life
MR ALSCHULER AND MRS HENDLER (USA)
Dear Aldo,Sorry for the delay, but we did want to let you know what a wonderful time we had on the Sicily tour last month.The itinerary was terrific – both inclusive and varied. By the end, we felt we had explored so many places, and had so many experiences that we would never been able to find on our own. The activity level for the tour was perfectly paced, with a great balance of planned activities and free time. The group lunches and dinners were all well done and delicious. Rosaria was fabulous. She was knowledgeable, well organized, warm, friendly, and concerned that each of us have the best possible experience. She gave us some great advice and watched over our food carefully to make sure that Roberta was not served anything she is allergic to. She coped expertly with unexpected problems, such as a food festival that caused an unexpected traffic and parking problem. Her pride in being from Sicily, and her joy in sharing its wonders and secrets with us was infectious, and made the whole trip special.We also appreciated how well you and Katrin run the company, both in your planning and in your correspondence with us before the tour. All in all, it was a great trip and we would definitely recommend your tour to anyone planning a trip to Sicily.
MR AND MRS WHITMORE (AUSTRALIA)
Our small group tour of Malta and Gozo was excellent and we would have to say that it was one of the best organised tours on which we have been. Owing to your thorough research, planning and organisation no detail appeared to be missed in the itinerary for this tour. The choice of the boutique hotel in Valletta was an excellent choice for its ideal central location and the hotel’s management by Fabian and his supportive staff. The experiences we gained of the local culture by way of street food, small family restaurants, and fine dining, churches, towns and ancient sites were insightful. Cynthia, our superb guide was very knowledgeable and informative and added to our great experience. The Gozo portion of this tour is something not to be missed. Congratulations to all your team for our fabulous tour
MR AND MRS WISE (USA)
Just back from Portugal and we had a marvelous time. This tour was an extraordinary experience for us offering many intimate insights into Portugal. So many unforgettable moments beyond the impressive structures and critical highlights: beautiful gardens, wonderful vineyard tours and tasting experiences, marvelous culinary experiences, the stellar and unique hotels, the charming “off the beaten path” village finds, and the private Duoro River cruise. Our tour itinerary demonstrated the careful selection of special tour elements and premium venues combined with excellent value that are the signature of a Secret Tour. We’d highly recommend this tour of Portugal. Thanks to everyone at Secret and the great tour guides.
MR AND MRS CASTELLANA (USA)
MRS GLORIA FOX (USA)
MR AND MRS CRANDALL (USA)
MRS K GALLAGHER (USA)
Aldo: The trip met all of our hopes and more! Rosaria was an exceptional guide and trip organizer. She was very knowledgeable about Sicily and its history and taught us some Italian words and gestures (the gestures were the most fun!). The entire trip ran like a well oiled machine. Every detail (bags transfer, lunches, dinners, local tour guides) was precisely on time. She made it all look effortless with her patient and enthusiastic personality. She also created a very friendly atmosphere on the trip so that our group immediately bound with each other—a very important part of traveling for 12 days with new acquaintances. We will definitely (and have already) recommended this tour to friends
MR AND MRS WEAVER (USA)
Another great tour from Secret Italia – excellent guide (Cynthia) fine hotels, outstanding restaurants. We love the way you include many local experiences to give us a feel of Malta and its vast history. We continue to tell our friends of your outstanding tours. We look forward to another one in the future. Harold and Betsy.
MR AND MRS DEMARINO (USA)
Our trip to Sicily, thanks to you and Rosaria was wonderful!To be a good traveler one has to be able to roll with those glitches that pop up. Your trip had zero glitches and went as a well planned and executed quality experience.Our local guides and Rosaria were high caliber, knowledgeable and charming. Everywhere we went the people were incredibly warm.This is our second trip with Secret Italia and we enthusiastically praise your standards. Feel free to use us as a reference. We would love to meet you one day too! But until then Thank you for making us another memorable trip
MR AND MRS DEMARINO (USA)
Our trip to Sicily, thanks to you and Rosaria was wonderful! To be a good traveler one has to be able to roll with those glitches that pop up. Your trip had zero glitches and went as a well planned and executed quality experience.Our local guides and Rosaria were high caliber, knowledgeable and charming. Everywhere we went the people were incredibly warm.This is our second trip with Secret Italia and we enthusiastically praise your standards. Feel free to use us as a reference.We would love to meet you one day too! But until then Thank you for making us another memorable trip
MRS FISHER AND MRS BURKE (USA)
On behalf of both Karen and me, thank you so much for a wonderful Malta experience! We really appreciated our wonderful guide Cynthia, the great itinerary you created for us, and the personal attention you gave us throughout our trip, including making that last-minute change for us. We will happily recommend your company to everyone!
MR AND MRS ARMOUR (CANADA)
We are both grateful for a lovely trip which exceeded our expectations. You must be very proud of the people who work for you. All the drivers, private tour guides and special events people where very punctual and professional. Rosaria was so delightful to be with. As a Sicilian, she gave us a true experience. Her cheerful, accommodating style was a breath of fresh air.In the future, we would like to holiday in Puglia or Croatia – so you will probably hear from us again.
MR AND MRS ODINOV (USA)
Aldo, as our visit to Sicily comes to a close, we wanted to tell you how wonderful the past 11 days have been for us. Sicily is such a beautiful island with a rich history and culture, and the charm of Rosaria truly made all of this come alive for us; she is a jewel. Don’t lose her. We have been on several Tauck tours in Europe. Your daily guides, the itinerary that you choose, the intimacy of the boutique hotels along the way, and the restaurants that are chosen provide an experience that they cannot duplicate. We will be forever thankful that we found Secret Italia, and we hope to see you again.
DONNA CRAWLEY (USA)
Dear Aldo:I was on the Sicily Secret Italia tour last April. I had a fantastic time!!! I can not thank you and your staff enough for making this trip one of my favorite trips of all time. The hotels, restaurants, and daily activities were so inspiring, educational, and fun. I will never forget my trip to Sicily. I felt so at home.Roseria and Antonio (our driver) made the trip so special!!! Roseria was so enthusiastic, knowledgeable, professional, and delightful. She has a gift of servanthood: finding restaurants & ATM machines, making reservations, helping with our confusing Alitalia flights, and so much more. Antonio was professional and pleasant. We felt so safe with him driving us around the narrow and curving roads of Sicily. Every day was an adventure for us!!! I will highly recommend Secret Italia Tours to all my traveling friends.
JENNY HANE (USA)
Aldo, Sorry for my delay but I came home to a wedding and out of town guests! I have nothing but the highest praise for Rosaria and the entire trip you planned for us in Sicily Apr 16-27! It far exceeded my expectations and I know that much of that is in the planning on your part, but we especially loved Rosaria. She has such exceptional charm ,knowledge, and a love of Sicily. She was engaging, witty, and extremely exuberant EVERY SINGLE day! WE never tired of her vivacious enthusiasm. Surely she is THE BEST and we felt so very lucky to have her be our guide! The hotels were all superb. Loved especially the Villa Schuler and the Maniace in Siracusa. The country hotel with it’s lovely gardena and view of the temples was special too. We liked staying in one place more than one night, and 3 or 4 nights in these fine places were terrific. Antonio was a safe and fun bus driver. His smile greeted us each day and the comfortable Mercedes bus with seat chargers for our phones and devices was a bonus! The food was amazing, and so plentiful that after a 4 course lunch, we could not eat supper, but gelato was never far away. So in this way it was very economical. I think I only paid to have a meal out once or twice, and it was never as good as the ones Secret Italia had provided. We loved the experience of having a meal with a Sicilian family, as well as the beautiful meal at the vineyard and the wine and olive oil tasting with the Baron. You have truly captured the best of Sicily, and I will recommend this company to many friends. Please know that we all left Sicily after many beautiful sights and wonderful experiences, but we will especially carry our friendship with Rosaria in our hearts forever! We hope she will come visit us in Charleston, SC. Please share this with her. Best wishes for many more perfect Sicily trips!
MR AND MRS BRAYBON (AUSTRALIA)
Gary and I have just returned home to Melbourne and I wanted to express our delight with our recent tour in Puglia with Paola and 10 other wonderful fellow travellers.The tour covered so many different aspects of the area and we were able to gain a real sense of the area and the people. Paola is amazing, intelligent, knowledgeable and seriously personable.Her manner with a small group of people is respectful but very engaging, enabling each member of the group to feel catered for and acknowledged.Paola is one of the best guides we have ever had the privilege to share a journey with and her professionalism and warmth enhanced this small group tour.The itinerary was fantastic, enabling us to enjoy a great variety of experiences in an informed,interesting manner yet allowing enough time to explore and enjoy the different locations without a feeling of being rushed.The different meals were wonderful and the choice of restaurants and the variety of styles enabled us to appreciate the culinary delights of the region.A fantastic trip and we would recommend your tours to all fellow travellers. I have read you new brochure, [a very stunning presentation] and would now like some more detail about the tours in regard to dates
MR AND MRS BAKER (USA)
Peter and I would like to thank you for organizing a great tour of Puglia with a wonderful and exciting itinerary, fabulous food, great wine, unforgettable experiences and beautiful accommodations.Most of all, we would like to thank you for our tour guide, Paola. It was an absolute pleasure to have Paola as our travel guide for our amazing 10-day tour of Puglia. From the start to the conclusion of our tour, Paola’s effervescent personality, genuine caring, engaging enthusiasm, pleasant sense of humor, and passion her heritage endeared her to our entire group. As we traveled throughout Puglia, Paola skillfully intertwined the rich history, multicultural features, and enchanting local charm of each captivating region of the Italian boot. During our planned free time, Paola would engage each couple and recommend various sites to explore, ensuring that their personal interests would be accommodated.Saying good bye was particularly emotional for all because of Paola’s endearing kindness and sincerity. Our itinerary exposed us to the wonderful region of Southern Italy but Paola’s presence every single day dramatically enhanced our wonderful travel experience. Kudos to the Secret Italia Tours for having such a unique, one of a kind professional on their team.
JOANNE CRAW (USA)
Dear Aldo, Please know that my recent tour of Sicily with Rosaria was wonderful!!!She was such a lovely person to deal with and took very good care of us all. She was quite knowledgeable about the country and all the beautiful sights we saw.I am telling all my friends here in the US about your tour company and would hope I can return to Italy myself one day soon and I would gladly use your tour company! Being of Italian decent ( Naples) I enjoyed all the food and wines of Sicily and was amazed how beautiful it was. Please send my regards to her and thank you for all your work planning and setting up this tour.The hotels were perfect and the service was outstanding.Best wishes for continued success with Secret Tours.
SUSAN KANE (USA)
I just completed the Sicily tour and wanted to let you know what a wonderful experience it was. You have a real treasure in Rosaria. Her knowledge and enthusiasm were contagious. The whole group bonded and were unified in our admiration for Rosaria.The hotels were very nice, especially the final villa in Taormina.I could go on and on about the food, but that too was terrific. Many thanks to Secret Italia!
MR AND MRS WEISSMAN (USA)
We have to thank you so much for the terrific trip! Everyone in our group agreed that the tour exceeded our expectations! It was a delight from beginning to end. The itinerary was intense but all worthwhile. Of course, as I’m sure you know, Rosaria was wonderful. She managed everything beautifully; she put all her considerable energy into making sure that all went smoothly. All the hotels were very good and the food was always excellent. We didn’t have to worry about what we would do when we were on our own for dinner because most of the time we were too full from lunch to bother with dinner. Oh, and I should mention how good Marco was–an excellent driver. One suggestion for music on the bus–add a little classical and opera. Well, thank you again. We will recommend Secret Italia highly and I’ll do a Trip Advisor piece in the next few days.
MR AND MRS WHITE (USA)
We were brand new to the ‘group tour’ experience. Each new day had us thinking about how selecting the Secret Italia tour was so much the right choice for this trip. We had a terrific time. The itinerary, the mix and balance each day, the choices of sites, and the pacing showed that our tour was designed with care, not merely assembled. That we were getting a sense of Sicily, not just checking off sites to see.Rosaria was a wonder for her energy, enthusiasm, and unwavering helpfulness.And for transforming a mix of cautious strangers into a group of traveling friends.
MR AND MRS MOON (AUSTRALIA)
Our tour of Puglia and Basilicata was perfect. The itinerary, accommodation and transport were excellent. The included meals were great but as always on Secret Italia tours we ate too much! Even the weather was perfect with warm sunshine every day. Then there was our guide, Paola. We knew from the first friendly greeting we had a treasure here. She shared her considerable knowledge with enthusiasm and ensured our tour ran smoothly. Her warmth and humour were contagious and by the end of our tour she had become not just a wonderful guide but a real friend. We have recommended Secret Italia Tours many times and will continue to do so. Our extension to Altomonte in Calabria was a delightful surprise. The little hill town is set in beautiful country close to the Pollino National Park. Our three night stay in the family run Hotel was faultless. Our room was large and comfortable with a view to the old town with its castle and cathedral. The family have a passion for local food and culture and a commitment to fresh local produce much of which comes from their own garden. With great food and excellent service the hotel is definitely a place we would recommend. The day trip to Albanian villages of the Pollino National Park also provided surprises. The scenery was spectacular and the villages fascinating.
JACKIE MELVILLE (CANADA)
I am am writing to thank you for an amazing tour of Sicily. At the end of each day we thought it couldn’t get any better, and then the next day it did. Rosaria was so helpful, so knowledgeable and so lively. She was always in such good spirits. The hotels were lovely and the food tremendous.Thanks to your careful planning we experienced a variety of Sicilian foods and enjoyed a range of activities that were sometimes educational – and sometimes just plain fun. This is truly a trip to remember
MR AND MRS FLYNN (AUSTRALIA)
We have finally returned home to Australia after two months in Europe/U.K. and we would like you to know how much we enjoyed our tours with your company (Puglia/Basilicata and Sicily). Very well organized. Everything ran like clockwork. Beautiful accommodation, delicious food, interesting experiences, comfortable vehicles with excellent drivers. However, the ‘icing on the cake’ were the two tours managers, Paula and Daniela.True professionals, excellent knowledge, enthusiasm and love for their regions and a great sense of fun. If the rest of your tour managers are of the same caliber as these two ladies, you must have a very successful business. You appear to have the knack of choosing the right people and we hope you thoroughly appreciate them. We hope to travel with your company again one day.
MR AND MRS CALDER (NEW ZEALAND)
We were looking forward to this tour having heard and read so much about the history, the architecture, the food, and this tour delivered it all, and more. In the safe friendly hands of our guide, Rosaria, the layers of Sicily were revealed. Her knowledge and love of her home came through. (She is a gem) Great driver Antonio took us through Sicily, from Palermo, Agrigento, Syracuse and on to Taormina. His calm expertise behind the wheel was acknowledged by the group we travelled with. We have been home a week now and I still miss hearing Rosaria’s bright greeting each day of” buongiorno”. Simple lunches of wonderful seasonal fresh foods, the best pasta in the world, dinners in local trattorias, and a very special meal with a family in their home. Don’t just read my review, go for it, book it, and experience for yourself. With Rosaria, and the knowledgeable local guides, you will have a great time
MRS VIRGINIA MCCORMAC (USA
Bonnie Morosi and I traveled with your tour in May and it was wonderful! Your planning and choice of hotels and sites were memorable. The lunch with Rita and Suzanne was excellent and what lovely people. Christian, our driver, was so professional and a pleasure to be with as we drove from one destination to another. Our guides were knowledgeable and informative, and I streamed 245 pictures home with typed descriptions. Coming to Sicily connected me to my heritage and I felt as though I had visited family. Thank you for the pristine planning and for checking on every day to make sure we were happy. I will visit Sicily often. I am encouraging my friends to visit Sicily and use Secret Italia tours. It was a remarkable two weeks!
MR AND MRS PASSIONE (USA)
We want to thank Secret Italia for their organization, coordination and production of a GREAT TOUR.The 12 Days Sicily Small Group tour exceeded our expectations. The hotels were all very good. The excursions, food, wine and motor coach were all first class. The itinerary was full but worth every minute. Aldo was easy to contact, very responsive to our questions and concerns and a pleasure to work with. Our guide Rosaria was fantastic. Her professionalism, attention to detail, enthusiastic personality and knowledge made the tour amazing. Marco, our driver, was exceptional. He navigated the challenging Sicilian roads with ease. Thank you for a very memorable vacation.
MRS PERRON (USA)
We had an amazing time on the Sardinia and Corsica tour.Every hotel was wonderful.They were all clean, comfortable, and had gorgeous views.And it was great that a good breakfast was included every day. We enjoyed all the cities, towns, and sites we visited. The pace was excellent where we got to see a lot but were not totally exhausted at the end of the day! The tour guides were all fascinating and especially helpful and friendly. We learned so much! We enjoyed having the free time to explore the cities on our own, too. We had so many delicious meals that we told everyone we went on an eating vacation and did a little sightseeing, too. Our tour mates were terrific, and our bus transfers were easy and comfortable. I’m so glad I didn’t have to drive on those curvy mountain roads, but instead got to enjoy all the fabulous vistas.It was a true vacation since we didn’t have to worry about anything. We just showed up at the appointed time and everything was handled seamlessly. We thoroughly enjoyed every minute and can’t wait to take another Secret Italia tour again soon. Thanks for all you did for us, Aldo, we appreciated it so much. You exceeded every expectation in every way
DEBBIE DIETER (USA)
It was such a memorable trip. Portugal was beautiful and the people were so friendly and welcoming. Such beautiful country and our experience was so varied that I felt we got a great “feel” for all of Portugal . Carla was an excellent guide. She was knowledgeable, fun, and had great positive energy. She is such a positive addition to the Secret team. She added so much to the experience. This hotels were all excellent. I liked the variety and locations of all of them. The idea of a small, unusual hotel well located to the heart of the town was very appealing to me. The staff and the food at each were excellent. Our meals at the wineries were unforgettable. Not only were they delicious and located in beautiful settings, we had a chance to talk with the locals. I really liked the fact that the group was small. It made for great comradery and we could experience more and different things than a larger group can.
The trip to Madeira was the frosting on the cake. It is such a beautiful, enchanting place. I thoroughly enjoyed it and found it was so relaxing. The hotel was exceptional. It was beautiful and so quiet and peaceful.The restaurant there was very high quality and we enjoyed all our meals there including 3 dinners.
Trust the Locals is an excellent way to describe your trips. We were able to have a quality and unforgettable experience. Great job to all your Secret team and a huge thanks to you.
DAVID AND HILARY BIRTWHISTLE (AUSTRALIA)
My wife Hilary and I participated in the Secret Portugal tour conducted in May 2016.I have to say that we thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. The carefully-designed itinerary covered many of the most of historical and interesting parts of the very beautiful country. The small buses were comfortable and facilitated access to areas such as the tightly-winding roads through the terraces of the Douro where the views were remarkable. Meals provided in the wineries were excellent. All of the hotels were very good and we found travelling with a small, friendly group added to the holiday experience.Our guide Carla gave us good insights into the history and the customs and way of life of Portugal.She was an outstanding tour leader,always pleasant, nothing was too much trouble and she constantly ensured that we were doing things that we enjoyed. I really appreciated her depth of knowledge and sense of humour. Her patient explanations and stories about the country considerably added to our enjoyment of the tour
LINDA GRADO (USA)
Just a note to tell you what a wonderful time we had! Our trip was perfect in every way, from the excellent tour guides and drivers, great hotels and beautiful locations, we couldn’t have asked for anything more. Several friends have asked about our tour and we’ve gladly referred them to your website and told them what a great job you do!
We look forward to planning another trip with you in the future, but until then, thank you so much for making the Amalfi Coast such a memorable experience!
BARBARA MCNAMARA (USA)
Aldo, As we leave Catania for Rome and the flight back to the US tomorrow, just wanted to take a moment to let you know what a wonderful time we had in Sicily. Our Guide Daniela could not have been any better; friendly, knowledgeable, and obviously well organized. She was particularly attuned to individual needs. The local guides used were also very good. We take away very fond memories of Sicily, its history, charm and its beauty thanks to Secret Italia and to Daniela
MR AND MRS DREIER (USA)
Aldo, Thank you, thank you, thank you! My husband and I had a fabulous time on your Sicily tour May 13. You, and your team did a fantastic job of accommodating our every need. It was first class all the way from the airport transfers, to the hotels, to the restaurants. Everything we did depicted the lifestyle and culture of Sicily, we experienced and learned a lot. It is hard to say what our most memorable time was because they all were memorable. Rosaria is a rare gem! She is a very good guide, always concerned that everyone is happy and satisfied. She is very upbeat and it shows that she loves her job.Thank you Rosaria for all you did. Aldo, thank you for going the extra mile to have champagne for us on our 30th anniversary, that was an unexpected treat. We look forward to touring with you again
MR AND MRS DEMARINO (USA)
Our trip to Portugal, thanks to you was beyond perfection. Not a single thing went wrong. Adrienne and I travel a few times each year, but have never been in the special unique places that you included in our Portugal trip. The lunch spots were something out of a movie set!Carla was incredibly warm and wonderful and an EXCEPTIONAL caliber tour guide. We came home raving to our friends and family that Portugal is a wonderful place to visit and you must use Secret Italia.Please feel free to use us as a reference- We look forward to planning another trip with you again
MR AND MRS JOHNSON (USA)
I want to take the time to let you know how much we enjoyed our small group tour in Puglia. Everything about it was wonderful……the sights, the hotels, the food and especially Paola, our guide. She was knowledgeable and always looked out for our group. But the best part was her personality and the joy she took in her work. She was always cheerful, even when we asked stupid questions, and such a crazy, fun person. You truly have a gem in her and I would love to take another tour with her. The tour was well planned, not too many hours driving and interesting activities in which we could participate. Each day seemed to be better than the last one. I would highly recommend SecretItalia Tours and plan to take another of your tours in the future. Thank you for a wonderful trip and good memories
JACKIE MELVILLE (CANADA)
I am am writing to thank you for an amazing tour of Sicily. At the end of each day we thought it couldn’t get any better, and then the next day it did. Rosaria was so helpful, so knowledgeable and so lively. She was always in such good spirits. The hotels were lovely and the food tremendous.Thanks to your careful planning we experienced a variety of Sicilian foods and enjoyed a range of activities that were sometimes educational – and sometimes just plain fun. This is truly a trip to remember.
ROSEMARY VILLANI (CANADA)
Just completed the amazing Sardinia and Corsica tour with Secret Italia. Many many thanks to Aldo for this wonderful experience and his endless energy and cheerfulness to make this trip go off without any problems. The sites, accommodations, restaurants, size of the group and pace was top notch – way surpassed my expectation. He made sure all of the details were to your satisfaction. Thanks also to Ricardo for guiding us and Stefano for driving us around Sardinia. And to Sandy for driving us to our destinations in Sardinia.I highly recommend this tour with Secret Italia. It’s well worth it.
LAURA BETTS (AUSTRALIA)
Dear Aldo and Katrin, Thanks so much for a my recently completed small group tour of Andalusia. This was my first visit to Spain and is the first time I’ve taken an organised tour – I truly enjoyed having someone else look after all the details! The local guides in each place we visited were exceptional as were the hotels and restaurants. Our tour leader Laura deserves a very special thank you for her personal attention and great recommendations for our free time in each place we visited. An unforgettable experience – highly recommended!
ANDY MCHENRY (USA)
Hello Aldo, I hope you are recovering well from our tour and enjoying time at home with your family. Since I returned to work I have been raving about the tour! You run an excellent operation. All of the details are mastered and that makes it go so smoothly. We fully enjoyed both islands and all of the experiences. We can even get Sardinian Cannonau and Monica at the nearby wine store! Again, thanks for making it great.
SALLY TUCKER (USA)
Dear Aldo, Thank you so very much for one of the most memorable trips I have ever taken…MALTA You convinced me that the way to see the world is in small groups. Your Secret Italia Tours of Malta was perfection, touching on every aspect of truly getting to know and enjoy the area you are visiting and its history. I have already started to recommend you and your trips to my relatives and friends. It was a pleasure getting to know you and experiencing the personal commitment you have to your guests.
MR AND MRS HUXLEY (USA)
Our tour of Sicily was the first group tour we have ever taken and it exceeded our expectations. Aldo has done an exceptional job of selecting locations, hotels and the daily itinerary. He was always responsive to our inquiries and accommodating for special requests eg. additional nights,a room upgrade in 1 location. From the start, our exceptional guide Rosaria made everything happen, always with a positive attitude and her Sicilian joy for leading us as a group. Because of Rosaria and our lovely bus driver Marco, the group’s camaraderie and enjoyment multiplied.Thank you Rosaria for arranging special surprises along the way.There were so many memorable Sicilian food experiences to rave about: the home hosted meal with a very congenial family and prepared with local organic ingredients, the wine tasting and lunch at a beautiful winery at the foot of Mt. Etna, the lunch prepared and served fresh in the heart of the Siracusa market.All the local tour guides were very well chosen and well versed on their subjects, including Gino’s fascinating history of the Mafia. Overall the tour provided a very memorable experience of the people and places in Sicily
MR AND MRS WHITE (USA)
We were brand new to the ‘group tour’ experience. Each new day had us thinking about how selecting the Secret Italia tour was so much the right choice for this trip. We had a terrific time. The itinerary, the mix and balance each day, the choices of sites, and the pacing showed that our tour was designed with care, not merely assembled. That we were getting a sense of Sicily, not just checking off sites to see.Rosaria was a wonder for her energy, enthusiasm, and unwavering helpfulness.And for transforming a mix of cautious strangers into a group of traveling friends.
MRS AND MRS WISE (USA)
The tour met or exceeded all our expectations. It is a 10 of 10! Having Rosaria, who is such a knowledgeable and well-organized person as our tour leader, meant that everything went very smoothly throughout the tour. Her love of Sicily is contagious. She was always one step ahead in terms of coordination and ready to provide suggestions or assistance, but also made the trip fun and interesting. All of the staff we met affiliated with Secret Italia contributed to making the trip especially enjoyable and congenial and we also appreciated the special local tour guides who enriched our experience of the site visits. The Secret Italia Land of Contrasts tours was so special because of the way the itinerary was put together and the charming hotels we were able to enjoy along the way.We appreciated the careful selection of venues and the diversity of activities in the program very much and take a hat off to you.
KATHY AND JOHN GILMER (USA)
What a wonderful trip we had with Rosaria and Marco September 23-October 4!It was one of our best tours ever! We enjoyed Sicily with its history, stunning landscapes and seascapes, friendly people and delicious food. But most of all we enjoyed Rosaria and the little extras that made the trip unforgettable.Madeira sipping at the Valley of the Temples in the moonlight, tasting candy, cookies, and other little unscheduled treats along the way, taking group pictures everywhere we went, dancing on the cruise in Ortega, bypassing crowds at the Opera, all added to the wonderful itinerary. Aldo made it easy to book and helped us feel comfortable about our choice.We will recommend Secret Italia Tours to anyone
BARBARA STALICK (USA)
The tour was well planned and organized. Everything was excellent!! Rosaria is a gem!! So delightful. She is personable, caring, fun and her love of Sicily is evident.She is an outstanding tour guide!! We loved her. Marco is an excellent driver. At no time did we feel unsafe. Everything about the tour was fantastic.I thank you for all your hard work in organizing such a great tour. The food everywhere was delicioso. Everywhere we went was fascinating.I will highly recommend Secret Italia Tours to everyone. Thanks again for everything. My wonderful memories of Sicily will stay with me always