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Base of operations: USA -- Number of InfoHub client requests accepted: 4
Former college roommates, Deborah Patterson and Josianne Pennington, started this company to offer small-group art, cooking and wine tours in Italy. In addition to their pre-established fall and spring tours, they also customize tours for small groups. Whether it be an antiques tour, or a shopping tour, or an anniversary trip for an entire family, they can do it.
Otherwise, their fall and spring tours last for one week, and their format is to eliminate the stress and wasted time of packing and moving around by basing the tour in a four-star hotel in an important Italian city. They provide excellent cooking lessons that focus on that region's cuisine with some of the top chefs in the area. They also visit the most important artistic and historical sites with scholarly guides who are specialists in their fields.
Their tours are very special for several reasons. First, because the groups are small, a wonderful camaraderie is inevitably established among the participants. This fact alone makes the trip far more pleasant than most group tours. Second, their choice of hotels is not based on names and stars, but on the good feeling that it transmits. They do the same thing with restaurants, although the quality of the food is of primary importance. And wherever they go, they establish friendships with the people so that their groups feel like 'insiders' rather than normal tourists.
Finally, Deborah lived in Italy for many years and speaks the language fluently. She is also an art historian as well as a visual artist. Her depth and understanding of the country-and its people and culture-provides an experience that is unique and not to be found on many tours.