Ugo then moved to Australia where he worked for SBS Television and wrote film scripts including the award-winning Johnno, based on a book by the Australian author David Malouf. Still a Tuscan at heart, he has returned to Italy where he lives and works at Trove, the Mariotti farm. His son Brian Marco, a Roman-born architect, is doing the designs for the restoration of the farmhouse whose original core dates from the 1400s. Ugo loves good food, history, hiking, horse riding and is a qualified tourist guide.
Originally from Queensland Australia, home of the Great Barrier Reef, Barbara always loved traveling and left Australia to do just that. She returned home with film-maker husband Ugo, working for many years at SBS as a producer of award-winning television drama and documentary. In her spare time she continued to go horse riding, hiking and traveling with regular visits to her second home Tuscany, where she now lives on the Mariotti farm growing olives and grapes. Barbara is a qualified tourist guide who enjoys sharing Tuscany with other travellers. Both she and Ugo are bi-lingual.
1. How long has the business been operating and how did it start?
The Company started 12 years ago in 1999 because Ugo and Barbara Mariotti moved back to Tuscany from Australia to live in their ancient Tuscan farmhouse in the heart of the picturesque countryside. They wanted others to experience this special place.
2. What is your company's mission?
To show our clients the "real" Tuscany. The small villages, local people - many of whom are friends - the restaurants, the wine and the winemakers. To experience the evocative sights and sounds that make Tuscany what it is.
3. What does your company specialize in?
Special interest, hiking, food, wine. You ask for what interests you and we will try to find it for you.
4. Who is the founder or owner of the company and briefly describe his/her past activities?
Ugo and Barbara Mariotti are founders of the company. Ugo is a film maker and screen writer. Among his best known works is his co-production of the film "Don't Look Now" starring Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie. It has just been voted "best British film ever". Barbara worked as a documentary maker in Australia producing a series called "Under the Skin" which focussed on getting to the heart of the subject.
5. What is your most popular travel package and why?
Walks and Tastes of Tuscany because it combines an intimate look at the beautiful countryside with the exquisite wine and food of the region.
6. What is the best compliment you received from a client?
"Your great gift is to facilitate a feeling of intimacy with the people, the land and the history - even for total strangers. We can never forget the sights you showed us and the local folk you introduced us to; meeting the grand dame of local wine during our late evening walk on the cobblestones of an ancient hill top village ... and the many other local rhythms of the area that you shared. Around every corner was another discovery ... In the company of Ugo it always feels that we were the first to discover these riches ourselves." - Oliver Schofield.