Make Your Next Trip Extraordinary

Personal contacts add so much
Mary Munn Laronge | January 25.2017

I used Marcello for a special private journey that I planned for a group of lifelong friends ranging in ages from 34 to 87. Marcello helped me plan a once in a lifetime experience in Sicily for my group of 8 in October, an ideal time to visit Sicily. I had been to Sicily many times over 30 years as a student, and later on cruise ship day trips and pre and post cruise short stays. I knew what to see but I needed help in crafting truly memorable experiences for my group, with someone who had up to the minute connections and furthermore, ideas. Marcello is the man to pull off your dream trip to amazing Sicily!!! Marcello succeeded in getting us through sites with no crowds, into lovely restaurants and the best rooms at the best hotels.

His guides were absolutely top notch in every respect, and some of our highlights were the outdoor food market in Ortigia followed by a cooking class with chef Lele Torrisi. Our olive farm experience luncheon was a highlight, too, as well as the mount Etna Winery. Marcello’s personal contacts add so much to the experiences he crafts for his travelers.

When we had a service issue one night Marcello was right there to fix the issue specially arranging a dinner out in Trapani where tourists rarely go. While in Siracusa he personally checked in on us so our travelers could meet him and thank him for all he had done!!
Marcello is a Sicilian gem, use his expertise to craft your amazing journey to one of my favorite islands. I can’t say enough good things about Marcello!

We wholeheartedly recommend
David and Chris Lusignan | October 10, 2016

My wife and I just completed a late September/early October two week self drive trip around Sicily arranged with Marcello. The trip was spectacular and Marcello’s planning, guidance and in-country services were a major reason for this.

We toured several ancient sites and medieval towns, lunched at wineries, climbed the Scala dei Turchi, sailed the coast of Siracusa and climbed on Mt. Etna…..all of which were extraordinary. Marcello even surprised us with a private tour(with lunch) at a family owned palazzo in Ragusa Ibla. Marcello’s hotel recommendations met our expectations perfectly, all of his guides were expert and excellent and his drivers timely, courteous and punctual. And it was comforting to know that Marcello was following up and looking out for us on each leg of the trip(I have used other WOW List specialist with great success, but Marcello is the first to actually expend the effort to track your daily movements in country to ensure your trip is progressing as planned). We also got to spend an enjoyable evening with Marcello over dinner in Siracusa and learn a bit more about his evolution into a first rate travel specialist.

We wholeheartedly recommend Marcello to others looking to plan a Sicily adventure. You will not be disappointed. Thanks Marcello!

The best there is in Sicily.
Linda Garrett | September 1, 2016

With very little advance notice Marcello planned four cities in Sicily in August 2016 for us. High-quality experts with incredible credentials guided us from Mount Etna to culinary experiences extraordinary in their scope and detail.  Look no further than Marcello Baglioni for the best there is in Sicily.  —Linda Garrett

Wonderful memories thanks to Marcello.
Linda and Tom Uhler | July 24, 2016

Our trip to Sicily in June 2016 has left us with wonderful memories thanks to Marcello. We told him that food and wine are passions for us and he arranged a great itinerary including visits to a flour mill, an herb farm, chocolate maker, dairy farm and an almond and ricotta producer. In addition we visited several wineries and had a personal tour of the market in Ortigia followed by a cooking class. Archaeology and culture were not left out of the trip. Among the things weve raved to friends about were having a REAL vulcanologist show us Mt. Etna and highly educated archaeologists make ancient sites come alive. The caliber of the experiences plus that of the guides and drivers was one of the hallmarks of our trip. It was what we hoped for and more than we expected. Everywhere we went Marcello was given high praise and we would second that . He has made many valuable connections in Sicily and we were the lucky beneficiaries. We appreciated how Marcello checked in with us each day and loved having the opportunity to meet him in Siracusa. We cant thank him enough for making our Sicilian adventure so memorable. We would recommend a trip to Sicily, planned by Marcello to anyone who travels. This trip will be the benchmark for any future European travel for us.

Every day was a "wow".
Hesty Leibtag | July 7, 2016

​Our trip to Sicily could not have been better. Working with Marcello Baglioni was a dream. Marcello hired us the best guides for all our excursions and every day was a “wow.”

Marcello stayed in touch with us throughout our travels and ensured everything ran smoothly. We had the best time and I would not hesitate to recommend his expertise to anyone planning on visiting Sicily. His knowledge and professionalism are unparalleled.

Intimate knowledge of the culture of Sicily
Fran Levine | June 22, 2016

Marcello knows Sicily. Inside and out.

Marcello has planned several things for me over the years. He can customize anything and will advise you to give you the best experience possible. Marcello knows the best places to go, which ones to avoid and how to spend the day to get an authentic Sicilian experience. This past summer, September 2015, Marcello arranged for us to spend a day going to the market and cooking with a local chef, which was amazing! I traveled with a group of students to Sicily several years ago and Marcello arranged cooking classes for a group of 20 year olds making Sicilian food aficionados out of the most resistant boys, planned visits to wineries on Mt. Etna, lunch at a farm near Siracusa, language lessons, accommodations…everything to make a disparate group of young adults interested and engaged. That was a true test…and he passed with flying colors!

Marcello’s intimate knowledge of the culture of Sicily is the reason to have him plan a trip. Anyone can book a hotel for you or tell you the sights to see in any given city…that’s easy. But to know what to do, eat and see in order to feel like a local yourself is what Marcello does best. Marcello’s knowledge of the history of the island together with his long-term relationships with people ensure that you get the most expert attention in whatever you want to do.
Mille grazie, Marcello!

Grand and glorious
Isa Engleberg | May 3, 2016

Marcello Baglioni made our 2015 trip to Sicily a wonder-filled journey and an indelible memory. We’d considered booking a small group tour and looked into several companies. Then we found Marcello. From the minute we arrived to the minute we waved farewell, we were in the capable hands of his exceptional guides and followed a plan that let us see more, do more, learn more, and eat much better than we would have on our own. And we did so without spending our budget on the very posh or the very touristy. We stayed in bed-and-breakfasts where we were treated royally and whose staff made sure we always had the best of all possible breakfasts before venturing beyond their doors.

We only stayed in Sicily for 12 days—and could have stayed another 12. Our friends are astonished: “What’s there to do in Sicily for that long a time?” Our answer: If you have a few hours, we’ll tell you and you’ll put it on your must-visit list.

We toured Palermo; went both east and west of the city. We saw the influence of the many “invaders” whose cultures mixed to create a unique people and place. We visited a remote goat farm and tasted the fresh milk and cheese. We ate lunches along with local wines that left us wanting a nap, but choosing instead to see splendid architecture, churches, cathedrals, historic sites, and tiny villages. From Palermo we headed south and then east to take in archeological sites we’d never heard of and now wonder why we hadn’t. Beautiful towns and landscapes rivalled those we’ve seen in dozens of other countries.

Palermo, Cefalu, Sant ‘Ambrogio, charming Catelbuono (where we ate manna from heaven, really!), Monreale’s glorious Cathedral begun in the 12th Century, Erice high above the sea, Segesta and its Greek Temple, Argrigento’s Valley of the Temples, Villa Romana del Casale, and Syracuse. All with wineries along the way for tasting and refreshing our zeal to see more. And great food.

In Syracuse we stayed in magical Ortygia. From there we journeyed to the vast Pantalica Valley and its ancient tombs, Baroque Noto, an olive farm, a fishing village, plus a day on Mt Etna with a perfect finale at Benati’s vineyards and winery. Plus an herb farm, an olive farm, Caltagirone and its stunning pottery and mosaics, two cooking lessons, and (did we say?) good food.

Our last two days in Syracuse were made for memories. First, we saw a modern production of Seneca’s version of the Euripides’ Greek tragedy Medea in an open, ancient Greek theater overlooking the city and the sea—with a clear sky and full moon above. The next day, we sailed the bay off Ortygia aboard a private sailboard and enjoyed a swim and, of course, a seaworthy lunch.

So how did we do all this in 12 days without a single flaw, bad moment, aching feet, or indigestion? It would have been impossible without the meticulous planning, entrée to rarely seen sites, Tommaso’s driving us beyond where the buses go, and brilliant guides such as Dr. Claudio Italo (archaeologist extraordinaire), Enrico (a caption worth more than his salt) and Marcello who joined us one afternoon.

If we had stayed in Sicily for three weeks on our own, we would have had a wonderful time, but nothing as grand and glorious as what we now call The Marcello Experience.

We were so pleased with our trip
Joseph McBrine | April 6, 2016

Having been to Italy several times my husband and I had never had the pleasure of exploring Sicily. Not sure where to start in planning our trip we decided to go with Wendy Perrin’s trusted travel expert for Sicily, Marcello Baglioni. I can only say that without him we would never have had the wonderful experience that we did. We started the process by telling him some of the things we wanted to see and do during our time there. He worked his magic and put together an amazing self-drive trip for us. We visited a working dairy farm–(and enjoyed a delicious meal there!), had a private guided tour of the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, took a private cooking class with a well known local chef in Siracusa, and enjoyed an informative, as well as beautiful, hike on Mt Etna with a volcanologist. In addition Marcello took our trip to the 21st century by creating a personalized google map that we could access anywhere with our mobile phones. With this tool we were able to easily navigate between cultural attractions, as well as recommended restaurants, cafes, and museums he personally highlighted for us, using the GPS on our phone. We were so pleased with our trip I recommended his services to a colleague who just came back from his own special journey to Sicily. Bravo Marcello!

Absolutely wonderful experiences
Jan Heininger and Jamie Reuter | March 4, 2016

Marcello organized our Sicily trip in April 2011 and was one of the first of Wendy’s Trusted Travel Experts we used. We decided on the trip only a couple of months ahead of time and felt overwhelmed by choices. So we contacted Marcello. He introduced us to the concept of Slow Travel (see his note on Biggest Rookie Mistake) — travel less, see more in depth. The trip he organized for us was packed with absolutely wonderful experiences we never could have had on our own. We focused principally on southeastern Sicily and had terrific guides, wonderful cooking classes, a great hike on Mount Etna, magnificent cheese, chocolate and wine tastings, great horseback riding and one of the most charming hotel stays we’ve ever had — a room in an Ortigia (Siracusa) hotel that had an enormous private terrace with sofas, tables and chairs and a huge, very private hot tub overlooking the ocean that took all our aches away after long days hiking, sightseeing, cooking, eating and horseback riding. (We also got to Agrigento and Palermo and were in Palermo for Good Friday confraternity processions.) Marcello is a charming man (he met us for coffee one day) and we are very grateful to him for introducing us to Slow Travel. We have incorporated it into virtually all our subsequent trips — many organized by more of Wendy’s excellent Trusted Travel Experts. Thank you, Marcello. This is an overdue thank you note to you.

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