We had an amazing vacation in Italy! To have everything planned for us by Maria Landers, was such a treat. And we had the Cranky Concierge monitoring our flights and checking in with us. Everything flowed smoothly for our trip – prior planning and all aspects of the itinerary for each day.
All the drivers in Italy were great. They were professional: always prompt for pick up and always waiting for us to take us back. We were so thankful not to have to navigate the Italian roadways!
Having guides was a spectacular way to see all that we did. Our guide in Florence was magical. Her knowledge and friendly personality made it such a delight to explore Florence and see the David! Our tour of Siena was great; a good balance of art, history, and life in Siena. And time with our guide was fabulous. She was able to enliven our experiences at both Casa Gola and the Truffle farm. She is so easy going and an excellent translator. Ancient Rome with our expert historian went so quickly. He is so knowledgeable and engaging – we left wanting more. Our night drive in Rome was so special. He showed us many great spots in Rome with his bubbly personality. And our final guide for the Vatican did not disappoint. She was able to weave a story as we toured the museum that culminated in the Sistine Chapel. And seeing St Peters, while Mass was going on and the sun setting was an amazing conclusion to an amazing vacation. We are so lucky to have benefited from all of the excellent guides.
One of our favorite experiences was cooking and having lunch at Casa Gola. As we drove up her driveway we knew we were in for a very special treat. Her place is so lovely. We appreciated the picturesque setting, her beautiful home, and the decor. It was so fun to help cook inside and outside. And the food was simply fantastic! We’ve been telling people that it was like Martha Stuart meets Pioneer Woman meets Ina Garten.
The truffle farm was lots of fun too. The dogs actually found truffles! It was special having the owner sit with us during lunch. We talked politics, current events and he even told us a joke!
All of the hotels that Maria reserved for us were excellent – centrally located, quiet, and well appointed. We really enjoyed Antica Torre in Florence with our big window overlooking the Arno and sunsets on the terrace and the big breakfasts. Being on the rooftop to see the city was the perfect end to every day.
Places visited over ten days – Florence, Pisa, Lucca, Siena, Montefalco, Bevagna, Rome
Maria put together a fabulous three week trip to Southern Italy, Sicily, and Malta for us. The hotels she selected were outstanding, the drivers were very professional and the guides were first rate. Maria followed our progress and immediately jumped in when we had a ferry cancellation. She also enlisted Cranky Concierge to monitor our flights which were most helpful. Thanks to Maria, this was one of our very best trips and I would certainly recommend her to anyone heading off to Italy.
Maria planned a busy three day visit to Venice, exactly what we wanted. The guides were excellent. In the limited time, we were there, we felt we got a good taste of the city. The hotel was very comfortable and extremely well-located. Everything came off without a hitch.
My wife and I met with Maria via conference call to discuss what we wanted to our trip. She listened and asked very good questions. She came back with an itinerary that perfectly matched our discussion. Every aspect of the trip was perfect. The guides she booked for us were fantastically educated professionals. We had an absolutely fantastic trip. We would definitely work with her again and recommend her to anyone looking for a fabulous trip to Italy.
Maria listened to our requests and put together an itinerary that was seamless. All we had to do was show up. Our hotel room was upgraded twice during our trip. I would highly recommend working with Maria and her team for a trip to Italy.
Maria helped plan the details of our Italian trip to Tuscany and Rome May/June 2017. The guides were excellent! One highlight was a behind the scenes visit with a multi-winning jockey from the Palio (Sienna). My kids loved seeing the track where he trains the horses, and he and his wife were charming. Our guide was fantastic with the kids and was a Sienna resident who provided us with not only the history but the current gossip as well. Hugely entertaining! We also took a day trip to visit the Carrera marble quarries. Recommended by Maria, this side trip was unique and yet another “insider” experience of Italy. We had a very knowledgeable guide in Florence who was able to tour our families in the first half of the day and then give an in-depth Medici tour for my husband during the second part of the day. Again in Rome, we experienced excellent guided tours, of food/gelato as well as history/monuments. We felt like we toured Italy with locals (who also happened to hold degrees, etc, and/or had intimate knowledge of the subject matter). But beyond the excellent guides, what really sold us on Maria was the level of service. We had professional drivers everywhere we went. Never had to worry about a thing, where to park, where to eat, etc — the decisions were always made for us so we could just enjoy without a worry or hiccup. We enjoyed amazing meals, adored our hotel that Maria recommended, and relaxed! Our flight arrangements home had a small issue and the air concierge service immediately responded to us, and watched over us until we safely returned. I would highly recommend Maria to any of those traveling to Italy.
Maria Gabriella Landers provided an exceptional itinerary.
The trip was perfect, accommodations and the organized excursions were excellent. We enjoyed the cooking class and truffle hunt with Christina. The personal wine tastings were perfect. Our drivers and tour guides were very nice. We had the best time and everything we did gave us a beautiful taste of Italy. This is a trip we will remember forever.
Maria was fantastic. Our trip was in August 2017 to Venice, Florence, Lake Como, and Milan. The planning was made easy by Maria. She arranged the hotels, airport transportation, guides on locations and limo transportation between the major cities….could not have been better.
The trip turned out as I expected. No hitches. Knowledgeable guides and on-time pick-up at the hotels. The hotel rooms were pleasing and well-located. The dinners at the vineyard and the farm were very nice touches. Thanks for the memories.
Just returned from a trip planned by Maria and her team. This was one of the finest and best-planned trips we have ever taken. From the first phone call, Maria listens and tailors the vacation to your interests and even culinary needs. We traveled to Lake Como, Florence, Venice, and Milan. There were absolutely no glitches in service. All of our transfers and rides occurred without incident or delay. Maria has access to incredible guides – some of the best we have ever had on vacation anywhere. She also has access to some incredible experiences: i.e we had private visits to a parmigiana-reggiana dairy farm, a prosciutto di parma factory, a balsamic vinegar farm and exclusive small vineyards with some incredible local wine. She even arranged a pizza-making lesson at a restaurant in Florence. While we were in Lake Como she arranged for a private lunch on a local island and a visit to Lugano Switzerland.
This is a high service, first class, professional group of people, that will accommodate everything! Maria and her team are at the top of their game. We would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone and we look forward to using them again for another Italy adventure soon.
We traveled across Italy (Rome to Venice) in June 2017 with our 10 year old daughter and wanted to ensure we had a safe and memorable experience, which is why we chose to work with Maria. She was prompt, friendly, and provided lots of recommendations and resources for us prior to the trip so we felt well prepared. The tour guides were nothing short of amazing- even the drivers were top notch and did more than just transport us from place to place- they each gave us a lesson on the history and culture of every place we went. They were professional, on time, and engaging- which was especially important for our daughter to find some interest. We would highly recommend Maria and her team- the accommodations and experiences she chose for us went way above our expectations. Our next vacation we will definitely be choosing a guide from Wendys Wow list!
During the last two weeks of May, 2017, we traveled to Italy, visiting among other places, Montefalco, Spello, Spoleto and other towns in the hills of Umbria and then on to Tuscany, visiting Florence, Chianti, San Gimignano and other scenic villages in that area. We took a side trip to Cinque Terra and then on to Bologna and Venice and thence to Rome. Thanks to Maria Gabriella Landers everything was carefully planned and thoughtfully arranged, with knowledgeable guides, expert drivers and friendly local hosts. Usually, we are DIY travel planners, but this time we left it to the pros and it was worth every penny. We have traveled many places and rate this trip as one of, if not the, best; all arrangements were made and carried out to perfection, from restaurants to accommodations to interesting sites to visit. No driver was ever late; no reservation ever lost, no connection was ever missed, no destination ever disappointed. Everyone we dealt with was friendly, responsive and competent. Cannot imagine a more perfect experience. If you are considering travel to Italy, especially the northern part, we can recommend this travel planner without reservation; she knows her stuff and will save you time and worry.
My husband and I recently returned from a trip to Umbria and Tuscany planned by Brian Dore and Maria Gabriella Landers. It was simply terrific in every way. After a telephone conversation with Maria to describe interests and preferences, she delivered an itinerary that was right on target. In reality, the written itinerary (focusing on highlights) did not do justice to the extraordinary services and excursions we enjoyed. Our walking tour guides were excellent, our local host was so knowledgeable and charming, drivers were friendly and always right on time, and the farm/winery/meal “events” were special and memorable. Bravo to Brian, Maria and their team we are already thinking about our next destination with Brian and Maria’s help.
Maria planned a glorious trip for my niece and me in June of 2016 that took us from Venice to Florence to Amalfi, Pompeii (and Vesuvius and Herculaneum) and then to Rome. She arranged some off-the-beaten-track tours of street art in Florence and Rome which were extraordinary. The guides that she teamed us with were superb — touring Rome with an archaeologist with extensive knowledge of Roman history and architecture PLUS where to get the best gelato was priceless. All of the guides were flexible and built our itineraries for our tours based on our preferences which were pretty amazing. Looking back, I am amazed at how much she packed in — basically meeting every request that I had with her meticulously planned itinerary that made good use of every moment and allowed us enough free time to get lost along the way. I am a frequent flyer on Wendy’s list and have never been disappointed by any of her travel experts and Maria was all that I would expect — and then some.
We had an excellent week long visit to Rome (2 adults, elderly mother, 20 and 17 yr old). Maria and her team made all the arrangements for our hotel, transportation, tours and guides while we were there. She took time to speak with us about what we wanted from our trip and recommended a number of options for tours and experiences to choose from. Every expectation was met, the guides were excellent, the drivers were on time and friendly, and the tours we selected were fabulous. We highly recommend the Food Tour with Gina as something different. We would hire Maria and her team again for future travel to Italy.
I’ve never had a travel company do everything just as they said! We even scheduled an additional tour when our ship returned to Rome.
Every guide was on time and performed with wonderful knowledge of what we were witnessing. The timing was perfect with everyone. We enjoyed each of our guides and the pace of the tours was fine. All but one tour was by walking. If we were returning to Italy, we would want to be touch with Maria.
We recently returned from an amazing honeymoon trip to Rome and Florence, organized by Maria and her team. With all the details we had to consider for the wedding, I didn’t want to feel overwhelmed by also researching and planning a big trip. Wendy Perrin’s Wow List made it easy to find a travel expert for Italy, and then it was simply a matter of describing my dream trip and hitting the submit button. Maria then emailed me to set up a phone call so we could discuss in more detail what we wanted to accomplish. Trying delicious food and wine were at the top of our list, but we also wanted to see the top landmarks and achieve a nice balance of art, culture, architecture and history. The itinerary she sent back was perfect, and took all the stress out of the equation. Maria also provided location guides for both Rome and Florence with suggestions for site seeing, shopping and restaurants during our leisure time. This really came in handy throughout the trip. In fact, one of our most memorable dinners in Rome came from the list provided. (Maria is happy to book any dinner reservations you’d like and add them to the itinerary.) When we walked into our hotel room in Florence, in a 13th century medieval tower, we jumped up and down because it was so awesome. The hotel even surprised us with a bottle of champagne on ice and snacks. Our private tour guides were truly impressive and shared a wealth of knowledge. Our favorite experiences of the trip included a lunch at a small family owned vineyard and a cooking class in a private olive grove. Our driver for those two days was also top notch. Without the help of Maria and her team, we wouldn’t have access to special experiences like these. Everything in our itinerary went according to plan, and we never had to worry about a thing. We are so happy we splurged, and are already dreaming of our next trip to Italy.
Our trip was extraordinary and all the drivers and guides were of the extraordinary caliber and I will highly recommend Maria to all travelers,
Thank you for an easy way to combine so many resources under one umbrella for travelling around the world.
The purpose of the trip was to take my elder mother, whos parents were from Italy, to see the places her parents told her about as a child. Maria Gabriella-Landers did an excellent job making arrangements for the trip. This included advance planning earlier in the year, making accommodations in all the cities we traveled to, setting up tours and guides, and suggesting, and making, dinner reservations each evening. Maria’s team was excellent in providing services and updates along the way. This included flight tracking as well as last-minute modifications to our plans. Maria did a great job staying within my budget for the trip. The hotel accommodations were very good to excellent. The best hotel we stayed in was in Florence, overlooking the city from our terrace with views of Il Duomo, the tower of Palazzo Vechio, Ponte Vechio, and the surrounding hills of Tuscany. The tour guides Maria arranged for us were top-notch. They did a great job explaining to us the finer details of the sites and places we visited. And they were very pleased to speak to my mom in Italian. My mom thought this was the last trip she would be taking. But after going, I think she has it in her mind to give it another try.
Maria was always available, was especially good dealing with my obsessive nature regarding planning. Guides were wonderful, driver fantastic. There is nothing negative to say about the entire experience, it was fabulous.
My wife and I had always wanted to visit Tuscany. Because we previously had a wonderful experience with a WOW Specialist for our trip to Bali, we decided to go with another WOW specialist and are glad we did.
After we came home from our 8 night trip to Tuscany that Maria Gabriella Landers put together, we can see why she is so highly recommended. She is a first class professional who is clearly a Tuscany travel guru. She was the perfect person to help us put together a memorable trip.
I was impressed with her from the beginning when we had our initial consultation. She knew what questions to ask and listened very carefully to what we shared with her. From the information that she got from us, she put together an initial itinerary. What she proposed in her initial itinerary was exactly what we wanted and we approved it without making any changes. The prefect itinerary for brand new clients on the first try. Impressive.
As part of her service she included the Cranky Concierge to monitor our all of our flights. Wow, what a great service this was. From now on I will use the Cranky Concierge for all of my overseas trips.
Maria stayed in touch with us and kept us updated in the months prior to our trip. Her regular follow up with us reflects how much she tries to provide the best service possible. I liked that a lot.
The places we saw and the guides she arranged for us was were excellent. In particular, Stefania is such a bundle of positive energy with deep knowledge of the local area, and has a wonderful passion for her work. One of our drivers in particular, Carlo, was such a delightful, energetic, elegant, passionate, and knowledgeable gentleman.
The hotels Maria recommended were in great locations and had warm, friendly staff. She also made reservations for us at wonderful restaurants.
We are thankful for Maria’s exceptional knowledge and service, and highly recommend her to anyone considering a trip to Tuscany who wants first class personalized service to put together the perfect trip. She deserves her reputation as one of the Top Tuscan travel experts in the world. Very well done Maria.
Maria planned an excellent short trip to Venice, Siena and Florence, during what might have been the busiest time of the year. She was in contact with us directly from the beginning of the process and throughout the trip. Our guides and drivers were on time and well-organized, among the best that we have used. The hotels she chose were perfect for our needs, in terms of location and the level of service. We appreciated the restaurant recommendations, as well as the ones reserved for us in Siena and Bologna. I would not hesitate to recommend her or to use her again for an upcoming trip.
Was very pleased with the quality of tour guides and drivers provided. Each guide enhanced the enjoyment of each location considerably. It would have been a good trip on our own but was an excellent trip with the help of Maria. Also had very nice accommodations – really enjoyed the stay in Venice and Ravenna. I was hesitant to go to Venice as I had heard so many negatives about it. With the suggestions of Maria – it became one of our favorite places.
For Maria’s feedback – all the guides were great, but real standouts were Caterina in Venice, Paola in Ravenna and Elvira in Florence.
Dreams really do come true. I wish words could express how wonderful our amazing trip to Tuscany was. I began planning our trip with Maria over a year ago. The process started with an in depth interview, followed by emails to answer all of my questions. She then tailored the perfect trip for myself and my two adult children. This was an over-the-top trip! It included knowledgeable tour guides who showed us off the beaten path places, sampling speciality foods, shopping recommendations and much more. They helped us experience the culture first hand. Maria gave excellent restaurant recommendations, travel tips and airline ticketing advice. If I ever get to return to Italy my first call will be to Maria!
Wendy, I am so glad I found your services. I look forward to using your services the next time I travel. Thank you so very much!
Maria and her Italian contact Christina provided excellent guides/drivers and interesting and unique experiences. This was our 5th trip to Rome so had visited many of the wonderful sites previously but our guide Alessandro was able to help us find new gems like the Museo do Palazzi Doria Pamphilj. In Umbria we stayed in a nice country inn set in Bevagna amongst vineyards and olive groves. A truffle hunt and preparing and cooking a fabulous lunch at a private home were highlights of our trip. When staying in Bologna they arranged a visit to a prosciutto plant and a parmigiana reggiano processing plant in Parma. The guides in both Ravenna and Bologna were excellent.
Maria arranged a tailored trip for my wife and I. We were in Italy for too brief a time but
Maria made the best of it. We had a magical walking food tour in Rome that allowed us to
visit neighborhood food stops and see the Jewish Ghetto. Ive been to Rome many times
but I finally got to feel what the magic of living there was like with the tour. We had
a wonderful private drive to Tuscany and a winery with a home cooked meal served as we
looked over the vineyard. Truly one of the most memorable meals I have every had. We then
toured Florence and were thoroughly educated in Renaissance art and history. So with four
brief days we saw Rome, Tuscany and Florence. For travelers with limited days this was a
For years I had wanted to see the buildings of Andrea Palladio. Maria planned a three day itinerary which was everything I hoped for. She listened and planned exactly what I wanted. The escorts, guides/driver were uniformly excellent. Everyone was on time, friendly and knowledgeable. Her organization and trip book mailed to me were great. Even a few days prior to leaving home, she emailed suggesting a change of hotel because she found availability at a hotel she thought was superior to the first one she booked for us. I could not have done this trip without her, and I couldn’t have been happier with the trip!
Maria planned a week-long family vacation in Italy following 10 days in Europe with my sons soccer team. We visited Sorrento and Rome. The hotels were fabulous and both included amazing breakfast buffets. We had great activities planned at both destinations. The guides were top-notch and experts in their field. We also had drivers throughout the trip who were consistently on-time and friendly. Maria did a great job of showing us the highlights at both destinations yet allowing for ample free time to explore on our own.
We traveled to Venice and Asolo in July 2016. Since taking a course in the art and architecture of Venice eight years ago, I had wanted to see the buildings of Andrea Palladio. I booked a cruise originating in Venice so that I could travel to the area of Vicenza and see the buildings. However, despite considerable research, I wasn’t able to plan to see all I wanted to. Wendy Perrin suggested I reach out to Maria Landers, and even forwarded my email to Maria. Within a day or so, Maria contacted me. We had a couple of emails back and forth and one telephone conversation so that she could learn what it is we wanted to see. I booked my own hotel in Venice, but needed her for a tour of Palladian architecture in the countryside of Venice. She devised an itinerary that was just what I hoped for! She even included someone to meet us at the airport in Venice and take us in a private water taxi to our hotel. A guide led us on the Venetian custom of aperitvos and snacks the day we arrived. The next day a guide took us to some major sites, including the Opera House. (I had mentioned to Maria that that was my #1 place to see in Venice.) Our guide/driver met us and spent three days with us. Frederica couldn’t have been more wonderful – personable, accommodating, knowledgeable. I was thrilled to see so many of the buildings I had studied. She made it a joy, despite the heat. Even though she knows so much, on the day we went into Vicenza she had another local guide, Rita, tour with us to give us even more information. We were sorry to say good-bye to Frederica.
Up to the last minute, Maria was monitoring plans for our trip. Just a few days before we left home, she emailed telling me that she found availability at a hotel which she thought was superior to the one she originally booked. We followed her recommendation. We felt like we were in the movie “Enchanted April”. The Villa Cipriani was wonderful. The detailed itinerary that Maria sent was great, as were all the various escorts, guides, etc.
This trip was a big thrill for me. I could not have planned all of it on my own. I would definitely contact Maria if I was planning another trip to Italy. Grazie mille, Maria!
Thanks to Maria Gabrielle Landers and her planning I had a memorable vacation. The guides and tours that were provided were all excellent. The guides were a wealth of information and as personable as can be. The tours through the various Villas, churches, opera houses and so much more, through the guides knowledge and presentations, made the sites come alive.
It was a wonderful vacation. Thank you
I was extremely pleased with the work of Maria Landers, who arranged a 22 day tour of Italy for my wife and I, our two daughters, two sons-in-law, and 3 grandchildren (ages 11, 8, 6). There were no hitches. Our hotels in 7 locations were well located, and first rate. Our guides were superb and focused on the teaching and involvement of the three grandchildren. Not an easy task in places like the Uffizi or Vatican museums. Many tours were unique and special such as searching for truffles with trained dogs, meeting with a star jockey of the Palio in Sienna, two cooking classes, a visit to Carrera and the marble mines, a boat excursion along the Amalfi Coast with time for the children to swim in the Mediterranean, walking food tours, and a wonderful night excursion to see the lit up monuments of Rome. Highest recommendation for Maria and her crew. I am considering a return to Italy with just my wife and another couple under Maria’s guidance. I asked each member of my family for any criticisms, no matter how small, of any part of their vacation, and there were none. Well worth the cost of the excursion.
This was our fourth excursion with travel specialists recommended by Wendy Perrin, and they have all been terrific.
We visited Florence, Umbria, and Rome in June of 2106 and were very happy with our trip. Everything went extremely smoothly, exactly as planned! We had some truly memorable experiences thanks to Maria Landers, most especially our Umbrian cooking class and the ancient sights tour in Rome, which was led by an incredibly knowledgeable guide. Thank you!
We absolutely loved everything about our trip to Italy. Even though we were only staying a week and visiting two cities, Maria planned everything perfectly and we felt like we were able to see the highlights and see the culture! Everything ran smoothly and when there was one little hitch with a driver one day, they handled it immediately and figured it out. The best experiences were the more personal ones. She planned a lunch and visit to a small enoteca in Umbria. This could not have been a better experience. The family that owns the business was fabulous. We felt like family from the minute we walked in until we left. We feel as though we have friends in Spello now! Also, the cooking class and winery tour in Florence at Capezzana was fabulous. The family dined with us after we spent the morning cooking with their personal chef of 30 years! This really gave us a feeling of culture. Everything was top notch, from the hotels to the drivers and cars. The guides were also wonderful. Our personal guide for our ancient Rome tour was a college professor and so knowledgeable and fun and we loved our other guides as well. Nothing could have been better!
Maria Gabriella Landers planned a wonderful trip for us to Sicily. Everything was seamless and one disappointment in Rome was dealt with quickly to our satisfaction. We would definitely use her again.
Maria Landers put together a very customized trip for my wife and I. Everything was excellent and many things were very unique. We would highly recommend using Maria for any Italy trip! We went to Venice, Florence, Tuscany countryside, Parma and Lake Como.
Maria Landers planned our Venice trip in May and I cannot say enough wonderful things about our guides. They were knowledgeable, personable, and generous with their answers to our numerous questions. We had exceptional tours and enjoyable conversations. We highly recommend a Cicchetti tour as part of the Venetian experience. Everything — from our escort at the airport to our cruise transfer — was perfect.
Maria Landers was excellent. She listened carefully to what we wanted and planned a wonderful trip. All of the guides were extremely knowledgeable, personable and spoke English well. The hotels she chose were in great locations, were quite comfortable with excellent staff that took great care of us. Particularly in Lake Como and Bologna she steered us to 2 fabulous hotels we would not have otherwise known to choose. She also made suggestions about where to dine, and once we chose the places, she made all of our restaurant reservations. There was not one “dud” among them. They were fabulous restaurants. We can recommend Maria most highly and without reservation!
Maria Gabriella Landers planned a wonderful trip for us to Sicily. Everything was seamless and one disappointment in Rome was dealt with quickly to our satisfaction. We would definitely use her again.
We just landed and I wanted to tell you how much Steve and I enjoyed our trip to Italy planned by Maria Landers. The accommodations were lovely, the drivers were always safe and courteous. Even when we had a mishap with a car breakdown the problem was resolved quickly. The guides Maria arranged for us were knowledgeable and had a good command of English. Steve was able to catch three fish on his outing, so that was great also. My driver Carlo was quick to come up with a fun plan for me for the day. Once again Thank you. We would recommend your Maria Landers to anyone that wants an enjoyable trip.
This trip was a trip of a lifetime! It was planned perfectly from our tours to our hotels and restaurants. It was planned as if Gabriella knew us personally. The drivers were awesome as well as our tour guides. The tours selected for us could not have been better as well as the hotels and restaurants. We cannot say enough how incredible everything was.
Our April 2016 trip with Maria Landers and Brian Dore to Rome and Florence was what we had hoped for and overall exceeded our expectations. Every guide we encountered knew their venue and was passionate about it. We enjoyed having the prepared tours and guides, but also appreciated the freedom to explore and experience both cities on our own. The guides and tours allowed us to tailor our trip, gave us starting points to follow up on what they had presented and maximized what we did in each city.
Guido, our guide at the Vatican engaged our party of 5 and was a wealth of knowledge, we could have asked questions for days and I have no doubt he could have answered them! As we left the Sistine Chapel he realized a small private party was ringing a bell and waiting to enter a private area, Guido ushered us to the side and told us to wait and look in as the door opened – for a moment we saw a Vatican guard and beyond a beautiful private room with more amazing art work. In Florence we went beyond the city into the countryside with Francesco as our driver and guide. He made you feel welcome and comfortable and was fantastic at pointing out sites of interest and navigating the narrow streets of the small towns we went to. Our day in Chianti at the winery Podere La Cappella was wonderful. Meeting the father and daughter team was a delight, the conversation and lunch we shared was amazing and expanded our knowledge of Tuscany and it’s wine and food. Day two with Francesco behind the wheel took us to Villa Monte Oriolo, with it’s beautiful olive grove of more than 6,000 trees. The natural beauty was matched by the warmth and hospitality of Eleonora Calamai and her daughter who presented us with a wonderful cooking lesson. They helped us to prepare one of our favorite meals of the trip and inspired us to purchase a pasta maker upon our return home (we are working at perfecting what we learned and hope to return to the Villa in the future for another lesson and perhaps a stay). Our time at the Villa was time we did not want to end and a true highlight of our trip! Francesco managed to soften our departure with a stop at Casini Firenze- Jennifer Tattanelli , a wonderful fine leather shop in Florence.
Maria listened to our requests and presented an itinerary that enhanced our trip and gave us experiences we would not have had on our own. The guides were all experts, highlighting the “must see” points and made visiting sites easy and efficient with no wasting time in lines or getting lost. Having a driver was also one of the best choices we made. We are not ” shy drivers” and manage NYC traffic just fine and certainly GPS has made driving easier world wide, but a local driver allowed us to relax and enjoy the ride, his insights and even take a short nap.
We certainly will seek out Wendy’s suggestions as we make future plans and hope to be in touch with Maria for a return trip to Italy some day.
During the last 3 weeks of September 2015 Maria organized a 3 week trip to 8 locations. Rome-Naples-Matera-Puglia-Palermo-Sciaccia-Noto-Taormina and back to Rome. Lots of details, lots of travelling. She arranged everything from private drivers and tour guides to special events. Everything went exactly as planned. Top hotels, food and wine were important to us and she delivered. We were very pleased and would work with her again. In fact we plan to have her help us with a trip to the northern parts of Italy. We recommend her without reservation.
Steve and Lois Chess
All of the experiences Maria planned were exactly what we were looking for. All of the guides were excellent, especially Borris in Cinque Terre; Francesco to Chianti (and Natasha) and Stefania in Lucca. The only negative was the dinner we had in Florence at I’Parione, which was recommended to us by Maria in her list of restaurants to try.
We had spent the day in Chianti tasting excellent wines from the region (and told our server as much), so we wanted to try another wine, not a Chianti. But he kept pushing us to try one. Second, when my pasta course arrived, it was not al dente. He didn’t come back to ask how the meal was so that I could mention it, and it was difficult to get someone’s attention. I was hungry and ate the dish, outside of the pasta being overcooked, the flavors were okay. When we finished, he came back and then I told him. He said, Oh, most foreigners don’t like their pasta al dente and send it back, so we automatically cook it longer. Not good. Don’t assume. We were looking for an authentic meal and didn’t experience that here. It was our last night in town too.
I’d recommend removing that restaurant from the list. Otherwise, all was great with Maria.
We just returned from an October vacation in Italy, visiting Rome, Florence and Venice. Thanks to our travel consultants, we had a spectacular time! Concierge in Umbria made all – and I mean, all – the arrangements for an amazing trip! We had a memorable experience literally every day. For example, I doubt too many visitors to Florence get a private tour of one of Europe’s largest private gardens with a member of the Italian nobility, and then sit down in his study to talk with him and his granddaughter about politics. All of our guides were amazing. Among them was a professor at the University of Edmonton’s campus in Italy, a television personality in Bologna and a wonderful retired librarian in Venice. The entire trip was arranged with absolute precision such that there was no wasted time. We will be talking about this trip for the rest of our lives, and we can’t wait plan another trip with Concierge in Umbria. We enthusiastically recommend Concierge in Umbria to anyone thinking about a trip to Italy!!!
Thank you for a wonderful trip to Italy. The accommodations at each location were spectacular. All of your insight and recommendations were accurate and enjoyable. For us, the most important part of the trip, was the education in Italian culture and history. To that end, we were particularly impressed with the drivers and guides assigned to us at each destination. They were all polite, personable and well informed. Without them we would certainly have missed the Italian experience. We will recommend with enthusiasm Concierge in Umbria to our family and friends. When we return to Italy, it will definitely be with you. Thank you again for a great trip!
This was our first trip to Italy and Maria made it one of the most exceptional trips we’ve ever taken. She created an intimate experience with amazing hotels and guides. Her suggestions for sightseeing, shopping and dining were great. We would use her again (and will) without hesitation.
My wife and I are very spontaneous, last-minute travelers and are comfortable with the pros and cons or being that way. We used the services of Maria Landers to plan a two-week visit to Sicily in May and could not have been more pleased with the arrangements she made even though we probably drove her a little crazy. We booked our own flights and hotels but relied on Maria to plan the itinerary itself and to rent a car for us and to arrange guides in each of the cities we visited. Maria started off by sending us, what I imagine was, a basic itinerary for Sicily and then was very flexible and accommodating about the changes we wanted to make to it. She also made recommendations that saved us both time and money along the way. We had a wonderful time and the guides Maria was able to find us, even at the last minute, were great. I highly recommend using Maria. I imagine that if you have more time to plan ahead she is even better.
Maria has now planned two fabulous trips to Italy for us and another couple. Though we had a few requests, for the most part we have left the planning to Maria and have not been disappointed. She definitely will go the extra mile to make sure your vacation is fabulous and just what you are looking for. Our most recent trip to the heel of the boot of Italy was incredible. No detail was forgotten. We highly recommend you choose her for your next adventure anywhere in Italy.
Everything was perfect from start to finish. This was our first trip to Italy (and my first trip to Europe) and we were really perplexed as to where to we should visit, how much we could absorb in the time we had, and what sights we should absolutely see (and might kick ourselves later if we didn’t). Maria helped us decide the cities to visit, the sights to see, and set us up with wonderful drivers and tour guides, all of whom made our visit so much more special and authentic. Italy on its own is spectacular, but looking at it through the eyes of someone who lives there makes it magical. I would go back and do it all over again in a heartbeat, and I would most assuredly contact Maria to help us set it up.
We traveled in October of 2014, and we visited Sorrento, the Amalfi Coast, Florence, Tuscany, and Rome.
Maria and Brian planned a great kid-friendly two weeks for us in Florence last summer. They set up gelato making, pasta making, pizza making, a Vasari Corridor tour, chocolate tasting, paper making, and many, many tours through museums, sites and gardens. An unbelievable experience. We even went back to Florence this summer and picked up where we left off with some additional tours and museums and even a book-making workshop.