Selling the Italian Experience
For today’s traveler, it’s all about experiences –
more what they do than what they see. No longer content with tour-bus overviews of a city, they want to feel its pulse, eat its food, dance to its beat. A museum now and then is fine, but it’s the experiences they’ll post on Instagram.
It’s not a generational thing – travelers of all ages are looking for experiences that enrich their lives, provide them insights into a different culture, even challenge them. That doesn’t mean they shun tours. But it often means they are looking for custom or small-group tours that explore a smaller area more thoroughly, or that center around their own special interests. The perfect tour gives them an insider’s view and takes them places they would have never have found on their own.
Because Italy is so filled with iconic landmarks and “must see” attractions, it’s easy to forget that it also has plenty of one-off experiences. There’s a lot to do besides ride in a gondola and tour the Colosseum. Your clients can hike a dizzying via feratta in the Dolomites, learn windsurfing on Lake Garda, master the art of lace-making or wood marquetry, cycle through the Tuscan hills, follow a pilgrimage route, even test drive a super car on a race track.
And eat some of the world’s favorite food. Many of the most popular small group tours center around food, and you can book your clients on a week-long culinary odyssey or an afternoon exploring the food traditions of a Roman neighborhood.
Active Tours in Italy
Boundless Journeys’ (www.boundlessjourneys.com) tours go off the beaten path for immersive and authentic experiences that include hiking the Cinque Terre and along scenic pilgrimage routes between walled hill towns, exploring ancient abbeys in the mountains that inspired Michelangelo. The hiking tour of ancient Sicily follows beautiful coastal paths through ruins of early civilizations, with stops at vineyards and to savor local foods.
Vermont Bicycling Tours (www.vbt.com) offers self-guided and guided tours. Adventurers looking to soak it all in can follow cypress-lined lanes through rolling vineyards in Piedmont, pause to say “buongiorno” at an olive oil mill hidden among centuries-old olive trees in Puglia, cycle into the magnificent valleys and storybook villages of the Dolomites, or stop for a gelato in a cliffside village beside the sparkling Mediterranean in Tuscany. A bike tour in Italy is the perfect way to work up an appetite for the country’s famously delicious food..
Concentrating on regional foods, the Tuscany Active Culinary Walking Tour with Backroads (www.backroads.com) follows the strade bianche (white roads) of southern Tuscany’s Val d’Or through vineyards and forests between Renaissance hill towns, stopping to savor local farm-to-table meals and
Your clients who prefer traveling independently can enrich their trip with prearranged tours and local experiences. Food lovers are especially lucky in Italy. Eating Italy Food Tours (www.eatingitalyfoodtours.com) specializes in sharing the best food experiences in Rome. Local insiders take small groups away from the tourist crowds and into the neighborhoods of Trastevere and Testaccio to experience authentic Roman food and wines with the people who live there. In Testaccio, the city’s foodie neighborhood where the traditional cucina romana (roman cuisine) was born, they visit markets to meet the vendors, sample tiramisu at a café, and taste everything from classic Italian dishes to typical street food, laced generously with insights into
In Venice, Walks of Italy (www.walksofitaly.com) can give your clients the unforgettable experience of visiting Venice’s most iconic landmark after the tourists have left, on their exclusive Alone in St. Mark’s Basilica After Hours tour. Or reserve them a tour of the Doge’s Palace – the dark secret passages, prison cells, judgment chambers, and Casanova’s cell.
With Perillo Tours (www.perillotours.com) you can book entire Italian vacations or single experiences, such as riding lesson and leisurely horseback ride through the Chianti countryside, stopping at a 14th-century villa for a Tuscan meal and a tour of the wine cellars. Clients who prefer cars to horses can test-drive a super car for four laps on a race track near Bologna. Suggest to golfers a 9-day package in the scenic lakes district that includes some of Italy’s finest courses, with private transfers.
Choosing the right tours for your clients can make all the difference in their vacation experience – and bring them back for your expert help with their
For more information about tourism in Italy, visit www.italia.it