We have just arrived back in Melbourne – full of marvelous memories or our trip in Umbria with you. We are not the type to go on tours usually, fearing the stereotype of turning into tourist sheep. And we had been to Umbria before – BUT we have never really understood or appreciated it beyond a superficial level.
The tour was go, go, go, cramming so much into the two weeks. However, it was beautifully orchestrated and well balanced, making it extremely exciting to get up every morning ready for a new activity and experience. And we NEVER felt like the ‘proverbial tourist’!
We have had the most splendid and varied and sometimes quite out of our comfort zone experiences [which I thank you for – as I would never have imagined that I would have had fun riding a donkey or getting my hands nice and sticky helping to make cheese – but I did immensely – it was one of those ‘if I don’t do it now I never will’ moments. Not to mention, in random order: the Spoleto Festival ballet, Italian lessons, the myth of the Sibillines, a cooking lesson, the Jazz Festival in Peruga, meeting a renowned winemaker, picnicking ‘en pleine aire’ in the vineyard, hunting for tartufi, making strangozzi and then eating it, the poolside party, the food, aah the food!!!
Grazie Antonella for giving us this personal insight into another world where we were able to meet not only real Umbrians: writers, artists, photographers, chefs, business people and but also your very own dear friends and family. What you have given us was the ability to swap our lives for the interim and experience the real Umbria – the experiences were doubly intensified by the obvious passion you have for your homeland.
You were our guide, our mentor, our teacher and our friend our magician who lead us through through an invisible doorway to view the life, history, customs and culture of Umbria at a profound level.
Gracie mille for allowing us to share your life, your world, your Umbria!
Lee and Ron
The 2013 Two Festivals Tour was a wonderful journey, generously guided. Antonella did not take me on a tour, she took me home.
What a pleasure to receive your email. After all you only had 101 other issues needing your attention before your departure next week. Thank you for your thoughtfulness. At this stage coffee in Brighton with Luisa and me does not look likely, due to class commitments, and also it is assumed the amount of time you can spend “playing ladies” in your final week in Melbourne must be limited.
Rosie told us she was joining you in September, and Luisa and I greeted her news with a mix of joy for her, and envy, like kids who hadn’t already had their treats. What you created for us has given us such an appetite for more – although I’m well aware that our mix was perfect (having a room mate whose smile and temperament lights up any space she enters)Incidentally, for me, your programme was ideal. It didn’t feel necessary to have ‘free’ time. One can sleep back in grey wet Melbourne. The magic exists for two weeks only.
Hope you and your family – and the extended Italian one- stay well.
I have just uploaded our photos from our trip and they remind us what a wonderful experience we have just enjoyed.
It was as you promised a ‘unique travel experience’, everything was perfect, made so by your pre planning and professionalism. This ensured that all the activities proposed for “The Two Festivals Tour” were undertaken seamlessly.
Every one of our co travelers were great companions and added so positively to our experience. They were all enthusiastic, supportive and charming, all getting into the spirit of our various activities. We all sang, laughed and cried together.
You introduced us to some very delightful people and that was for us the special ingredient in making the trip so unique. Our teachers Roberta, Laura and Elisa. Our guide Daniela. Our accommodation hosts the Bianconi family in Norcia, Elisa in Citta’ di Castello and Alessandra and Filippo in Poreta. Then there were all the charming people associated with our extra activities, artist’s studio, lace shop, printing shop, shoe and clothes shops, wine tasting, vineyard touring, winery touring, trekking, donkey riding, pig farming, cheese making, bread making and our special cooking classes with Flavio and the nonnas.
And as if that was not enough, our three highlights; meeting with Rodney, riding and dining with the Vespa and vintage car clubs and finally our special pool- side dinner with Massimo, Ceciila and their family and friends in Casigliano.
Additionally you presented us every day with beautiful foods and wines in delightful restaurants and some delightful outdoor picnics.
There was also the jazz and the ballet.
It was all a treat and you even arranged for Ron and me to have a game of golf at the most scenic Antognolla Golf Course with its lovely pool.
Our everlasting memories of Umbria will be of friendly, welcoming and charming people. Breathtakingly beautiful ancient towns and scenery. Beautiful balmy weather. Angela of course loved the many and varied opportunities to converse and to translate Italian, with charming competent teachers and many local friendly people.
That’s all, other than to say again a very big thank you for taking us on such a delightful experience in beautiful Umbria.
Thank you for being you, we loved all your shoes and clothes and your very genuine enthusiasm, humor and care for us.
Michael and Angela
Dal mio cuore grazie mille per la bell’esperienza che mi hai dato dell’Umbria. Quest’anno ancora di piu` che due anni fa la gente che ci hai presentato erano molto speciali e mi sembravano come vecchi amici. La loro gentilezza e` commovente. Come sempre grazie , baci a te. Lynette.
(Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for the beautiful experience you gave me in Umbria. This year even more so than a few years ago I felt that the people you introduced us to were so special, like old friends. Their kindness was moving. As always, thank you and kisses to you.)
In July 2012 I am planning my third Umbria tour with Antonella of An Italian Affair.
What is drawing me there? Is it its beauty, its mysterious medieval architecture, the wonderful food, the rambling olive groves and vineyards, the melodic language?
Yes, all of these things, but most of all the people. People like Antonella, Daniela, Roberta, Dr Rodney Lokaj and Biagio, who with their love of, the enthusiasm for, attachment to, and knowledge of that mysteriously beautiful and spiritual place, infected me with a passion for their land, its history and culture. It is through them, with them and by their passion that I am drawn and beckoned to their beloved Umbria
Anyone that wants a unique italian holiday experience I can highly recommend antonella . Lisa and I stayed in her village in Umbria in 2007 and it remains one of our lives most treasured memories
Her details are below if anyone is interested
I feel I got to know Umbria much better going with you than I would have on any other tour your love of here radiated to us all and for this I thank you most sincerely.
I look forward to doing the tour again, grazie mille x bev
The feeling of being an “adopted Italian “ and really living the Italian life as opposed to being a tourist
In all regards the 11 day exceeded our expectations. Every aspect of the tour was excellent.
Maria and Ian
The people we met. Roberta, Laura, Gianni, Marisa, Marcello, Cecilia, Giampaolo, Bruno, your wonderful neighbours from Casigliano, Dinner at your neighbours’ house – Antonella, you organised the most amazing itinerary & experience for us and we still can’t thank you enough.
Sandra and Clemente