Dianne Marie Long

We had the best experience in Italy - thanks to Alessia Moro and Cultural Italy.    From the first contact, she was responsive and willing to make any arrangements we wanted.  We left all the details to her, and we were not disappointed.  She picked hotels that were conveniently located and that had terrific staff.  She arranged all our train trips - no matter how complicated.  She suggested experiences for us in different towns and was so gracious when we had to move everything by one day because of our air flight.   We asked Alessia many questions and she was always so good about answering us. We would definitely use Cultural Italy again! Cindy and I have loads more photos and stories - but these are some highlights.   One of my highlights were the tour with Mose Viero in Venice.  Alessia had arranged a private tour for us to "Discover the Venice Flavors".   This was fantastic!!  Mose was an incredible host - taking us to two cafes we would never have found as tourists and telling us so much more than Venice's history.  He told us about the food (of course), but also about the current political concerns of Venetians, the population changes occurring, social services for residents, and anything else we asked him - which was a lot!  We tasted food and wine from the area, and learned so much about Venice that I really cannot wait to return.  The tour and Mose was incredible!  Another highlight was my experience at the cooking school!  Wow!  Cooking is not something I would normally spend time learning in another country - but this was fantastic!  I learned the real art of making pasta - with excellent instruction but also by doing it myself.    Oh my - we spent 3.5 hours on our feet making the pastry, and then folding, cutting, drying until we finished creating with everyone's pasta.   I was very tired when we finished - but the instruction we got was incredible.  The instructors really wanted us to learn - so they checked our "work" and corrected our mistakes until we really got it.   I learned it so well - I have already made homemade pasta for my family!  I did it!!  (and they liked it!)   After we finished the class - the cooks took our pasta (yes - the pasta we made!) and cooked it up into a 3 course incredible meal for all of us.  They had us sit (finally:) at a table filled with all the wine and bottled water we wanted - and served us the best meal we had the whole time in Italy!    AWESOME - Alessia you did GREAT with finding this class for us.  And how could I ever be the same again after my experience St. Francis's forest in Assisi?   I love hiking - and this walk through "his" forest, original home, and the meditation spots throughout the area were absolutely incredible.   What a peaceful, beautiful town to arrive in after the hustle and bustle of the larger cities.   I can't wait to take my family here some day (and return myself)! Although I was concerned about taking any tours as I don't usually like them, the walking tour of Milan and viewing of the Last Supper pleasantly surprised me.  We each had headsets, so we could all hear with out having to be crowded around the guide.  The guide arranged a rest stop at a wonderful cafe for all of us and of course, there is absolutely nothing better than seeing great art work in person.  I learned things about the Milan Cathedral and the painting that could not be found in guide books.  Our guide was so knowledgeable - but also so very kind.  She never stopped smiling and answering our questions. She even insured Cindy and I knew where the nearest gelato bar was after our tour:)And finally - I will never, ever forget seeing the incredible Cathedral in Milan for the first time.  It literally took my breath away.  What a extraordinary trip we had in Northern Italy - thank you for all your incredible work to make this such a great experience. And Alessia - we did get to try the cafes, bars, and restaurants you suggested at our request.  They were great recommendations - as were your suggestions on what food and drink we should try.  Thank you!!

 Dianne Marie Long