COMMENTS FROM OUR TRAVELERS
By courtesy of our travelers, following you can read just a few of the many thank-you notes they sent after tours with us, since we started in the year 2000. To all of of our friends, our warm thoughts always go, and... can't wait to meet you again!
I once read that the difference between a 'vacation' and 'travel' is that when on vacation, we expect to be comfortable and pampered, while when traveling, we don't mind putting up with inconveniences in our quest for new discoveries. Happily, the recent October Food and Wine tour truly combined the best of both experiences: a small group tour with such personal attention to every detail, along with numerous opportunities to explore the breathtakingly beautiful landscapes of Abruzzo, Italy's hidden treasure.
Those who seek this type of tour are not only on vacation or traveling, they are also on a journey to reconnect with their heritage. And while Theresa and I are probably not your typical customers - having been born in Abruzzo and having emigrated as children, we know our roots are firmly planted in Abruzzo soil - we were both searching as well: for the village where we were born while there was still someone left there who would remember us; for the Abruzzo we've heard about in our parents' stories before it becomes homogenized and Americanized beyond recognition; for a chance to hear the Abruzzese dialect spoken before it disappears completely. We were not disappointed -- this trip highly exceeded our expectations.
Theresa and I enjoyed ourselves immensely, from our first visit to the mercato in L'Aquila's Piazza Maggiore, to our final evening passeggiata along the Corso. Everything in between was absolutely 'indimenticabile'. The beautifully appointed Hotel San Michele was centrally located, with a courteous and helpful staff -- even the morning caffè latte was served with a smile! The mini-bus drives to our various destinations were filled with laughter and singing, and the stunning mountain scenery of the Maiella and the Gran Sasso. We visited an incredible variety of places: medieval villages clinging to their mountain perches, agriturismo centers showcasing the outstanding locally produced cheeses, wines and olive oils, religious sanctuaries, the beach at Pescara, the canyons of Atri. 'Abruzzo day' in Assisi during the feast of St. Francis, and the Cooks' Festival in Villa Santa Maria were extra-special treats. And the meals! It was like sitting down to a "festa" dinner every day. The entire tour was truly a feast for the senses as well as the soul.
Most of its success was due, of course, to your passion for showing tourists this little-known region of Italy, and at the same time offering them the concrete means for rediscovering their ancestry through your expert genealogy research service. What a tremendous experience for anyone interested in seeing an unspoiled region of Italy away from the traditional tourist routes. We would recommend your tours to anyone whether they are of Abruzzese descent or not. We can't wait to return for the 'reunion' tour!
Con tanti cari saluti a tutti,
Dear Abruzzo World Club team,
I just wanted to tell you what a wonderful time I had on our trip. There were so many high lights. Seeing my wife meet her great aunts and her cousin will be a memory I will never forget. However, there were so many more memorable experiences. I really enjoyed the camaraderie that everyone in the group enjoyed.... they became like family for the 11 days. What more can I say about the beauty of the countryside. The warmth and friendliness of the people of Abruzzo was felt wherever we visited. The lunches..... sitting for 2-3 hours at each lunch talking, laughing and especially enjoying the many courses of Abruzzo food and wine were enough to die for.
I have been on many tours in the past and I can honestly say this trip was the best by far. Please tell all of your associates.... that they did a wonderful job and the only non-Italian in the group .... me..... had a wonderful time. Grazie Mille
Dear Heart of Italy Tours,
For my first time going someplace out of the USA I could not have picked a better tour or group to be with. The food was great, the wine was excellent, and the people were... family. It was a family reunion that was put off for far too long.
You could not have done more to help me find genealogy records and unknown family still living in the village of my mother and our ancestors. I will be showing the more than 400 pictures I took to family and friends. We'll see who wants to join me on my next journey to Abruzzo.
Dear friends at Heart of Italy Tours,
This is just a note to tell you how much I enjoyed the October food and wine tour. The visits were excellent, very interesting locations and well planned, and you and your associates did a very good job of describing the locations and the history.
The tour group was not too large, allowing an opportunity to get to know all the travelers. The food and wine we enjoyed was traditional and certainly among the best in Abruzzo. This was my second tour and I had such a good time that may join you again for one of the 2005 tours.
I would like to take this opportunity to tell you how much Phyllis and I enjoyed the Food and Wine Tour and to thank you for making the trip such a success. The Abruzzo region is truly the heart of Italy. The Gran Sasso is magnificent. The pace of the tour, accomodations, scenery, food, and, of course, the wine were all outstanding. The opportunity to incorporate a visit to my family outside of Ortona was priceless.
We say thank you for helping us have such a wonderful experience.
Dear friends of Abruzzo Tours:
Anita and I want to thank you again for organizing such a wonderful and unique October Food and Wine Tour of the ABRUZZO region. We have been talking about it with friends and family since our return and cannot say enough good things about it. In fact, I've given a couple of your business cards to friends suggesting that they visit this area.
The people are friendly, there are very few tourists, the food and wines are the best, and it represents to me "the real Italy". I certainly learned many things about ABRUZZO, the region of Italy that my family came from, as a result of your and your groups enthusiasm for everything Abruzzese.
Spero che Dio benedica sempre voi e l'Abruzzo .
Caro Abruzzo World Club:
Thank you so very much for my wonderful, unforgettable one day trip to Abruzzo to visit my mother's village and the nearby region. It was the trip of a lifetime. Little did I know that one lazy June afternoon when I was poking around on the Internet I would make the exciting discovery of your exceptional tour company which would lead me on an extraordinary trip in search of my family's history. I couldn't believe that such a company existed that would do genealogical research and then actually take you to your ancestors' home. It was a dream come true. It was such an emotional day for me, meeting the villagers and even meeting a relative (photo attached). You provided an exceptional, considerate, and personal service, contacting the Municipio, researching my family, meeting the residents of my mother's village, translating for me, then taking me on a tour of the surrounding area, from beaches to monasteries, to olive groves to confetti shops to the town of Ovid (Sulmona). I had no idea Abruzzo was such a beautiful place with so much to see and do.
You took me to a wonderful restaurant where we had an outstanding lunch: I can still taste the homemade spaghetti: ironically, we ate in the very town where my grandfather trained as a chef (Villa Santa Maria)! Another plus.
I heartily recommend your company to anyone who is interested in Abruzzo, from those who have family from there to those who would like to see an unexplored part of bella Italia. What more can I say: the food, the beaches, the scenery, the beauty of Abruzzo: I was stunned by it all, and am ready to return.
I hope to see you again next year on a longer tour of this beautiful region.
Caro Abruzzo World Club:
Thank you so much for all of your help in making our family reunion trip to Abruzzo so successful. I really appreciate all of your efforts, from genealogy research and contacting our relatives, to ensuring that our stay in Giulianova went smoothly. It was an incredible trip, one that all of us will treasure for the rest of our lives.
When I was in Abruzzo, I felt as if I were home, and I feel that I left part of my heart there. So I do plan to return, hopefully many times; and I hope to see you then. Here is a photo I took of most of the Liberi group in Notaresco.
Dear Abruzzo World Club:
Thank you for a perfect day trip to Assisi and Pratola Peligna! Sandy and I agree that Assisi was worth the trip alone! We felt a true spiritual presence during the Mass we attended. The lunch was exceptional ... great food (especially the pasta dishes), great wine and a very relaxing atmosphere.
The trip to Pratola exceeded my expectations. I really appreciated the pre-work that you did prior to our visit. Arranging the tour of the little museum, the shrine and the church in the village where my mother and grandparents grew up was a highlight of the time we spent in Italy. I especially appreciated the fact that you arranged to have Domenico talk to us about his village. We will treasure his book about Pratola that he gave us as a gift!
We have already recommended your tours and genealogy service to several friends and family members. We look forward to seeing you again on our next trip to Italy!!
Abruzzo World Club:
Thank you so much for your extraordinary efforts in making my parents trip to Introdacqua and Abruzzo area the highlight of their trip to Italy. It was a very emotionally satisfying day for my mother and provided much interesting history and beautiful scenery for my father to enjoy as well. They especially enjoyed the delicious lunch you arranged. Your services were very professional from the very first e-mail communication we had to the moment you returned my parents to their hotel.
Very truly yours,
"Grazie mille" once again to you, for showing us around the beautiful region where you live. Our two-day tour of Abruzzo will stand out as one of the highlights of our seven-week trip to Italy. Your enthusiasm for the area was contagious and your hospitality made us feel like one of the family.
The Abruzzo region is perhaps one of Italy's best-kept secrets (a hidden gem!) yet so easy to reach from Rome. Given that, we hope others discover it, too, and it would be our pleasure to recommend your services to anyone planning a trip to Italy. Of course, we also hope to visit again in the not-too-distant future! We hope you'll keep in touch and allow us to return the hospitality if you visit Sydney.
All the best,
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