If you’re a do it yourself type, this is a handy site. Even if you’re on a tour and want to explore on your own a bit this’ll be a handy one to bookmark as getting back to your hotel is generally an enjoyable thing to be able to do.
A word on doing it yourself–we’re really not against it per se even though it runs counter to our business model. We’ve had lots of clients go with us a time or two and then be able to navigate Italy on their own, and we think that’s great! Nobody can be an expert at everything, and while going to sites like Tripadvisor can give you general hints about the things you want to see and how to get there, there’s also no substitute for the personal insight someone like Doug Sassi can give you. Someone who’s been doing this for going on four decades and has professional art/art historian underpinnings can lend a perspective that the Internet just can’t duplicate I don’t think. It’s YOUR trip and you don’t want to waste your time getting lost, hoping to get lucky with a good non-tourist-trap restaurants, waiting in lines you don’t have to, etc.
There’s no real downside to traveling with Doug Sassi. Our tours are customized to let you travel at your pace and you’re never hamstrung into more or fewer activities than you want or need, and you can have plenty of time to explore on your own. Why not have your own private Italy expert showing you the ropes on your first trip or two?
Portrait of local baker Doug Rae by Raphael Sassi. One of the special things Sassi Italy Tours can do that I don’t think anyone else can offer as well as we can: a chance to study the masters of the Renaissance under the tutelage of a modern master. Raphael Sassi is a career professional portrait artist and the winner of more awards than I can begin to mention here. His attention to light and emotionally accurate rendering of his subjects is hard to beat, and Sassi Italy Tours can naturally book him to accompany you on an artist’s tour of Rome and Florence, where you’ll study the works of the masters with his help and oversight, and learn two dimensional rendering of various subjects with a classical touch.
My friend Jim Brandano, based in Florida, is a fantastic photographer. His Venice images are quite literally astounding and instantly transport you into an extreme state of “holy cow when am I going to get to be in Venice again.”
He does sharp wedding and portrait work as well. Check out his site!
I like to think Mama Isa would have been proud! The wife has joined a women’s group that’s focused on exploring international cuisine, locally sourced foods, and self-reliant artisanal “making it yourself” outlooks. They wanted to have a pasta making night, and fortunately they knew just who to ask.
I brought some already made semolina noodles and some pre-mixed dough that had already had a chance to settle; there were about 15 attendees, and we talked about the importance of making your food yourself and being connected to where it comes from (it’s interesting how that concept is somewhat revolutionary here in the US thanks to our industrial processed food addiction, but is just “how it’s done” in Italy), and how that’s a key component of what makes food so enjoyable in Italy.
I like to think that person by person we Americans are going to start grasping just how unsustainable our processed food diet really is and starting seeing the nobility in the “get everything you can locally and make it yourself” take on food.
It was nice talking to like minded folks, many of whom were planning trips to Italy and hadn’t yet heard of Sassi Italy Tours. Not a bad way to spread the good word about what we bring to the table–some pappardelle arrabiata and vino rosso!