I really do enjoy reading write ups from other tour companies and reading about tours with other tour companies written by travel bloggers; while this is a competitive field, everyone in it really is friendly and open to sharing knowledge and experiences and I’m all for working to get clients the best experience for them, even if it’s ultimately with another outfit.
Reading reviews like this one and this one about other tours people have undertaken is informative for us, and makes clear the full extent to which we do things a bit differently. From what I gather, one pretty common model involves a guide spending a few hours with you, often hitting the highlights and then getting you away from the beaten path a bit to give you a “feel” for a place like Rome or Venice, typically via a food or adult beverage opportunity to round the day out. I think this model does have a place, especially perhaps for young couples in the 20-30 year old demographic who want to be left alone quite a bit (and make no mistake, you can have as little or as much of Doug Sassi’s advice and guidance each day you’re in Italy, it really is up to you what your daily itinerary looks like). Don’t misread me to think I’m disparaging the knowledge, talent, or dedication of the folks running these types of tours; but I do think it important to note where our approach stands a bit apart from the crowd.
What we do is clearly different, and I think a bit more suited to the discerning traveler who wants a more immersive experiential approach that generates a deeper connection to what being an Italian is truly all about. Our model isn’t a metered, canned approach that offers a predetermined amount of the expert’s time; by way of contrast, we offer you unlimited access to an artist and art historian’s encyclopedic Italy knowledge to make every moment of your stay in Italy a chance to soak up la dolce vita. It’s a bit more leisurely in pace and offers the opportunity for ad hoc exploration, flexibility, and grants the traveler a more complete service that includes making getting to and from the destination cities and towns easier (if you prefer, we can configure your trip so that from the moment you arrive at the airport, we’ve arranged for everything, and you can just relax). If you’re doing a seven or ten day tour, Sassi Italy Tours will be with you providing concierge level service for the full seven days or ten days; daily we’ll plan excursions with as many or as few adventures as you like, and with breakfast, lunch, and dinner options throughout keeping you constantly in touch with simple fresh ingredients and rustic old-school preparation that makes Italian cuisine so unique. Because your time with us is extensive and vast, there are simply far more opportunities to show you things you’d miss otherwise and to keep you in touch with Italian culture. Our approach gives the discerning traveler a broader, fuller, and warmer emotional connection to the real Italy. Sassi Italy Tours’ approach can honestly give you the essence of what being an Italian is really about, even if only for a week or two that you’re there.
Again, no disparagement of the three hour quickie intended, as for some folks it clearly has its place, and you can see both the compulsory “highlights,” monuments, and occasionally off-the-beaten-path special experiences this way. But for a more thoroughly engaging experience that ties it all together, our round the clock guidance offers far, far more and I think leaves a longer lasting impression on the well-rounded traveler.