This just in by e-mail from Francesco, one of our senior guides in Tuscany: “My idea is to look for something special in any tour I guide. It means having time, during a walk, to explain how olive oil is made in front of an olive tree. Rub the leaves and smell it. Taste the ripe grapes while explaining the secrets of a good glass of Chianti. Meet an old man in a vegetable garden above Portofino and find out he is one of the five original residents still living there, and listen to his story. Sit with a shepherd who came from Sardinia 40 years ago with nothing and now owns a little fortune in a land he totally ignored before he went there. Italy is a fantastic country — beauty and magical moments are all around — we just have to be ready to pick them up at the right time as we’d do with a nice flower.”
We’re not even sure he realized it at the time, but Francesco’s little gem of a note had just summed up the essence of what we do. At Classic Journeys, it’s not just where we’re headed on a walk, it’s what we experience along the way. Move too fast, and encounters with locals — like the shepherd who regales our guests with tales of Tuscany — happen rarely, if at all. As Francesco went on to say, why be “a normal tour with a tight schedule, many activities and nothing special to remember” when our walking tours can be so much more?
Ironically, we received another e-mail, this one from a first-time guest who unwittingly confirmed everything Francesco conveyed in his ode to guiding:
“The trip we took to Tuscany and the Cinque Terre (May 7 – 15) could not have been better. The organization from the beginning to end was flawless. The local guides (Francesco and Luciano) were flexible, outgoing, knowledgeable and made the trip a joy. Several members of our group had taken previous trips with Classic Journeys and reported similar experiences. We are already talking about our next trip with the company!”
Happily, it looks like the old adage “what goes around, comes around” is really true. For more on our unique approach to travel and how we go the extra mile to introduce our guests to la dolce vita (and not just in Italy), check out our recent blog about making sure your tour guide really speaks your language.
PS If, like Francesco, you’ve taken time to “stop and rub the olive leaves” during your travels, we’d love to hear about it at firstname.lastname@example.org.