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RECENT TESTIMONIALS

Highlights of the holiday were seeing the "real" Venice: second time I'd been there and enjoyed it much more; food and all great and different restaurants; great company and great fun. Great variation in activities. Extremely well organised and really good value for money.  BH (VIC) 2016

Mardie your attention to detail in your planning - the choice of accommodation and restaurants, the variety of excursions and activities, the drivers and guides you engage- ensures that everything happens seamlessly.  All managed with grace, good humour and equanimity.  I congratulate you Mardie in your ability to just make things happen so successfully. I enjoyed new experiences and adventures every day... much pleasure and joy.  KS (VIC) 2016

Many thanks for making our holiday very special.  Also for going out of your way to accommodate our preferences. Thanks too to your Italian team who assisted greatly during our trip. KO (NSW) 2016

It was a wonderful holiday.  Loved the out of the way restaurants.  Smaller towns. Truffle Fair. and hunt good fun. Segways in Verona!- an experience.  Cars were great and it was good to get into the hills and wineries. Very impressed with your organization and how smoothly everytning went. JE (VIC) 2016

Thank you for another wonderful Italian experience Mardie.  You really do have the mix of activities all just right! My favourite days were the days we spent at Massa Lubrense: organic farmers tour, coast walk and picnic, Sunday lunch at family restaurant....  Also our own boat trip aroud Capri, and Anacapri. I hope to travel with you again next year. HA (WA) 2015 

Organizataion: The balance bewteen fine dining and country fare, rural and towns.  Highlights were Nuraghe village, Roman ruins, goat herds, caves in Sardegna, great drivers generous with their information and  sharing their culture.   Very enjoyable and good company. It fulfilled my expectations, plus! MG (VIC) 2016. 

 We loved Firenze. Wine tasting and tour.  Dinner with your friends P... and family and seeing Adriano's garden.  Lucca and the villa each day trip was great.  We had a really good look at the region in a short space of time.  Accommodation was excellent. The tour fullfilled our expectations and more.  B&TW (NSW) 2015

I just loved everything! Accommodation was the best - better than I expected! This I appreciate and consider when booking.  ....  Absolutely well organised....and fullfilled my expectations. We had such a wonderful time - I really enjoy your tours... you have all of the contacts to these places, very personalised. JB (WA) 2013

Even for  those of us lucky to have travelled often in Italy, (Matera) was an unforgettable sight.  Photos will never do it justice, but it is locked in the memory forever.  Organisation) was fantastic, can’t think of anything to improve it.  I especially enjoy the little extras you do, like the evening drink with Martina in Martina Franca, lunch with the English couple whose names escape me!  Experiences that don’t make it seem like you’re on a tour at all.  I think I have said this about every Ciao Bella tour I have done – but it’s true.  I’m sure it’s not easy to organise all those things, but they add such value to the tour. Accommodation (was) fantastic, especially the trullo. (GH 2015)

 Holiday highlights were dinner with A... and family, G... and (winery), our villa, rural Tuscany, hill top villages, meeting the baroness and of course the food  (Anon, 2015)

Highlights were being driven in Mercedes by Lucio with a small group of friends. Good guide at Pompeii. Seeing Sorento. The drive into Positano and along the Amalfi narrow roads Staying in Positano in top hotel. Views, interesting shops, people watching. Going on the boats, more views and photo opportunities. Wonderful dining experiences, Positano and Revello. The Villa at Rovello. Visit to Paestum souveniring 2000year old pot fragments. Green grotto. Paper mill in Amalfi. Delfino hotel at Massa Lubrense with more views see, boats and Carpri. Meeting Ogenio and family and seeing their farm lemons olives pigs chooks and the pet goat. The cheese making demo and tastings and getting to make our own pizza and eating all of it. The 5 to 10 course meal at a Michelin star restaurant. E.tc need I say more Mardi It was all wonderful.  BW (NSW) 2015

WHAT WERE THE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE HOLIDAY TOUR EXPERIENCE FOR YOU?
  Being driven in Mercedes by Lucio with a small group of friends. Good guide at Pompeii. Seeing Sorento. The drive into Positano and along the Amalfi narrow roads Staying in Positano in top hotel. Views, interesting shops, people watching. Going on the boats, more views and photo opportunities. Wonderful dining experiences, Positano and Revello. The Villa at Rovello. Visit to Paestum souveniring 2000year old pot fragments. Green grotto. Paper mill in Amalfi. Delfino hotel at Massa Lubrense with more views see, boats and Carpri. Meeting Ogenio and family and seeing their farm lemons olives pigs chooks and the pet goat. The cheese making demo and tastings and getting to make our own pizza and eating all of it. The 5 to 10 course meal at a Michelin star restaurant. E.tc need I say more Mardi It was all wonderful.  Highlights of our tour were being driven in Mercedes by Lucio with a small group of friends. Good guide at Pompeii. Seeing Sorento. The drive into Positano and along the Amalfi narrow roads Staying in Positano in top hotel. Views, interesting shops, people watching. Going on the boats, more views and photo opportunities. Wonderful dining experiences, Positano and Revello. The Villa at Rovello. Visit to Paestum souveniring 2000year old pot fragments. Green grotto. Paper mill in Amalfi. Delfino hotel at Massa Lubrense with more views see, boats and Carpri. Meeting Ogenio and family and seeing their farm lemons olives pigs chooks and the pet goat. The cheese making demo and tastings and getting to make our own pizza and eating all of it. The 5 to 10 course meal at a Michelin star restaurant. E.tc need I say more Mardi It was all wonderful.  BW

We have recently returned from Italy having experienced two of Mardie's 2014 tours during the whole month of June 2014.  We cannot speak highly enough about Mardie's ability to read the dynamics of her small tourist groups and to respond so well to their interests and priorities.  Her experience in this very focussed Italian market shone through on every single day! This was the best holiday we have ever experienced! R&MM (VIC) 2014

Your organization was excellent and efficient while also being flexibile enough to cope with change...Expectations (of tour) were exceeded.  A great opportunity to explore Puglia, its people, landscape and climate.... we could have omitted one big meal per day and still put on weight. BM (NSW) 2015

The tour was most interesting.  Unfortunately it was all over and done with in a very short time (2 weeks).  This is not a criticism.  It probably means that the time just flew. MB (NSW) 2015

Once again, thank you for another wonderful trip. I enjoy the friendly way you present these travels. The small group is one of my main attractions - top accommodation in coastal locations.  I always feel I am going privately with a group of friends.  You really suss-out he places we visit and I find your knowlefge of little facts like where you find the best coffee etc appeal! Omit nothing! I loved it and think Sardegna is the best kept secret. J (WA) 2014

Such a happy Italian sojourn  with you Mardie.... fine food and wine.. leisure amid a great variety of activities (loved the segway), history, villages - all in the Tuscan sun. Thank you. I hope I can journey with you again. MC(VIC) 2014

Mardie I loved my time with you - everyone was so friendly and interesting which made the trip even more enjoyable.  I've relived so many special moments and my only grumble is that we left so quickly that I don't think I really thanked you enough for all your care and attention.  I appreciate very much all you did for us as a group and for me in particlar. PD(NSW) 2014

I loved the experience at the villa.  Only since I have returned have I realised what a special thing that was to do, especially being based there for a week.  The meal with Patriza and her family is a wonderful memory and like nothing I have ever done before.  The fact that I didn't feel like a tourist at all is probably the strongest way I can express how special it was. I remain always appreciative of your capicity to run a tour and yet I never really feel I am on one! That's of course down to your vast experiences, relaxed manner, and ability to plan your tours so well. I'd rate the accommodation as brilliant, with the only improvement possibly being better lighting at the rooms in the villa.  JH (VIC) 2014

Excellent organisation 10/10! and first class accommodation in all the hotels. The tour fulfilled my expectations.  Thank you for all your help.  JM (VIC) 2014

Highlights of the holiday tour were the anticipation of experiencing something new and different each day, the day on the sailing boat, Mount Etna, Monreale, the sumptious feasts.  It was very well organised: to not have to worry about anything was wonderful.... (the tour) fulfilled my expectations, and more.  A (VIC) 2013

Where on earth do I start and finish.....Mardie, since I've been back and reflected on my whole Italian trip, I have declared it the best trip I have ever done......It was such a well thought out tour.  The opera was an absolute highlight, especially for the opera-ignorant like me! What a magical experience to see a Verdi opera in Parma at the time his 200th birthday was being celebrated.....I loved all our wonderful food and wine (yes, except for THAT bowl of pasta) and all our restaurants.... (the tour fulfilled my expectations) yes and yes and yes again.... I loved the tour and would do it again, as is, tomorrow.  GH (VIC) 2013

Sardegna was an unexpected delight....excellent organization..... excellent accommodation..... exceeded expectations....it was fantastic to have everything taken care of with no need for me to have to plan, worry, organize etc, just turn up.  The pace and timing of activities was excellent. Mardie, it was really great. CW (NSW) 2013

Just a word of thanks - now that I have been back a while and had a chance to reflect.  I thought the ....tour was a wonderful concept.  The company, the food and the daily tours were of the highest standard. ... The tour was well organised: I was impressed.... Your efforts were much appreciated and I shall keep an eye out for further interesting tours in the future. DP (SA) 2008

Highlights of the tour for me included travelling in a true small group, dining out at wonderful restaurants, aperitivi time... it was very well organised and the accommodation excellent..... it very much fulfilled my expectations......thank you for a wonderful holiday.  HA (WA) 2013

 Highlights of the tour were Alghero, sailing boat, Orgosolo lunch and singing, Trattoria L., tour of Cagliari, losing our luggage, Segesta and picnic lunch, Erice, Monreale, Cefalu, Oritigia, Noto, Etna, Taormina, Fish market.....  Every effort to cover all interests was made.... I liked the flexibility of the tour. M (NSW) 2013

I've been home for almost 2 weeks now and have had time to reflect on my journeying, and for the Italian part know that I was more than lucky to have had the good fortune to have travelled with you........... I must admit I did approach it with trepidation, but it was everything I hoped it would be and I can't think of anything I would want to change or to suggest any improvements.  NF (WA) 2013

Very interesting places visited; great food and wine; very good accommodation; restaurants well chosen......  Enjoyed every bit, and highly recommend to others. M (VIC) 2013

Thank you so much for providing such an outstanding and well organised tour of Tuscany.  Your selection and balance, given the overwhelming number of choices, was brilliant! We found our time was so well planned and well spent including you created a great balance of places to see, things to do and sufficient free time. The planned food promise was more than fulfilled.  Our shared fun and enjoyment of meals is well recorded in our photography.... Grazie and arriverderci.  JJ (SA) 2011

The tour was well organised, and we also enjoyed the fact that arrangements could be tailored to our preferences.....it was a real indulgence. PH (WA) 2011

Mardie, my initial response to the tour description was one of amazement - sounds like a dream - surely too good to be true.  Well, I can now confirm that having experienced the wonderful 10day Tuscany tour with you, I have in reality "lived the dream" - each day bringing unimagined experiencs and indelible memories.  This tour offered all that was promised and much, much more.  Your knowledge, passion and familiarity with this region of Italy - wheter in relation to history, culture, lifestyle, language, food, places to see (on or off the beaten track) - enhanced the enjoyment and appreciation of the daily activities far exceeding any expectations that I may have had.  KS (VIC) 2013

Loved Florence but the week at the villa was the highlight of the tour - the view, atmosphere plus good company made for a special holiday... very well organised and a tour guide who thoroughly enjoyed what she was doing!....it more than fulfilled my expectations - very happy with the information/emails before tour-all questions answered. Anon (NSW) 2012

This was the first organised tour X and I have been on and it did not disappoint.  We both thoroughly enjoyed Sardinia and Sicily and on our return googled for further information on the islands especially about World War II in the area.  There were many highlights and there is nothing we can suggest to improve the tour.  "Relax and enjoy authentic Italian experiences at a leisurely pace in a small group.  A touch of luxury, great food and wine, history and art". This says it all. KW (VIC) 2011

Highlights were Da Guido restaurant, truffle hunt, Roddino, the three wineries we visited...  We felt it was too "laid back" in parts... we enjoyed the tour - especially the company - well done. JM (VIC) 2011

The tour absolutely fulfilled my expectations….The trip was fantastic and I have passed on your details to so many since I returned. It was everything I wanted it to be plus more. GM (VIC) 2007

I've been telling everyone how fantastic the trip was.....the highlight for me was feeling that I was seeing Tuscany with an insider.... I actually started the trip with an "is it too good to be true" feeling.  I was so pleased that the actual trip managed to surpass my expectations.......I'll confess that I did baulk at the price initially but I feel that it was money well spent. TL (OS) 2010 

Highlights of the tour experience (were the) dinners ..., wineries ..., sights...., countryside.....  A very good balance between city/country - plenty of free time/flexibility - but well structured. The tour fulfilled expectations. Anon (VIC) 2011

Thank you very much for organizing such a good tour – from the morning we met…..to my reluctant parting from our group, I enjoyed it all very much and I enjoyed your company and that of our companions. I do like organized people and I could see you had put a lot of time and effort so things ran smoothly. Everything was tasteful and pleasant. The villa certainly was what I always expected a villa in Tuscany to be and I loved it. Paradise or close to it. JM (NSW) 2008

Highlights were the week at the villa, drinks on verandah after a day's sightseeing, having a meal around that lovely big kichen table.  Accommodation was first class.   (Organization) couldnt have been better.  very professionally done, yet casual and not too tiring. PR (NSW) 2012

Thanks for a great tour....beautiful countryside, villages and secenery everywhere... well organised and well paced... (the accommodation) was absolutely beautiful. BM (NSW) 2010

There were many highights, but a special day on a lovely old sailboat exploring the NW coast of beautiful Sardinia, plus lovely lunch on board in a sheltered cove.  Driving high up Mt Etna in Sicily, a very active volcano, and exploring the results of recent eruptions was a  memorable day for me.  .... the tour was very well organised. Mardie is an excellent leader who knows Italy extremely well. DS (QLD) 2010

We enjoyed staying at the villa and enjoyed the tranquil setting.  Very comfortable and loved where the villa is situated. We enjoyed the tour and revisiting paces we visited previously..... Perfect organization. On the whole the tour is well balanced and I think it suits people of various ages - would not change the format.  Keep doing what you are. If anyone has any negative comment I would say they are hard to please. D (QLD) 2011

I am always a little nervous with single accommodation… but I was thrilled with my beautiful room - comfy, large, beautifully positioned, chosen with thought and care. …The tour more than fulfilled my expectations – having travelled frequently I was surprised, and enjoyed the little coffees and gelatos and little personal things we shared, as if travelling with friends – not on a conducted tour… I could not think of one thing you could have done to improve our holiday. JB (WA) 2007

Did the tour fulfill our expectations? Absolutey! Well organised..... we can't think of any improvements! MR (NSW) 2010

Mardie, it was the holiday of a lifetime.  I throughly enjoyed every minute.... excitement, thrill, amazement, indulgence.  An utter delight. It exceeded every expectation. Grazie!!  GM (QLD) 2010

Highlights were the varied programme, good company, good food. Villa accommodation was palatial….information (before commencement of the tour) was accurate and adequate. Tour leader great, cooking great. Full marks for organization. Mardie knows her Italy. BM (QLD) 2006

Highlights were dinner in a private home outside Florence, roof top drinks in Florence, Spa Day, Dinner outside was heaven in San Gimignano, the Bike ride, Cinque Terre etc etc etc!    Omit nothing- it was fantastic! L (VIC) 2010

There were so many highlights.... the villa and the people on the tour, the restaurants, the food both at the villa and when we dined out.  Eating and meeting B... and his delightful family ...  that was very special...In every way it (the tour)  is just how I had dreamed of for so many years.  Thank you so much Mardie.  LS (SA) 2008

The whole time in Florence was fantastic – not that everything else wasn’t, but I had no idea it was so beautiful. The most memorable meal was Valentina’s – the broad beans, pecorino and that bread! Organization was top notch….. the tour more than fulfilled my expectations. We all had a wonderful time. I think the mix of being busy and having relaxing time was perfect. All in all it was the best holiday we have ever had and we are looking forward to doing it again. LT (WA) 2007

The tour exceeded my expectations as much thorough homework and planning had obviously been done to ensure a smooth, unhurried and yet event/activity packed experience. All up – an experience that has one hankering for more. I can imagine that many who participate in a Ciao Bella tour will return time and again. Grazie tanto Mardi for a special life experience. VL (VIC) 2006

One of the special things…. was dinner with P..’s family – to be able to go into a local’s home and enjoy a wonderful meal around a table that was full of local produce was amazing. The way you organized the tour really suited us and your ability to speak fluent Italian together with your knowledge of the areas we visited added to our enjoyment…. The villa was quite amazing. MK (VIC) 2006

Loved all of it… the pace was great which let us see plenty, shop and relax. It was a real holiday. Loved dining with an Italian family in their house – what a wonderful introduction….. accommodation was excellent…..the tour more than fulfilled my expectations. Anon 2007

The tour was extremely well organized – attention to detail was great. (it) actually exceeded my expectations…..especially enjoyed small out of the way places: all places had something special…. Not too rushed- time to absorb…..really enjoyed the company…will highly recommend. ML (VIC) 2007

Thanks for all your attention and helpfulness – and the beautiful food!! TR (WA) 2007

Everything was a highlight: wonderful company, many laughs, and great memories, especially the dinner at Locanda del Moro. The tour in Florence was great, as was the tour of the markets and the Chiant wine tour.  (The accommodation) was marvellous, clean, well positioned and very comfortable. It (the tour) was very well organised without being too strict, very relaxed, wonderful.  It more than fulfilled my expectations.  I was surprised and delighted everyone got along so well. Wishing I could afford another tour: saving madly. HJ (VIC) 2008

The villa and the Tuscan countryside  were highlights of the tour.....(organization) was excellent.... it was everything we hoped for... everything was so enjoyable. Anon, 2008

I just loved every moment of my holiday and the way in which you conducted everything. J (WA) 2007

We enjoyed every moment of the tour. An excellent mix of places, food/wine and accommodation. Very well thought out and presented. Omit nothing! CBD (NSW) 2008