We have been completely satisfied with the services provided by all those involved in our mini tour and thank you most sincerely.
Helen Bauer – traveller (Australia) – June 2019
Una pocas palabras para agradecerles sinceramente por el excelente tour que nos brindaron en Sicilia.
Todos los sitios visitados, los hoteles, los guías, y el transporte provisto (con Carmelo como conductor), superaron nuestras expectativas.
Nuestras sinceras felicitaciones por el servicio.
Ing. Mauricio Martinez F. – traveller (Ecuador) – May 2019
We just wanted to drop you a note to thank you for the terrific tour you organized for us in Catania and Syracusa. Antonio was a great guide and very knowledgeable about the history of the area and the history of the Jewish population. We would highly recommend your company to anyone visiting Sicily. Please feel free to post our comments on your website.
Norman Klein – traveller (USA) – August 2018
thank you for reaching out to us after the tour. It is always productive to get feedback from your clients and I applaud you for that. On the whole we had a very pleasant and comfortable experience. On the plus side, you had engaged some of the very best guides and drivers,Pablo, is an exceptional individual, very flexible, accommodating, and a pleasure to spend time with, he has a wealth of information and knowledge that he shares willingly, a great sense of humor, and always takes pride in his vehicle, we were fortunate enough to experience one of the latest models of Mercedes. Vince in Malta was also a very pleasant individual, diametrically opposite personality from Pablo, as you well know, soft-spoken, extremely well-versed in his subject and a pleasure to be with during the course of the day. Gabriella, was a breath of fresh air, and one of the highlights of our experience, I just wish we had more time to spend with her and learn about the country. Some of the other guys he had, their names escape me for now, the gentleman who acted as our guide at the Roman Villa del Casale was informative and we spent a pleasant hour with him. Also the gentleman that we had that took us around The temple of Zeus, was very professional.
On the downside, due to no fault of yours, the hotels in Sicily were quite dated, and though they were the best available, they did not meet our expectations. Unfortunately some of the hotels were in transition being sold to new owners, some were under renovation , however there is no excuse for poor quality breakfast, shower stalls that leak onto the floor, and air conditioning systems that will not work. Hopefully, someday in the future, new investment will bring more hotels. The Westin Hotel in Malta, was an exception, and certainly met our expectations, and for the last few days we ended on a very positive note with no complaints.
My suggestion to you, if in the future you arrange a similar tour will be to include lunches, for a nominal additional charge , not necessarily at a regular restaurant, but in one of the”bakeries”, which we frequented towards the end of our visit and thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to sample multiple different kinds of foods that we could actually see through the glass cases (great for vegetarians) , and also save time during the tour, As the guide always accompanied us for lunch, this was a very economical way of including them at the meals, not to mention the fact that they functioned as interpreters also; rather than going to a formal restaurant and ordering from the menu.
If you have any specific questions or additional information you need please don’t hesitate to ask.
Dr. Moitra – traveller (USA) – July 2018
We just received this great feedback from the Bishops and I thought I would share with you…
We had a great time. All the guides were excellent, but I especially want to call out Giacomo who was our driver/guide for the whole of Sicily. Working with us he adjusted some of the days to incorporate our interests. For example, when he heard that Sheila was a huge chocolate fan, we changed the day dedicated to Syracuse to include Modica and other nearby villages.
We were pleased with all the hotels as well.
And from Mrs Bishop
Just have to put in my 2 cents–spectacular!! You put together the best guides and drivers with a really great itinerary and very wonderful hotels. All my goals were beyond met. A true learning journey. The history, the architecture, the arts, the people. I can’t begin to express the joy I found in this trip. Thank you!!
Mariana T. – Senior Travel Consultant – Europe (Chicago, USA) June 2018
We received some additional feedback from the Lechleiters.
The trip overall was fantastic. We were very pleased with the Hotel Timeo in Taormina, and we took several days just to enjoy the hotel and its amenities. One thing we really noticed this trip was the impact of the cruise ships, which land 3 or 4 thousand people at a time in these little towns. They are overrun! I’m not sure how one deals with this or plans around it, but I’m equally sure that for the coastal areas of Europe there is no longer any place that can be called “an out of the way place.”
As far as our guides go, they were all excellent, but two stand out:
Gabriella in Palermo and our wonderful driver, Paolo , who was especially good in helping Lady Rosemary. Both are gems. Please pass this along.
Mariana T. – Senior Travel Consultant – Europe (Chicago, USA) May 2018
Dear Doriana & Laura
Arrived back in Charlotte, North Carolina today after a fabulous holiday in Sicily! Grazie Mille! You did an awesome job and we all loved every minute!
After I spoke with you, Doriana, we spent an amazing day with Mauricio on Mt. Etna and a wonderful lunch at Cottanera Winery. Donnafugata was delightful and The Belmond – spectacular! It will be our great pleasure to recommend Isolabella to anyone thinking of a Sicilian holiday!
Nina McGibbon – traveller (USA) – May 2018
Doriana and Enzo
While my wife sent a note to you earlier this week, I wanted to add my personal thanks for the quality of services your firm provided and your flexibility to make this wonderful trip possible. Please feel free to use our name as a reference.
Thank you again
Don Baird – traveller (USA) April 2018
We want to tell you what a wonderful experience we had in Sicily with the private tour you planned for us.
Our guide Paolo was very well informed and professional. All the private sites we visited were spectacular.
We can highly recommend your company and hope to use you again when we go to western Sicily.
Thank you for a fantastic trip to beautiful Sicily.
Alice and Don Baird – travellers (USA) April 2018
we loved Sicily and Giacomo is a real treasure, a great guide and a gentlemen, always in good spirits and he knows a lot and shares it in an interesting way, he was an esencial part of owr loving Sicily. Also your itinerary wsz great and the cars very confortable, beautiful and with the necesary space. Thank you really for a great trip to Sicily, we are all very very happy.
Ines Creel de Cuesta – traveller (Mexico) April 2018
Thank you so much for all you did to make our trip to Sicily so enjoyable. Your professionalism and knowledge amazed us.
The entire trip surpassed our expectations.
Anita Marocco, Patty Apicella, Carol Ebeling – travellers – October 2017
Yes! The Newman’s had a great time. Please see their feedback below and apologies if we forgot to send this earlier.
Who cannot love Sicily with its beautiful landscapes and warm, embracing people! Our guide for Mt. Etna excursion and winery, Mauricio Cutuli, was the epitome of everything that is perfect with life in Sicily – energetic, enthusiastic, and brilliant. The trip to Mr. Etna is a must on everyone’s list. The winery experience was superb!
Our guide, Patricia, for the walking tour was fine. She showed us through Taormina off the tourist path and was knowledgeable about the area and showed us quet and lovely parts of Taormina which we would not have known on our own. I would have liked an after hours tour of the Greek theatre, if that was possible, as the crowds limited my enjoyment or interest in spending much time there, but I did appreciate the exquisite beauty of the site.
Many thanks for your collaboration, and we look forward to sending more clients to Sicily!
Julia P. – travel specialist (New York, USA) – October 2017
Good Afternoon Doriana:
Bill and I have been back from our wonderful trip for a little more than a week now and just catching up with all the work that was left behind. I couldn’t go much further without taking some time to say THANK YOU SO MUCH for such a wonderful holiday experience. We had such an AMAZING time in Sicily. Everything was expertly detailed. We managed to do EVERYTHING on the itinerary except for Caltagirone. We simply ran out of time and didn’t want to drive too late to Siracusa. Each and every experience was so unique and we cannot wait to come visit again (and suggest some groups too). The history, culture, food was simply spectacular!!
I have to tell you two small stories…. We have friends in our neighborhood that have a second home in the Modica. One is an archetech and the other is interior designer. We called them in route to Modica and they happened to be in town for a few weeks. We met our guide and went to the panorama in town and called them. We were trying to figure out where they lived. It ended up that their grotto is five minutes from the cathedral. He stepped out of his home and yelled and waived his arms and we heard and saw him. We went over to their home and it something out of Archetechual Digest Magazine. 2000 year old grotto beautifully designed with all Sicilian antiques, modern kitchen and baths, etc. BEAUTIFUL.
The other story is with your friend Enrico Russino. I am not sure how it came about but immediately we found out that Bill and I know his girlfriend’s (author, restauranteer, and celebrity chef) Aunt and Uncle from Brooklyn for twenty years when I used to live in their neighborhood. I even spoke with his girlfriend over the phone. Great Brooklyn accent!!! How cool is that!!! Next time Enrico is in town, they are going to come over for drinks.
Lastly, thank you and Daniela for dinner in Taormina. The restaurant, food, view and of course the company was our most wonderful dinner experience. So very much appreciated it. Let’s stay in touch and hopefully we can do some events business together in the not too distant future. Hope to see you once again in Sicily or here in New York.
Michael Hudson – traveller, President & CEO SS&S (New York, USA)
Yes, I actually just spoke to Mr. Katz last night. He was thrilled with the guide!
He immediately understood the type of people they were and that they love to walk and Hike… He went with them for a 2 hour hike up the Volcano!! They could not have had a better time or a better guide.
They loved your beautiful island and I’m sure will return one day in the future. The world is so big and they want to experience everything while they can!
I’m so thrilled Michele of our office met you and rest assured any clients of ours will become clients of yours!
I will be at ILTM Americas in August. I do not know if you will attend but if you do, I look forward To meeting you and learning more about Sicily first hand.
With many thanks and warm Florida regards,
Judy B. Schild – HTS, travel agent, USA (June, 2017)
Dear Mr. Emily,
Both my wife and myself would like to thank you for the organization our trip to Sicilia.
Everything was as expected and we enjoyed it very much and hope to repeat it next year.
Also l would like to thank you for our driver Mr.Paolo. He is an asset to your company.
Yours faithfully ,
E.M.Stassinopoulos, traveller (April 2017)
The grand tour was MAGNIFICENT, Vincenzo. Thank you so very much.
When I recover from jet lag can’t wait to tell on the internet how great you and L’Isolabella were.
Again, many thanks!!!
Tere Tereba, traveller (October 2016)
It is a great pleasure to write you and say to you that you gave us the most fabulous trip– literally the trip of a lifetime.
To begin with the planning was so stress free M. Kuhn Yut is such an intelligent and efficient guy and you made it so easy for him. The plane connections and all transfers were fine. No problems getting into our rooms and they met every expectation . The only problem was stash Country Hotel which was still certainly a work in progress the setting though, pool area and orange groves were wonderful .all hotels were great choices,particularly in light of my subsequent fall. Dominic was the ultimate driver. He was perfect in just every way and is more than worth his weight in gold! A thoroughly fine man in every way.
The daily program was just superb in every way. Your comprehension of precisely what we wanted to see scored 100 per cent on each occasion. My only criticism is of the local guides. If you will pardon my saying so they were invariably old and broken down and shouted out their English. Sabrina was a notable exception to that criticism.
If you could only find young. attractive, knowledgeable guides with a sense of humor that would be perfect. The worst local guide was the guide for the mosaics at The Roman villa. He was very rude to other guests constantly pushing them out of the way and shouting at them!
Vincenzo — everything else was fabulous: hotels, food, hospital, doctors, courtesy abounded & I appreciated your warm caring re: my ankle. A joy to work with you & your company. Again, I must say, Dominic was the jewel!
Richard Kuenkler, Traveller (October 2016)
Hi Doriana, Vincenzo and Federica,
Sorry for the delay in providing feedback. After Sicily I had a last minute opportunity to go to Sardinia. Very enjoyable too, but different from Sicily! And ever since my return, it seems like I have had something demanding my attention almost every day and I just can not seem to catch up. Also, as you will note below, I tend to be thorough J.
We very much enjoyed the tour you arranged for us. Even Louise who initially was not 100% sure that we needed a guide, told me that she now understands that in a place like Sicily (vs a “city tour”) it is the “only way to go”. Not only from the driving aspect, which as we know, is challenging. But just as importantly for the education provided by a knowledgeable guide like Paolo, who loves Sicily.
From an accommodation standpoint, the 3 hotels were good, The Hotel Isabella in Taormina was very well located, but perhaps just a bit “tired”. Breakfast adequate. But I know Taormina is a tourist town, so more expensive and I know you were working with our budget. We were happy to be in charming Taormina for 2 nights!!!! Delightful to just wander, people watch, shop -..we did both window shop,,.wowed by the exotic jewelry, and I bought some Angela Caputi jewelry, less expensive than in the States. That is seldom the case anymore J!!!!!!.
Hotel Romano House in Catania was beautiful, I love the combination of modern and old! But the staff was a bit distracted. We did not get any (communications, etc) instructions…..and never figured out how to get a wake up call. But I have traveled considerably and totally understand. Perhaps we ourselves were to blame as we rushed in around 5:00 and the Opera started at 5:30. But we did like it. Nice breakfast. We would certainly recommend it. It was well located and literally around the corner from the Opera! As I told, Doriana, we had a delightful light meal in the MASTRO S.R.L.S, virtually across the street from the Teatro Massimo Bellini. We were not that hungry after the opera, and just sat down outside for pizza and wine (very reasonable,) However, when we went to the ladies room, we found the interior a pleasant surprise and noticed that they had a lovely buffet.. Nice for tourists not familiar with Sicilian offerings.( both from being able to see what is offered but also to experience a wider variety) I recommend that you add that restaurant to your recommended list.
Speaking of recommendations Natalia Ravida took as to a lovely little spot for drinks somewhere between Mondello and center Palermo. I will send you a photo so that perhaps you can pass along to the guides you use in the Palermo area. I believe it is not very well known but has an amazing view!!!!
The Antico Hotel Roma in In Ortigia was PERFECT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Excellent location, lovely room, overlooking the square(!!!!!!!!) and an INCREDIBLE breakfast buffet. Our regret was that we had to leave so early the last day that we could not enjoy the breakfast two mornings!!
The days were all enjoyable and educational, and the weather cooperated!
The wine tour and lunch, paired with FIVE different wines at Barone di Villagrande………….was WONDERFUL! The wines were delicious as was the food!!!!! I would strongly recommend this outing!!!!!!!
And we are happy you were able to convince Enrico Russino , of Gli Aromi to accommodate us. We thoroughly enjoyed seeing the “farm” and he provided a lively commentary.. ….QUITE a character!!!!!
The architecture in the towns of Notto, Ragusa Ibla, Scicli, is beautiful!. Marzameni still charming…but now “discovered”. When I was there in 2009, there was not a single restaurant on that lovely little square.
Paolo provided a wonderful history of Modica, and took us up for the view of the old city and the new! Unfortunately the chocolate place in Modica was a bit disappointing. We had a couple of older men in 2009 who seemed to enjoy talking with us. This time there were 2 women who were not in the least accommodating and actually seemed bored , and ….perhaps ….even irritated. Certainly understandable with hoards of people coming in – tasting and not really buying. Although I DID J . My son and daughter in law were there a few years ago so I bought some for them. But…..
Paolo indulged me, a Montalbano fan ( I have read ALL the books…for me they are like a “visit” back to Sicily), taking the time to drive to Punta Secca. Louise could probably have cared less….but it was a small highlight for me J.
We also enjoyed the side trip to Savoca, where Godfather was filmed. I am sure any American would want to visit this place, even though it was not the “authentic” home town of the Corleones …Paolo told us a different version why (not only that it was “overdeveloped in the early 70’s). Charming.
The Alacantra gorges outing was fun. A nice diversion from the city tours. In some ways reminded me of Pamukkale in Turkey also a natural wonder. The staff at the store there WAS accommodating. We bought the wild fennel pesto and the other lemon liquor. These kinds of items from other producers are some of the things Louise distributes in this (Philadelphia) area, but the wild fennel is not available here, probably as it would have limited appeal. (not that many people with a more sophisticated palate) .
The markets and street food of Sicily are wonderful!!! As my photos attest, I thought the fish market in Catania was a visual gastronomical treat. The Markets are certainly an important component of a tour of Sicily. I will have to send you some of my 2009 photos of Siracusa’s market. Certainly very modest, size wise, compared to Catania and Palermo. But …I think the people were more relaxed and friendly, engaged with us more…”sang “ out to us from their stalls. So you might think of including that Market in some of your tours, time permitting.
We did go to Segesta and the salt flats while in Palermo. And of course the Amphitheater in Taormina. But I have to say that experiencing the others – Agrigento Seliunte, and the Roman villa greatly added to my wonder and enjoyment of my first Sicily visit. And we stayed in a little Agrioturissmo with Etna looming in the background, and drove up a longer, more scenic way, passing charming villages, vineyards to the top of Etna. Etna seemed to be ever present during my first trip.
Had we not experienced it with Natalia, I think a cooking class, including shopping for the food in Sicily adds greatly to the fun. I believe you offer that.
These last comments are NOT a complaint. You certainly maximized what we could see and do during the days with you!!!
Paolo is a wonderful guide. Knowledgeable and charming and his English is excellent. Most importantly, he LOVES Sicily and is a “sharer” (of what he knows…and he is constantly trying to learn more…like the geological aspects of volcanoes.) Needless to say, his Mercedes is very, very comfortable J!
And you Vincenzo and Federica are also wonderful at what you do too.!!!!!!!! You were a delight to work with. I had less dealings with Frederica. But Vincenzo, you are so mature, knowledgeable, and competent that you instilled total confidence in me. I was surprised at how young you are!!! And of course we very much appreciated you going above and beyond the call of duty to walk over and get Opera tickets for us. We very much enjoyed the experience of an opera in Teatro Massimo Bellini .
I am sure there are MORE things that I could positively comment on, but hope this is helpful.
I also hope we will be able to do this again. I will certainly recommend you to anyone going to Sicily.
As far as Sicily, I think that you have a good opportunity now, with Americans second guessing their trips to Continental Europe. Friends of mine just cancelled a trip to Provence, switching to a small boat cruise to Spain and Portugal. You just have to emphasize the absence of that kind of terrorism in Sicily. Work with your Marketing partners.
Ilse Farrell, traveller (Philadelphia, USA) – May/June 2016
Attached is the evaluation from my conversation with Mrs. Burleson. They had a fabulous tour in Sicily, so many thanks to you and your team. Please thank the guides and drivers for us. The Burlesons were very happy with them.
Patty W., travel agent (Chicago, USA) – May 2016
I received a voicemail from Ms. Behrendt. They had a wonderful time in Italy & Sicily. Many thanks to Emma in Rome and Paolo in Taormina.
Patty W., travel agent (Chicago, USA) – May 2016
Many thanks for a great trip for the Krugs and Dilworths. They were very happy. Please thank the guides and drivers for us. They wrote “It was just wonderful and we had some great family time together.”
Patty W., travel agent (Chicago, USA) – April 2016
I was in New York until last night so finally I’m home to take time to write to you.
Thank you so much for your very thorough organization of this trip. From the beginning I felt completely confident that you would be a good working partner.
Based on the last 3 trips I’ve done with Charlie we feel this one was the best. From the arrival day to the very end.
Attilio was top notch! Brilliant, eloquent, kind, funny, flexible and constantly thinking about how to make the trip better for us when the weather changed to rain. He was attentive to individual needs as well. If someone wanted to go to a museum or find a good dinner spot, he organized it for them. We never felt rushed or pushed to get to the next destination. He and Charlie made a great team with their interest in flowers and gardens. Another first with a tour guide on Charlie’s trips. So thank you for making such a good choice for us.
Garden visits: Every private garden was unique. We loved the stories from the owners and gardeners. Rachel Lamb was the perfect introduction to a Sicilian garden. I had no idea how lush and beautiful gardens could be in Sicily. In fact when I mentioned to friends and colleagues I was going on a garden tour there, they were doubtful that we’d see any vegetation at this time of year. I think I surprised them with my daily postings on Facebook.
I kept telling Charlie after each visit, well this one is my favorite garden so far and then we’d go to the next one and again we’d be so surprised at how wonderful it was.All the lunches served at the gardens were so delicious and beautifully presented. Way beyond the group’s expectations! The food kept coming.
And the Gli Aromi Herb Nursery with Enrico! He was funny and entertained the group by letting us smell and taste the herbs before he would tell us what it was. The cooking demonstration was more of a demo than participation but Enrico made it very personal and we could get close to take photos and watch how it was made. The setting of his garden overlooking the sea was incredible too. He has a jewel of a business with that view.
Il Biviere; we loved the story of M. Borghese facing the wasteland when she arrived with her husband and 4 children. Step by step she created an oasis and ultimately was visited by the Queen Mom and Prince Charles! We felt really honored she served us lunch and sat with us.
Mt. Etna Garden Club garden on the last day was a find! Charlie was worried about that one but again we were so happy to be invited to this one with the fantastive view, gorgeous gardens, and the geologist there to explain the unusual lava formations. The entire family came to meet us along with the president of the garden club. We were served coffee, juices and cakes. It was hard to say goodbye to them.
Pistachio Festival: This was probably the only disappointment for Charlie. The festival didn’t officially kick off until 5:00pm on Friday so many of the tents were closed We expected more of a celebration with music and festivities to have begun already. However, we were warned by Attilio that it would not be so great. The drive to Bronte was beautiful and we stopped to take photos of the landscape and pistachio trees and prickly pears. Once we were in the town center there were more tents open with samples of gelato and all things pistachio! Half the group decided to go back to Taormina instead of Bronte. We did give them option to bow out of that excursion. I felt it was worth seeing even if the Festival had not officially opened.
Hotels: Great choices on both of them, except for the one complaint from our “princess” traveler. She was extremely happy to have the room in Taormina so I thank you profusely for getting her a good room there. Ortigia: I like the old fashioned feel of the place and the location was perfect. Service was perfect at the front desk and bellman delivery too. Breakfast was terrific on the roof top. I did get a room under the breakfast room and heard a little scraping of the chairs but it didn’t bother me at all.
Taormina; Another fantastic location and nice new renovated hotel. I would say that the designers do think more about shiny and interesting designs and not practical ones. For example, the very heavy glass doors to the bathroom and then another to the WC room within the bathroom. I had to keep both of them open so I didn’t have to push and pull them every time I entered the room. One of my guests regaled us with her story of finding how all the light switches worked. She had an entire system worked out of turning them on and off. Another guest had the table next to the bed fall over when she set her coffee on it. The tables were pretty and not practical. My biggest complaint was at the end of the stay when the wait staff at the hotel restaurant didn’t present the bills to 6 ladies who had dinner there. He was very nice and gave them good service but he didn’t split up the bill on each of their rooms. He told them he had but didn’t present them with their bills. When the ladies got their invoices the night before checking out, the front desk staff took nearly an hour to figure it out and it was still not sorted by the time we had to depart in the morning. I got so annoyed I asked them to please just forgive the charges. I told them a 5-star hotel should not have this much trouble figuring out dinner bills. And the wait staff should have shown the ladies the charges after dinner and have them sign off on the invoice. Standard operating procedure! They refused to forgive the charges without the manager. I asked for all the invoices because we had to leave. It still is not resolved and I told my clients that I’d figure it out when we get back. There are 2 ladies who were over charged by at least 18 Euros. Perhaps you can help me with that? I think this problem can be resolved it just was annoying to have that happen.
Bus drivers: they were all gentlemen and excellent drivers. They were polite, well groomed and buses were clean and in good condition. Michael, our first driver, made sure he could drop us off right at the hotel in Ortigia. Our second driver was equally polite and excellent. He drove so carefully during the rainy decent from Mt. Etna. I was impressed !
Vincenzo: He was very prompt and polite. My only tiny suggestion for him is to work on his English and not step back so much in the background. I know he is your staff but my group was curious about his role. He also called Atillio a lot when we were on the bus. I know he was carefully checking on us, especially with the rain but it was disruptive when Attilio was speaking to us on the bus. Perhaps he could text him with the info. I don’t know how urgent the matters were but it seemed a little excessive with calling. In any case, I thought you’d want to know.
I hope this gives you enough information. I’ll ask Charlie for his feedback too. I know he and the group were extremely happy1 Thank you again for everything!
Deb Flander – Travel agent (New Yor, USA)
The trip was great. Your staff were the best. Paolo was unreal. I hope he can keep up the pace. I certainly couldn’t do all that he does so well. Yes, the Minareto was a 4 star experience, but we got past that. The Belmond chain manages their properties far better.
We had a great trip. Everyone was superb. The sites and food were terrific. I will recommend you to everyone. Thanks for all the planning and follow through. Please send this on to Paolo and thank him for us.
Larry & Alice Spritzer – travellers (USA) August 2015
We had the most memorable and wonderful family trip ever! It was special for my wife and I to spend time with our now adult daughters but to also experience such a Island and culture.
As to feedback:
Doriana was thorough and precise in all of our communications. Through email alone she was able to get a fine sense of my family and what type of experience we were looking for. We altered our itinerary several times to find a perfect balance of touring and relaxation. Her flexibility and responses to my requests and needs was exemplary.
The diamond in our trip was Mr. Paolo, our driver guide. Paolo knows and loves Sicily; her history, her geography, her architecture, her food and her people. He connected with each of us right away and everyday we laughed and learned. I was astonished at his depth of knowledge of every aspect of his Country. He intuitively figured out the pace we like to run at and made each day perfect. I have engaged driver/guides in London, Milan, Rome, Berlin and Prague and can say categorically Paolo is the best I have ever experienced. He was prompt always. His vehicle was comfortable and well maintained. He is courteous and friendly to a fault. He considered it his mission to make each day perfect. His knowledge and connections added to the trip every day. I marveled at the number of people Paolo knew in every city. We had wonderful lunches, met a Michelin starred chef, toured the villa Schieva, saw pelicans… I could go on and on. He recommended restaurants for us to try and wines he loved and knew. He told me to call him at any hour and for any reason to help us if we needed it. He meant it. This was a genuine concern for us; our happiness and safety. As you can see, I cannot praise him enough.
So, in essence your company and your engagement of Mr. Paolo made our family trip special and extraordinary. I give all of you my highest praise and recommendation and hope to use you again and will recommend you to all of our friends.
Feel free to publish this on your website and use us as a reference.
My fond regards,
Louis Di LIllo and family – travellers (Boston, USA) March 2015
Good Afternoon Doriana,
Thank you for inviting us to comment on our recent trip to Sicily. We do so with pleasure.
Our journey together rated as one of the all-time best of our holidays.
The itinerary was well balanced with a good mixture of history, culture, food and wine as well as the wonderful scenery. All of our arrangements worked very well from the pickup at Catania on arrival to the drop-off at Palermo airport. The accommodation was all of a very high standard and very well located. We particularly loved the hotel in Agrigento with the view of the illuminated temples from our room and we had a wonderful dinner outdoors from when we could gaze out at “history”.
The local guides were all very knowledgeable and happy to share their knowledge with us.
The journey was made very special because of our guide and driver Paolo, who was exceptional. We appreciated that he was always cheerful, always on time, and always full of information and ready to accommodate any requests. His passion for the history and culture of Sicily was on show every day.
We would have no hesitation in recommending your organisation to anyone interested in seeing Sicily.
Maureen O’Dwyer, Jan and Greg Allen – (Australia) – September 2014
Attached are the comments from the Martirano group. Please thank all the guides and drivers and whomever worked on this booking. They had a fabulous time.
I wanted to take a moment and express my gratitude and appreciation to you for the trip to Sicily last month that you arranged for me, my mother, my sisters and my niece. We had an amazing time and the memories will stay with me forever!
Sicily is an absolutely beautiful place. The people, culture, history and food are not to be missed. Each of the guides we had was fabulous, especially Enzo in Siracusa. It was such a hot day and he took extra care to make sure we found plenty of shade. Ignatzio, our guide in Taormina was full of energy and enthusiasm. I loved when he picked fresh carob off the trees for us to eat. Sensational! Maurizio, our guide to Mount Etna was so interesting. He’s traveled all over the world, but Sicily is his favorite place on the planet. I can understand why. Our late lunch celebrating my sister’s 50th birthday at the vineyard after Mt. Etna was so special. We had the entire winery to ourselves (with a few adorable kittens and several sheep) and it was so picturesque.
The hotels were fantastic. The location of the Des Etrangers was perfect and the seaside views from our terrace were beautiful. However, we all had major leaks coming from our tubs (each of the 3 rooms we had experienced the same problem). My mother brought it to the attention of the staff, but you should know about it for future reference. Other than that, it was perfection!
Taormina is a spectacular place! The Villa D’Andrea was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to. The staff could not have been more accommodating. The rooms and views were exquisite. The food was beyond belief. We rented a 52′ private yacht on our last day and floated and swam around the Ionian Sea. A priceless memory!! The complimentary shuttle service between the hotel and the center of the city was so convenient.
The private cooking class was exceptional. Pietro was so knowledgeable and so passionate about his craft. We cooked (and ate) the most fabulous meal, and we all had such fun. It was a highlight of the trip for all of us.
I’ve attached a few photos that I thought you might like. Thank you again for putting together such a wonderful and memorable trip. I will never forget it!
Patty W., travel agent (Chicago, USA) – September 2014
We just returned from our two-week journey through Sicily. We wanted to thank you very much for putting together such an excellent itinerary. We enjoyed all the hotels, golf courses, and touring. Our driver, Paolo Gallo, was outstanding. We appreciate his safe driving, enthusiasm, and knowledge. All the “local” tour guides were also excellent. Paolo certainly made our vacation extra special. It was a perfect and very memorable trip.
Thank you for your professionalism.
Very best regards,
Diane & Bob Curry, travellers (Fort Myers Florida, USA) September 2014
Dear Doriana and Leda
Thank you so much for the extraordinary arrangements you made for our trip to Catania, Sicily. Zash was a wonderful place to stay, our guide, Paolo, was a wealth of knowledge and very personable – and our wine consultant, Ben, was a wonderful addition to the tour. We could not have asked for a better experience and we will be recommending L’Isolabella Eventia to our friends in the U.S. who wish it visit Sicily. It was multo bene and Sicily is bellisima.
Ciao and Grazie
Paul and Kathy Oliaro, travellers (Fresno, CA, USA), May 2014
We cannot thank you enough for Paolo. What a jewel. His enthusiasm, knowledge and wonderful personality made our trip the best ever. No question we covered a lot of territory and his disposition was always extremely pleasant. Again, thank you.
I have attached sheets about our hotel stays. They are self explanatory.
Thank you again for planning such a wonderful experience even with the hotel disappointments.
Joyce McKeever, traveller (Norkforl, USA) December 2013
Ms. Goodhue & Mr. Heoksma have a very nice time in Sicily. I think their suggestions (see below) are good and we will keep them in mind for future journeys to Sicily. Any suggestions you have are also welcome.
Thanks so much for making this a good journey for them.
How would you describe your overall journey? Very nice. We enjoyed it and had a very good time.
Guides: They were all very good.
Driver/guide: James / He was a character and we liked him very much and he took us to some out of the way places not on the itinerary, like the old for at Castelbuono near Cefalu and Notto, south of Syracusa.
Palermo: Fabrizio / very good.
Palermo: Massimilio / terrific; very informative.
Selinunte: Regina / terrific; we loved her.
Agrigento: Nicoletta / very good.
Piazza Armerina: Sabrina / she was fine.
Syracuse: Enzo / extremely knowledgeable; did a great job; really knows his stuff.
Taormina: I don’t remember her name but she was great.
Palermo, Grand Hotel Villa Igiea / Definitely not a 5 star hotel, very tired. The people were very nice though. The area around the hotel is not very appealing and it’s not a great location for visiting the sights. You need to take a cab.
Agrigento, Villa Athena / very nice; great location, we had a great room, loved the food. They put a new building at the back of the hotel for breakfasts and it looks like a bus station. What were they thinking? But again the staff was very nice and we enjoyed our stay.
Taormina, Grand Hotel Timeo / beautiful; a real 5 star hotel.
Vehicles/transportation: All fine.
Can you think of anything that would improve the journey? I would spend two nights in Palermo. Four nights at the Villa Igiea is too many. It’s not a 5 star hotel and if there is another place to stay closer to the sightseeing on the two days outside the city, I would prefer that. There were long drives to and from Palermo. I don’t know if there are any good hotels closer to Segesta or Cefalu, but I wouldn’t stay 4 nights at the Igiea again. A heads up on the ability to fly into Palermo and out of Catania would be helpful to future travelers. That way you don’t have to go all the way back to Palermo when the tour ends in Taormina.
Patty W. – Travel Agent – Chicago
I just wanted to let you know that Sophia and I had a really excellent time during the cooking class.
Starting from a very warm welcome and pick up at the hotel which was an extra service we did not expect but appreciate a lot!
Maria, Tiziana and their ‘mama’ are such a nice family which welcomed us to their home treating us like family.
We learned how to cook various delicious Sicilian dishes with all the secrets from the family to make them even more special. We will reapply back home, for sure!
Maria translated everything for us which was very helpful, even though we also understood a lot from her mum via very expressive mimics!
We were even introduced to the liquors as well as the cactus fruit which was a nice and interesting discovery.
We can only recommend this experience to our friends and other people who are interested in taking a class. The nice memories will of course stay with us for a long time.
Many thanks again for everything.
Nice greetings from Switzerland,
Nina – traveller, November 2013
I was travelling with Gary on our tour October 10th – 20th.
Paulo, our guide was truly outstanding. We have over the years had many guides in many counties. He was one of the best, possibly the best ever. Perfect English, an excellent and careful driver, very knowledgeable, charming and most helpful.
The hotels varied. Basically, they got better. The Catania Excelsior was very poor – but then I am told there is not much choice there! The Syracuse hotel was fine in itself but the service was indifferent. Agrigento was very good. Taormina was excellent – the San Domenico is just my sort of place!
I cannot believe we crammed so much in to our ten days. Excellent recommendations on your part! As a graduate in Greek, Latin and Ancient History, I particularly appreciated visiting the classical sites.
Robert Venables, traveller, October 2013
We were extremely happy with our visit to Sicily. The tour allowed us to appreciate fully its landscape, its rich history and its cuisine. We have returned with vivid memories of Etna, the mosaics of Villa del Casale, Agrigentum’s temples, Montalbano country around Ragusa, and the many outstanding buildings of Palermo and Monreale. Palermo driving will also remain long in the memory!
The standard of the guides you organised for us was always at least good, two were outstanding. They were all very knowledgeable and could explain things to us in good English. They adapted willingly to any little requests we had about timings or which visits to include.
The first four or five days were so full of things to see, and the travel between them, that we decided to have ‘a day of rest’ in Palermo (we did the Botanic Gardens and shopping.) So we didn’t see Erice, Marsala or Segesta – another time maybe.
The only one negative thing to report was the poor quality of the Best Western Hotel near Agrigentum. Thankfully we only stayed one night. Compared to all of the others we stayed in it was well below their standard. No porters to help with luggage, a generally shabby feel about the furnishing and decor, plastic cups in the bathroom, a minimal breakfast service, undrinkable coffee (in Italy!) It had the feel of a hotel much in need of refurbishment. Since we have stayed in many Best Westerns around Europe and in the US, we were surprised how poor it was, certainly nowhere near the 4star quality of the others. A fine view from the balcony, but that’s the only positive we can offer.
The other hotels were very good to excellent in nearly every respect. However, surprisingly, the Palermo Hilton had no free wifi connection – it was obviously set up for business travellers who accessed it through an expense account system. Apart from that detail we have nothing but good to say about all the other hotels – large rooms, good bathroom facilities, hot water, pleasant service, free wifi, great breakfasts, and very convenient locations.
So, we were glad we chose Sicily for this holiday, and we are more than happy to report that we were glad we booked the tour through your company – l’Isolabella. Congratulations.
Gordon and Jackie Burton, October 2013.
Please, find below Mr WXXX feeback about his journey to Sicily:
to let you know, both guides in palermo, fabrizzio (day1) and mr. pino (day 2) were excellent. We enjoyed both days very much.
FYI our last nite in palermo we ate at Osteria Dei Vespri. one of the BEST restuarants we have ever eaten at. A gem you should recommend to any clients seeking a recommendation.
Suzanne P. – travel agent (Chicago – USA)
Can’t wait to get back to Sicily. Best trip ever! I made a book of my husband’s birthday party and it is incredible. Wonderful memories and all my guests enjoyed themselves more than words can express. Thank you.
Paula Polito – traveller (USA) – June 2013
Perdona que no te haya escrito antes. Tenía pendiente mandarte una nota pero estoy de mudanza (cambio de piso, de vida…) y ando bastante ocupado.
Sí, muchas gracias. El viaje fue estupendo en todos los sentidos. No tuvimos el menor problema con el coche (nos respondió muy bien) y la elección de los hoteles resultó excelente. Especialmente el Baia Taormina y los dos encantadores de Palermo y Menfi nos permitieron disfrutar de unos días deliciosos que ya quedan depositados en la memoria. Quiero hablar un día de estos con Félix y le daré solo buenas noticias. La verdad es que Sicilia y las Eolias son maravillosas.
‘A farla breve’, te agradezco la generosidad y el buen gusto en toda la gestión del viaje y espero que podamos repetir la experiencia.
También confío en que tu verano haya sido agradable y relajado.
Gracias de nuevo por todo. Un abrazo,
Vicente Ramon – Spain (traveller)
I spoke with Mr. RXXXX today, and he had so many positive things to say about Giacom. Words like knowledgeable, incredible, thoughtful, caring were used. He emphasized that Giacomo was just fantastic and spoke to me for several minutes about just how wonderful he was. Please pass along this feedback to Giacomo, along with our thanks as well.
And my personal thanks to you for arranging such a great guide and all your extra efforts to give M/M RXXXX a special time in Sicily.
Rebecca Wright – travel agent (Chicago, Illinois, USA)
We’ve always had fantastic reviews from the guides you have allocated to our travelers. The feedback from M/M SXXXX was not great for Giuseppe, but as they only had Giuseppe for one day, I was more concerned about how Aldock felt. M/M AXXXX had no negative comments, so all is good.
Have a great week!
Kind regards from cold, sunny Chicago,
Rebecca W. – travel agent (Chicago, Illinois, USA)
We certainly will recommend you and your company..Everything was perfect and you have a wonderful country…Regards.
Mark Clark – Traveller (Australia)
Grazie mille! Volevo ringraziarti per l’eccellente organizzazione del nostro tour. Tutto perfetto. Una visita indimenticabile. Paolo e’ anche bravissimo, simpatico oltre che ottimo nel suo lavoro. Nonostante le riserve di mio marito, il Borgo Pantano e’ invece stato una scelta perfetta per I bambini, e un’ottima base per visitare la val di Noto. Insomma, tutto benissimo!
Grazie ancora! L’anno prossimo pensavo di fare Palermo, Segeste, Selinunte, Erice, Marsala, la via del sale… Insomma la Sicilia che non ho visto! Saro’ in contatto.
Thanks a lot! Thank you very much for the excellent organization of our tour. Evrything was just perfect. An unforgetable journey. Paolo is very good, nice and professional in doing his job. Despite my husband’s reserves, Borgo Pantano was a perfect choice for the kids and a for visiting the Val di Noto area. In a word, all very well!
Thanks again! Next year I would like to visit Palermo, Segesta, Selinunte, Erice, Marsala, the salt road … so, what I’ve still never visited of Sicily! I’ll get in touch.
Cristina Caffarra – Traveller (London – UK)
“‘everything went more than well…Sicily is an amazing island and so beuatiful: the history. the food, the people.
Everything went smoothly . The hotels were good to excellent (Palermo the least, Catania the best) Rosario
was an excellent driver with a brand new bus. Also the guide for the Etna Doriana arranged was very good indeed.
Please thank Doriana with compliments for her organization and the driver…””.
“alles méér dan goed is gegaan….wat een heerlijk land: Sicilia en zo mooi; de geschiedenis, de historie, het eten en de mensen (zoals je al vertelde). Het is allemaal goed gegaan. De Hotels waren goed tot zeer goed (Palermo de minste, Catania de beste), we hadden aan Rosario een prima chauffeur met een gloednieuwe bus,… de vulkanoloog van Doriana eveneens.
Wil jij misschien morgen Doriana een bedankje sturen en ook nog complimenten voor de organisatie en de chauffeur”
Henriette Korthals Altes – Fundadore Travel (The Netherlands)
Doriana and her team at L’Isolabella offered extraordinary services and support both pre-tour and throughout the program to ensure our Sea Cloud II voyage around Sicily not only met, but exceeded, our clients’ expectations.
The guides, coaches, special visits, and general tour advice and support that Doriana provided played a large role in making this cruise the success that it was. Feedback from guests have praised the touring arrangements and staff support, and we have Doriana’s tireless efforts to thank for these glowing trip reports.
Thank you, Doriana!!!
Marisa and the staff at Academic Arrangements Abroad (NYC, USA)
The clients were VERY happy – in fact, they couldn’t have been happier! They loved their time with Giacomo and found him to be very, very accommodating and helpful. They appreciated everything that he did for them.
I have asked them to maybe send a letter as to what in particular was so good. I will forward to you.
Thank you for everything; I am reassured that L’Isolabella is top notch!
Joshua A. Novic, tour operator (NY area, USA)
I wanted to forward the feedback from my client regarding his recent visit to Sicily. A true success!! 🙂
Many thanks to you for all of your efforts on this one. As you can see, the cooking class with Mrs. Consoli was a great hit. Please pass along my gratitude to her, and also to their guide, whom the group enjoyed very much. Such a pleasure to work with you – thank you for making us look so good to our clients!
“On behalf of the whole group, I want to thank u for doing such a wonderful job putting an “unusual journey to Italy ” together for us. On the ride back from San Maurizio to Milan, trying to find highlights of the trip, we concluded that everyday and every event was a highlight in it’s own right. This comment, coming from a demanding, experienced group, is worth twice as much!!
Here r some of my feedbacks that maybe beneficial for u:
-Hotel Timeo was excellent. In general, ur choice of getting larger rooms/suites, was greatly appreciated, both in Taormina and in San Maurizio.
– Our guide in Sicily was a four star and our driver a three star. The bus was nice and cozy and of appropriate size.
– Madam Consoli cooking class in Viagrande was a great and indeed spiritual experience. Definitely one not to b missed.
– Winery visits in Sicily were mediocre.
All in all it was a great and memorable trip, thanks to ur professional expertise and efforts and we all thank for it.”
Rebecca Wright, travel agent (Chicago, Illinois, USA)
Effectively we got the information from our clients that everything was fine and well organised
Tks for everything
Patrick Vuille, travel agent (Swiss, Geneve)
Happy New Year to you!
Many thanks for your update on my last clients. I am very glad that they left Sicily happy. Like you, I am sorry for their disappointing treatment at La Giara. Thank you for writing a complaint to the manager. Please let me know if you get any response.
I do not think that the bad experience at La Giara ruined the trip for the family. My client wrote me a lovely note this morning, which I have copied for you below.
“We arrived home last night exhausted but full of wonderful experiences. Sicily exceeded our expectations, probably due in large part to Salvo. He was marvelous, and at times he took us to places which were not on our itinerary (notably Monreale and Noto), such is his enthusiasm for his native land. We are so glad we did not eliminate lunch at the Murgo winery, as it was one of the highlights of the trip. Our room at the El Jebel Hotel was another highlight — so special with the red fabric and bare floors. It seemed really Sicilian to us, and we are glad to have been there four nights. Our guide in Agrigento, Luigi, gets six stars out of five! The Mercedes vans in both Sicily and Rome were very comfortable. And it was extremely helpful upon departing Catania and Rome that Salvo and Wally accompanied us in the airports as far as they could to help with any snafus or questions, such as having to leave the check-in line in Catania to go to another counter to pay for our baggage, and making sure we were in the right area and the right line in Rome. Wally had us get to Fiumicino three hours before our flight, and we needed almost every bit of it. (We had to stand in long lines four times — pre-check in screening, check-in, regular security, and second security at the gate.)
Thank you for the lovely platter and little cakes which Salvo presented us upon our arrival. We wanted to be driven around the Palermo area for a while so as not to be tempted to go to sleep, and it was pleasant to be driven around beautiful hills while sampling the delicious almond and pistachio cakes.
The switched schedules on Saturday and Sunday worked well, as it was good to save Siracusa for last. The last place we visited there, the duomo, is one of the most wonderful things I have ever seen, and it seemed a sort of synthesis of all the other places we had visited.”
Thank you so very much for all that you did to make this a success. And please pass along my gratitude to Salvo for taking such good care of the family.
Rebecca Wright, travel agent (Chicago, Illinois, USA)
Just a quick note to say I have now seen the DVD for myself and I can’t begin to tell you how beautiful it is. The music is perfect and it has been put together so professionally. It made me cry and also made Giuseppe cry (again!) we can’t thank you – and the photographers – enough.
Whilst writing I would also like to say how fantastic we all thought the DJ was – again, he was very professional and each song he played was just at the right time. You choose the best people!
Grazie mille per tutti!
Just to let you know everything has arrive dtoday. Giuseppe is at home watching everything now and he says the pictures are AMAZING. He says the photos have been set to music on a slide show.. What a lovely, lovely surprise and thank you so very much. Grazie mille! You have been absolutely brilliant and you are so professional. I know you don’t want me to thank you but I must say (I have also told everyone) without you it would not have gone smoothly or been so perfect. I wish we could have the day all over again but this time in slow motion and Mrs Francesca Ventimiglia feels the same as me!
What a day, what memories!
I hope you got back safely to Catania after a very long day organising everyone!
I just wanted to quickly say another big GRAZIE MILLE. Everyone is telling me it is the best wedding they’ve ever been to and no-one can believe we did not have a rehearsal before the actual wedding day because it all went off very smoothly! This is because of your military precision direction – WELL DONE!
Here is one photo that I thought you might like to see. We are really looking forward to the official photographs too.
Tessa Sinclair (traveller) – UK
l want to say ‘thank you’ one more time, thanks a lot for your help with the lost luggage and for all the perfect service you gave us in Lipary, molte grazia!
Jirka from the Roche group (Czech Republic)
Thank you for your kind email.
Our visit to Sicily was a great experience. Salvatore was wonderful. Yes, we did not go to Mt. Etna, as suggested by him. It is fine because it was a long ride and the weather did not look good for that day for that particular trip and so we did Taormina for a long while had lunch at this wonderful place Salvo suggested and then we went to the Godfather place … can’t remember the name of that town which was very exciting for my group! He was very nice in all his suggestion and accommodating us. We will return someday!
Thank you so much for everything, I am glad to say that I have found a wonderful Tour Operator in Sicily now. Have a great day.
Caroline Chandra, Travel Consultant (Chicago, Illinois, USA)
…I want to add my thanks for your looking after one of our passengers until the emergency evacuation service became organized … It has always been my contention that you can tell good partners not when things go well (as they hopefully usually do) but when there is a problem….
Jim F. (Tour Operator, New York, USA)
Our anniversary was wonderful. Thank you so much for planning such an awesome experience for us. Everyone at the hotel was extremely kind and helpful. The dinner was also wonderful. We really enjoyed everything. I can not say enough about THe Grand Timeo and our experience. Everything was great!!! Thanks again! Have a great day!
Monica Dalton Trouth (Traveler)