27 September 2016
Read Time: 1.9 mins

“Whenever I travel, I go with no expectations; I go with my eyes open wide and ready to experience anything that is thrown at me.”

Flight Centre Bendigo Travel Expert Renee admits she thought she might feel hindered by the group travel experience on a recent trip to Europe, but Trafalgar’s Best of Italy tour was anything but typical.

 The Roman Forum in all its glory (image: Getty)

“The Trafalgar experience was incredible from start to finish. We began our journey in Rome based only a five-minute walk from the Colosseum and Roman Forum – that was amazing in itself,” Renee says.

A usual day started with breakfast (which often included wine and cake!), then sightseeing and a break for lunch, followed by more sightseeing. Some days would also include free time to explore before heading out to dinner to share delicious food, local wine and great conversation. Renee thought the guided holiday was a fantastic opportunity to experience some of Italy’s best highlights, and although she’d been to some of the cities before, she was given a new perspective that could only be discovered with local knowledge. Tour Director Maria had the group constantly smiling with some of her amusing insights.

“She had such an amazing adaptability to the various demographics of people on our trip. Along the way Maria would point out different hidden treasures we certainly would never have found on our own,” Renee says.

Find out what makes a Trafalgar holiday so special (hint: it's the Hidden Journeys)

It's all la dolce vita with CostSaver in Italy

Take a bite out of Italy: Food, glorious food!

 You could be sitting down to a Tuscan meal with this as your backdrop... (image: Getty)

And there was one surprise that wasn’t part of the itinerary. “Maria, on her afternoon off, kindly took us to the Papal blessing, which was not a part of her duties, but demonstrated the extra mile the guides would take for us. She also escorted us on shopping trips in Florence so we could find the best leather, as well as recommending various other things for us to do in our free time,” Renee adds.

As for the trip highlights, many revolved around sharing meals with Renee’s travelling partners and local families. She counts the ‘Be My Guest’ dining experience in a local family-owned 17th-century Tuscan villa as one to remember.

“We enjoyed a three-course meal in the converted horse stables and the ingredients used were all grown or produced on the farm.”

 A pasta-making class is a must when in Florence (image: Getty)

At a family-run restaurant in Florence, the group also learnt to make pasta alongside three generations of one family, including their young granddaughter. Renee recommends the Best of Italy tour for any traveller who may not have a lot of time, but wants to tick off the highlights.

“It’s a great trip for everyone; there were people of various ages on our holiday and we all got equal enjoyment out of the activities and included sightseeing. Trafalgar guided holidays also offer a great balance for people who enjoy free time, but like to have a guide and be provided with that insider knowledge.”

Get in touch with Renee:

Phone: 1300 805 674

Email: renee.weppner@flightcentre.com.au

In store: Flight Centre Bendigo

Visit your local Flight Centre store or call 131 600 for more advice and the latest deals on travelling with Trafalgar.

Anna Howard

Give me street food over Michelin stars, cellar doors over wine bars and small towns and wide open spaces over big cities any day. Travel for me means ticking off the 'to eat and drink' list one regional flavour and wine bottle at a time.