A wonderful 7 weeks in Italy, organised and orchestrated by the knowledgeable, and ever helpful Gemma!
One of the cornerstones of our trip was to experience the great opera houses of Italy – La Fenice, La Scala, the Verdi Festival and Teatro Regio in Parma, San Carlo – and we saw great performances in them all! All of the tickets were pre-arranged – heaven!
The tours and guides that Gemma and her colleagues arranged were outstanding. I was amazed at the knowledge of the guides and their capacity to communicate and inspire.
We were early at the Vatican (with a surprise visit to a part not normally visited), a small intimate group for the Vasari corridor in Florence, the Doges’ Palace in Venice, the catacombs in Rome, beautiful and surprising Naples, not to mention amazing Pompei….it was all so beautiful and easy. There is nothing like experience, knowledge and a passion for the country!
The places we stayed at were works of art themselves with beautiful views (Montepulciano, pictured) and wonderful staff.
What memories! We will have to go back. We will be in touch, Gemma!
Ifor and Catherine Sept Oct 2012
"Gemma's suggested itinerary and careful planning resulted in a wonderful, month long holiday in Italy with no hassles. There were many highlights. One of the best was the week we spent in Umbria with Living Italy tours run by Neil Moore and his wife Carol. We loved the history and the art and met some very interesting people.
The hotels we chose from the Passion for Italy list were excellent as were the day tour and short guided tour suggestions made by Gemma in the various regions we visited from Venice to the Amalfi Coast. Talk to Gemma if you are planning to go to Italy!"
This mother/daughter trip was my Sarah's 21st gift..........It was the hardest trip I have ever prepared for and also the easiest.
This was to be the first time I have travelled without my Husband, on my own, in a country I knew very little of the language. And as Sarah couldn't find a tour that she liked with a travel agent, and we did try, it was left up to us to organise our own itinerary. Fortunately for us my husband found 'Passion for Italy ' while searching the net. At first I was nervous about using a company that operated over the internet, Skype.
Our meetings on Skype were effective and Sarah and I were blown away by Gemma's knowledge and enthusiasm to find the right trip for us. Our contact with Helen, the travel agent who booked our flights and train travel was also extremely easy as Gemma had done all the hard work , working out times and dates.
Our trip went without a hitch no dramas at any point, the accommodation Gemma booked was exactly as she had described. Each place we stayed in was clean and friendly, and as we opted for the cheaper end of the price range, they were a good 10min stroll to the centre of town.
This was more of an advantage than you may think as we got to see that little bit more of each place. Things I learnt in Italy; If you're using a cash passport over there, DON'T pay for your meals with it if you can help it.......they add an extra 10% to your bill that you never see till you check your balance on line. Plus if you don't want bread with your meal, say no when they deliver it to your table, or you will pay for it, per person......There were plenty of ATM's in the smaller villas, a little hard to find in Florence other than at the train station.
Taxi drivers weren't that bad, just make sure they are a taxi. 40 or 50 euro is norm to and from the airport. The euro is so good now, I wish I were there again............
Karen and Sarah Hislop
We have arrived back safe and sound from our Italy trip. Thank you. Your villa recommendation was terrific, we had a very pleasant stay, we saw a lot, ate a lot and laughed a lot. Marsha joined us and we thoroughly enjoyed our Villa.
Thank you again,
Regards Sue and Graham 2011
Thank you Gemma and Passion for Italy for a well planned and memorable holiday.
Your selection of accommodation for Florence and Venice was charming, well situated and gave us a good sense of the local lifestyle.
In Tuscany and Veneto we had the opportunity to wind down and savour the beauty, history, cuisine and wine of the regions in shear comfort and style.
A touch of everything Italy has to offer.
Marsha Sept 2011
My 26yr old daughter and I have had the most memorable 5 weeks in Italy. Gemma’s help and expertise in organising an itinerary that satisfied our requirements enabled us to experience places we may not have found ourselves.
The sharing of her vast knowledge and experience of the country gave us tips that I’ve no doubt contributed to our trouble free holiday.
We soon learnt that Gemma’s suggestions whether it be accommodation or restaurant choice were always reliable. My daughter on more than one occasion commented “where does Gemma find them”?
I am so thankful to have discovered “Passion for Italy” and know that the fabulous memories I have of our travels would not have been possible had I tried to organise such a trip without Gemma’s expert input.
What a magnificent Italian experience – thanks to Gemma and her passion for Italy.
The hard work of discerning and booking accommodation was taken care of…leaving us to arrive at each destination (not an easy feat).
Gemma took on board our budget and desire to mix up accommodation styles…booking for us a great value hotel in Rome, quaint beachside B&B, a perfectly positioned (not too many steps) family hotel on the Amalfi, a peaceful Monastery and the dreamy Villa in the Tuscan countryside.
Perfecto! Kaylene Benson 2010
I first met Gemma Green Close at Griffith University whilst completing Italian Studies and have since had the privilege to come to know her well. She has a passion for all things Italian and has a great ability to listen to her client’s brief, so all the trips she organizes for the independent traveler are certainly anything but run of the mill. She has personally visited many ten’s of hotels and villas and if she says she knows a place, she does.
Some of the extra activities she recommends, such as the Ghost Tour in Venice are great fun, especially if travelling with children. I personally travelled with her in the Abruzzo and Southern Tuscan regions last year and saw some amazing places. Gemma also has a great knowledge of art and culture and a deep respect for the Italian traditions. She is the consummate professional and I have no hesitation in recommending her business, Passion for Italy.
Gemma's enthusiasm is infectious and I highly recommend Passion for Italy to anyone wanting to design a personalised holiday to one of the most beautiful and captivating countries in the world.
Nothing was too much trouble and Gemma went out of her way to provide for my interests, arrange comfortable authentic accommodation, and offer valuable advice on all aspects of my travel. Gemma's thorough preparation made my holiday an absolute joy. I think about my holiday often, and also dreaming of my next one!
Warm regards, Jacqui, Brisbane, Australia