Italy Customized brings new meaning to luxury travel
They call themselves the luxury travel designers. And with good reason. Linda Sorgiovanni and Alberto Bassilichi are the heart, soul and brains behind the Florence-based travel agency, Italy Customized. They have built a booming venture based on one founding and fundamental principal: totally tailor made vacation packages in Italy. No one vacation planned for their clients looks like the other. With years in the travel and tourism industry, deep roots in Italy and an impeccable network of contacts, they are able to offer luxury travellers the most exclusive and authentic experiences in Italy. We’ve sat down with Linda and Alberto to find out more:
LM: How was the idea for Italy Customized born? How did you two start this business venture?
Linda: We both come from a background in tourism, you can say it’s been in our blood for a while. Alberto began as a driver and tour guide and I myself was a collaborator with FIT travel agencies from the US as well as a tour leader and Sommelier. Alberto was born in Florence and I am Australian, though I’ve been living in Italy for many years. When our paths crossed, we knew we had the perfect combination to create authentic travel experiences: an Italian-born guy that knows the hidden treasures of his country and an Australian who knows the needs and expectations of foreign travellers.
LM: What sets you apart from other Italy travel agencies? Does your location help?
Linda: Without a doubt. Being based in Florence and living in the actual country where you organize private and personalized travel experiences gives you a certain knowledge and richness about what you are offering. Alberto is from here and I’ve lived here many years, so to say that we eat, sleep and breathe Italy is an understatement!
When you think about it, you want to entrust your travel plans in Italy with someone who knows the ins and outs of the country. Our clients can trust that they are getting the real authentic Italian experience with us and literally, the best of everything: hotel, transportation, tours and activities.
LM: What is the most exciting and rewarding part about your job?
Alberto: Scouting out new locations! We’re constantly brainstorming new experiences that we can offer our clients and this means we can get out there and meet the locals. We talk to wine cellar owners, cooks, drivers, farmers, some of the most interesting individuals in Italy. It gives us the chance to learn so much about this incredible country, even for someone like me, born and bred in Florence.
We discover the most unique travel experiences that not many other agencies offer. Do you want to visit to a bio-dynamic olive oil farm? We’ll make it happen. Have you ever tasted the much sought-after truffles? We’ll arrange a truffle hunting experience and cooking course on how to prepare them. Private helicopter or Ferrari rides and private street food walks to those hidden culinary gems. We love knowing that people are seeing the real Italy and not getting that run of the mill tourist experience. And then of course the most rewarding part of our jobs is receiving rave reviews about guests travel experience!
LM: What was the most extravagant/time-consuming/unique trip you have ever planned for your clients?
Alberto: We once planned a visit to the Palio, the famous horse race in Siena. We organized a private palace where they could actually be seated, which, if you’ve ever experienced the Palio, you’ll know it is quite impossible to do during this event! We had the task of putting together a four-day extravaganza of flying clients in a private helicopter with their own film crew to different experiences. Their holiday was designed in such a way to give them a diverse taste of Italy. It included driving on the Ferrari Race Track in Maranello with a 458 Spider, truffle hunting in Tuscany followed by lunch on a balcony overlooking the Ponte Vecchio, a made to measure handmade suit and shoes by a local artisan in Rome and dinner in a private palace in Venice.
LM: Are you brainstorming any new travel experiences for the future?
Linda: Absolutely! It’s common in this industry to say you’ve been bitten by the travel bug. But recently, we can say we’ve been bitten by the food bug! What do most people rave about when they come to Italy? The food. Since each region in Italy is known for their diverse cuisine based on what is grown locally, there’s so many different possibilities and that’s what we’re exploring right now. We are currently working on cultural food and wine experiences in more remote areas of Italy like Basilicata and Le Marche, those places a bit more off the tourist radar.
For the true luxury travel experience in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, Italy Customized offers fully personalized travel itineraries to accommodate the travel wishes of every client.
Italy Customized – Where and how
Address: Via Dei Sassetti 6, 50123 Florence, Italy
Tel: +39 055 260 8604