Some nice touches included a magnificent hotel room in Riolo Terme and the surprise visit one day of the owner of the local alimentari in Brisegalia with a wonderful lunch as we tasted the greatest olive oil in the world. Having lived a year in Italy and making our seventh trip over, Emilia Romagna is clearly one of the overlooked beautiful spots in Italy. And, Marcello and Rafaella, are the greatest and our new friends. Go with them! Go to Emilia Romagna!
~ John and Connie K., St. Louis, MO - October 1999
It’s hard to imagine a host in Italy warmer than Marcello; he will do practically anything for his guests. The program Marcello and Raffaella arranged is interesting, delicious and fun especially if Marcello is there. We had many spontaneous requests outside of the regular program — Marcello was eager to help us, find and see everything. He was always trying to figure out how we could see and do everything. Marcello and Raffaella are wonderful people who I recommend to everyone interested in the cuisine and culture of Emilia Romagna.
~ Ralph E., Huston, TX – September 2000
I just arrived home yesterday afternoon after one of the most remarkable experiences I have ever had abroad. When I first looked into going on a tour, I was quite reticent, having images of large groups of people squished at long tables at crowded, mediocre restaurants, packed onto noisy busses, following haphazardly after a tacky tour director holding up an umbrella and walking too briskly from site to site. Wow, was I ever naïve! Being with Marcello and Raffaella in Bologna and in the picturesque surroundings towns was like sailing on a cloud. My mother and I felt truly pampered, safe, taken care of and happy. More than anything , however, is the absolute warmth, kindness, and professionalism that Raffaella and Marcello both possess. We quite simply adore them. Being allowed to tailor our tour to meet all of our needs (gastronomic and retail-therapy!) is such an unusual and wonderful feature of your company. I already want to do another tour with wine and food and friends sometimes in the next year!
Saying thank you is hardly enough, but know that if anybody ever needs a recommendation, I’d be more than happy to share my experiences!
You are true gems in the industry.
With profound thanks ~ Jocelyn W., Boston, MA - November 1999
Dear Marcello and Raffaella,
I want to take the time to tell you how much Nanci and I enjoyed our gastronomical trip to Emilia Romagna. We have spent most of the week since we have been back telling people about it. It seems to get betterwith every telling- the true test of a great time! The professional pasta maker was right-we appreciated her skills, teachings, and food even more in hindsight than we did at the time. I was able to get my souvenir mattarella (rolling pin) through security in 5 airports, but not without a few questions and puzzled looks. Now I hope to use it at home somewhat successfully.
We are in awe of the enery and graciousness our host and hostess on our trip. We saw, tasted and experienced things that we never would have on our own. We met people –parmesan cheese maker, 5th generation balsamic vinegar maker/patriarch, Italy’s best sfoglina and much more. What a treat it was to gaze out the windows of an ancient monastery (now hotel) overlooking dozens of sets of fireworks as the millennium started. A very romantic moment that neither of us will ever forget. We thought the price/value of the trip was exceedingly fair.
Nanci is not the cook in the family but tells everyone how much she had. I even overhead her telling a friend that she would do it again!
If you would like to use any of this letter as a testimonial in your future promotional work, please feel free to do. We are your biggest fans. ~ Jeff and Nanci Shapiro, Minneapolis, MN - December 1999/January 2000