How working with a Travel Planner like Me can Help You Enjoy the Bel Paese

September 18, 2018

Since Italy is considered the number one, numero uno, country to visit in all the world, nearly everyone wants to visit the Bel Paese, Italia, the Beautiful Land, Italy.

Many people choose a tour for their first visit to my beautiful home. They feel safer with others organizing their visit so that they do not miss any popular “must see” locales. I understand that. People are so busy that they do not have the time to do a great deal of research. Some are afraid that they will be lost without a tour guide who “knows everything.”

Others decide to go it on their own. They spend weeks on the internet researching what they “should” see, talk to friends and strangers to see what they think and watch a plethora of travel shows on television. They eventually come up with a plan that may or may not meet their needs.

Where to turn?

There is a third option for you. There are people like me who are offer Professional Travel Services as experts on Italian travel. As the founder of Take Me Home Italy and as a dual citizen of both Italy and the United States, I spend my days learning about Italy and exploring it. I live most of the year in Italy and love my home country. I have such a huge bucket list of Italian travel that I tipped it into my tub and now have a #BathtubList myself.

I also have a curious mind and ask a LOT of questions. By doing so, I can discover whether you like art, or wine, or are a foodie, or have young children with you. I can discuss budget and the reality of what you can do with your financial budget and your allotted time. I can offer you intimate arrangement with visits to goat farms, olive oil companies, balsamic vinegar tastings, and meeting the locals. If you are Italo-American, I can help you visit your home town of origin. I can even hire a bus and driver for your large family.

That is what I do for fun and for work. Don’t just take my word for it. Here are some quotes from my clients.

1. Anonymous traveler who I helped find her family information.

I have been remiss in expressing my deep appreciation to you for giving life to my journey, assisting me in finding my ancestors. I wanted to tell you how thrilled I am to have not only the names and specifics on my paternal grandparents, but also my great grandparents...G is continuing to search for records on my paternal side; they may be more difficult.  But, I now have names, some important dates, etc.  Waiting for the actual docs; I cannot wait to see these.  I am blessed to have found you.

2. Travelers competing in an International boat contest in Florence

My Minnesota, USA teammates and I had an unforgettable, intimate experience in Italy thanks in large part to Marilyn’s knowledge of the culture and her personal connections to people that live there. We didn’t get lost in the crowds so to speak, amongst the tourists who partook in the 2018 International Dragon Boat Paddling race in Florence. From guidance in setting up train reservations, arranging authentic field trips within the local community and booking our accommodations, Marilyn put together a memorable, heartfelt experience in the land of Amore.

Cory Reilly Graham, Member of the Dragon Divas Dragon Boat team

These wonderful ladies enjoyed their extended adventure after the Dragon Boat races in Florence.

3. Here is another comment from one of my clients.

I'm writing to thank you for planning the "trip of a lifetime" for my family.  When I thought about taking my family of 15 to Italy, I could not imagine where to start or how I could possibly plan a 2-week trip for that many people.  I believe it was divine intervention that day we met at the Festa Italiana in St. Paul MN.  If I hadn't stopped at your booth, our trip would still be an unfulfilled dream, waiting to happen.

From the bus, waiting at the airport to take us to our first lodging, to the flight home from Venice, the arrangements were fantastic.  You did an excellent job of planning all the transportation and lodging, down to the smallest detail.  With our family of 15, ranging in age from 73 to 10, you gave importance to every consideration.

Everything went like clockwork (except for our own little mistakes) in the lodging and traveling within Italy.  Our apartments were in great locations, and the accommodations were clean and easily accessible for us.  The proprietors were cordial and welcoming, too.  The tours in Rome and Florence that you arranged were perfect for our group.  Everyone, old and young, found them informative and enjoyable.

Marilyn, we are so grateful to you for handling all the planning and details for this trip.  It gave us the freedom to enjoy it immensely, without worrying about anything.  If anyone had a question, we could easily refer to the clear information in the well-written itinerary you provided.

Grazie mille for the trip of a lifetime!

Kathy Whitney

With Kathy’s family, I also organized a dinner for your Italian relatives to meet her US family.

Paterno di Avezzano, their home of origin.

4. Visiting their hometown of origin to meet their family

Chuck and I would like to thank you for the wonderful trip you provided for us with to Italy last May to meet with our distant cousins from Italian family.

You did a great job connecting with our relatives via email and Facebook and lining up dates when we could all meet, etc. and you kept all in our party informed of what we would be doing, when we would meet the relatives and what tours we could do our own if we wanted to.

The hotels you selected were excellent – priced very well and very comfortable and all had wonderful locations for walking around town, restaurants, sightseeing etc.

It was so fun to meet the Italian relatives – who fed us for two days - they were very enjoyable and it brought tears to my eyes to see where my grandfather lived so many years ago … and that we all walked the same little streets in town – Fragneto Le’ Abate – that he did. It was a most memorable and will never be forgotten!

Thank you again for all your excellent work and organization – we really had a great time!

Marie and Chuck J.

Home town of origin near Benevento, Campania

5. Gerri Cragnotti and her family

We have been thinking fondly of our time in Chianti since we have been back home. We are so thankful to you Marilyn for hooking us up with Arianna and Alessio. Marilyn, you did a wonderful job in inquiring about our needs and wishes and then finding the perfect person, accommodations and tours to carry them out.

You all contributed so much to our memories in Italy. The tours you chose, the people you knew, Alessio’s promptness, efficiency and driving in getting us to and fro in beautiful Chianti, all of it was magical.

We all had so much fun and really, I could not pick which was a favorite. Each visit was so special and so unique. All of the “farmers” were so friendly, the meals they made us were so fresh and delicious, and their special attention to my gluten needs, thanks to you, were so thoughtful. We loved being in the heart of life in Chianti with them and you!

Fields in the Chianti Region

6. Another visit to their home town of origin plus the highlights of Italy

I want to thank you so much for arranging our trip to Italy.    I will have wonderful memories forever. The hotels that we stayed at in Naples, Benevento, Rome, Florence and Venice were wonderful.  They were all so close to everything. We easily walked to most sights.

It was nice to have the freedom to do what we wanted to do, not just a group tour.  Your suggestions on what sights we could see were fabulous!   Sometimes we wanted to do things as a group and that was great too.

Your suggestion to travel with just one small suitcase and a carry on was liberating.  In the past, I always traveled with big bags and too many suitcases.   One small suitcase is the way I will travel now.  It was so easy with my small suitcase to catch the fast trains and to travel on the airplane.

I highly recommend your services as a travel organizer.   Thanks again for arranging my fantastic trip to Italy.

Kathy D.

Let me help you as I have assisted my other clients. Contact me at

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