One of the best things about travel is the people you meet, some of whom you enjoy so much, they become like family. This is how our family feels about Gianni. Gianni was by far the most helpful resource in planning our trip to Italy, even regarding the elements that did not involve him. I was planning a trip for 13 people and an infant, which through a process of events became 9 people and and infant. The age range of our group was interesting: 4 months, 19-33 years, 51-55 years and 78 years. Gianni transferred us from Rome to our villa (about 35 minutes outside of Siena), took us on three days of tours, and transferred us to our train upon departure. From the very beginning of our trip, Gianni kept us all captivated with his vast knowledge, delightful sense of humor, entertaining stories, and very caring character. As we were a large group, for most of our tours, we enjoyed the addition of Thomas, one of Gianni's associates. Both men were incredibly thoughtful about the needs of the individuals in our group as we moved from one location to another, and made sure to adapt the activities to accommodate both the various levels of mobility and desire for adventure. They were both especially attentive to the needs of our youngest and oldest travelers. We learned much about the region; wine, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, people, history and current affairs. We toured a crystal factory, during which the artists made a darling duck figurine from start to finish to show us the process. Our daughter and son in-law wanted the duck as a souvenir for our granddaughter, but the final stage takes hours, so we planned on returning to purchase it, later in our week. The rest of our time with Gianni was pure delight. We are big fans of farm to table, so we visited three Organic Farms/Wineries. Each one proved to be an amazing experience. The food and wine we enjoyed was incredible - our favorite during our 2 weeks in Italy. Each location and owner had their own unique rhythm, but they had in common a contagious passion. The views were surreal - in WINTER! On our last day, Gianni and his associate picked us up at our villa to take us into Siena to board the train for Florence. As we exited the property, our daughter realized her engagement ring was not on her finger. Gianni took his car load back to the villa and helped look for the ring (which was found) and then headed us all to the train's next stop, so that we could still make our itinerary. As this was our first train experience in Italy, he also educated us through the process. He showed us everything we needed to know, including that the train was running 9 minutes late, so we had plenty of time to get coffee and a snack. We sadly said our goodbyes to him, and made our way to the platform. While waiting for the train, we all reminisced how much we enjoyed our time with our very wonderful new friend and looked froward to the next time we would see him. Our daughter mentioned that we had never gone back to the crystal factory to collect the duck, and that Gianni had mentioned he would look into getting it shipped to her. After about 20 minutes, we looked up to see Gianni, out of breath, jogging toward us with a little white box in his hand. It was the duck. Gianni had managed to get all the way to the crystal factory and back before we left, just to make sure our granddaughter left Sienna with her duck - now a reminder of our new Italian family member - Gianni. We fell in love with him and with Tuscany. We are confident you will as well. I'd recommend you email Gianni with how many days you will be in Italy - your arrival and departure plans - and trust him to plan your itinerary. It will be an investment - but it will be a great value and the BEST investment you will make in your Italy experience. Enjoy!
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