Have questions? Below, we've compiled answers to some commonly asked questions. The best way to learn about how Concierge in Umbria can help you get the most out of your vacation to Italy is to contact us.
If you are on a very restrictive budget, or are interested in visiting Italy in the least expensive way possible, then using a travel planner may not be the best use of your resources. We add value in terms of adding experiences and local contacts that you could not find of your own, and getting upgrades for you because we have relationships with hoteliers and service providers. Our itineraries are customized to each client and are private - we do not offer group tours or canned pre-published itineraries.
After you have contacted us with the particulars of your trip, we like to schedule a telephone conversation so that we can understand more about your trip and what you'd like to do, and you can ask questions of us. We will then create an outline of what we might suggest for you, including destinations, accommodations, private experiences, and services. We do not charge a fee for this initial outline - after all, how would you know if we would be a good fit without seeing an example of what we might do for you? Upon your decision to book your trip with us, we request a deposit and begin confirming your arrangements and sending you destination specific information for your trip. Our fee is included in your per person itinerary price. General Terms and Conditions
We don't have a fixed minimum. The cost of an itinerary depends upon your choices - duration of your trip, specific destinations, hotels, and the number and kind of private services included. As a general rule, the minimum cost of a curated itinerary is $800 per couple. This is the approximate minimum for a complete itinerary. If you are seeking only cruise excursions or other day trips or services as part of your self-planned itinerary, there is no minimum cost.
Tips are discretionary and are usually not included in your itinerary price. We provide you with general guidelines for tipping.
When we first started working in the travel business, very few travelers purchased travel insurance. Now, almost everyone does. Travel insurance can protect your travel investment under all kinds of circumstances, including cancelled flights, which have become all too common these days.
The perfect time to travel really depends upon the destinations you choose and your interests. If you are looking for leisurely days poolside in Positano, November is too late. If you wish to avoid crowds and take in Venice more as a local would, February may be perfect. Generally speaking, all of Italy has four seasons and there is no Italian destination that offers sunny beaches year-round. While the warm seasons are Mediterranean in nature, the shoulder seasons are not unlike the Eastern coast of the United States. Southern locales like the Amalfi Coast, Ischia and Sicily are warmer than northern cities, but they too begin closing up shop in the fall and reopen around Easter.
American citizens do not need a visa to visit Italy. Everyone, even infants, needs a passport and the passports of all travelers should be valid for 6 months beyond your travel dates.
In Italy, the profession of guiding is pretty strictly regulated. Guiding is an academic career, and if a person becomes a licensed guide, you can be assured that they have passed a number of difficult requirements and examinations regarding their specialty or destination. And then they have to pass CIU's own litmus test for personality, temperament, and suitability for our clients. Professional drivers are also regulated, and they have permits for certain levels of access in certain cities and regions. If you have an excursion in the countryside where you are being driven among hill towns or are visiting vineyards, your driver can point out landmarks from a distance, give some background information, and suggest stops for you, but they cannot walk you through a town discussing its history and significant sites or take you to museums.
So, in most cases when you have an excursion with transportation, you will have both a driver and a guide. If you are just transferring between cities, you will have a driver only, as there is no guiding as a part of this day. If you stop in Orvieto between Rome and Florence, for example, a local guide would meet you in Orvieto for the tour of the town only.
The short answer is no, this is not a problem. In the more well visited destinations (e.g. Tuscany & Amalfi Coast) and big cities (e.g. Rome, Venice, Milan), many local people in shops and restaurants speak English. In 5 star hotels, most of the staff speaks English, and in hotels in general, there are staff members who speak English. The guides we organize for you will speak English and in most cases, the drivers will also (unless you are with a guide as well for an excursion, in which case we may be able to reduce the cost of your service a bit by using an non-English-speaking driver). By the way, we can also provide Spanish speaking guides upon request.
We give you our own restaurant recommendations and are happy to make reservations for you at these or any restaurants of your choosing.
Italian law does require that you obtain an International Driver's license to drive in Italy. This license is a translation of your driver's license and can be easily obtained. While you may never be asked to produce this license (most rental agencies do not ask to see it when you pick up your car), Italian police do set up roadblocks as a matter of routine, and if you are stopped, it would definitely be to your advantage to have the International license as the police do not usually speak English.
Even if you are driving yourselves, we do not create vineyard itineraries for you without a professional driver. This is for two reasons. First, of course, it isn't wise to drink and drive in any circumstance, especially in a foreign country with unfamiliar territory. Second, for our wine itineraries, we like to include some smaller producers with whom you may not be familiar, and they are often difficult to find (little signage, tiny dirt roads). To insure that you arrive, we provide a driver. If you are driving yourselves, we can make an appointment for you at one of the larger vineyards for lunch at their restaurant, but we do insist on a driver for a full day wine tasting itinerary.
The best way to learn about how Concierge in Umbria can help you get the most out of your vacation to Italy is to contact us.
TOWN AND COUNTRY MAGAZINE, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, AND WENDYPERRIN.COM
RECOMMENDED BY CONDÉ NAST TRAVELER MAGAZINE AS TOP TRAVEL AGENT FOR ITALY SINCE 2006