This was a trip of a lifetime. From the initial virtual meeting, Marino confidently shared an interest in meeting our travel goals, which was to explore family heritage and experience local lifestyle. All we knew about visiting the area and Italy is that we wanted to explore heritage and did not want everyone else’s trip to Italy. We love off the beaten path, local gems, lifestyle excursions and personalized service. Experience BellaVita provided that . For family heritage, we sent Marino very few documents which we had acquired through family and online resources, and he expanded upon those records to provide possible familial relationships through his personal research. He asked leading questions which gave him information he needed to further research. For our first welcome dinner, he changed to a restaurant where there are likely family connections, based on his research. The dinner at Hotel Ristorante Pizzeria ll Salice allowed us to experience regional dishes of the finest quality. Admittedly, I stepped out of my comfort zone, but enjoyed every bite of my food adventure while possibly meeting a third cousin.
Marino was extremely responsive to questions regarding the Abruzzo area and beyond, giving us a resource we felt confident with both in the Abruzzo and other areas of Italy we explored. He was terrific with restaurant recommendations and suggesting food and wine pairings ,
The itinerary he designed for us was flawless! All of the transfers were seamless and professional. Our driver, Ricardo, provided historical information during our transfers, as well as allowing to enjoy some quiet time to rest! He was the best! Communication was never lacking. Marino casually learned of a food preference, and made immediate changes for our lunch the following day to accommodate that. We had asked to visit among local people, and to understand the cultural better. He provided us an opportunity to make cheese and eat lunch made and served on the farm where we made the cheese. The family was warm, caring and provided us with only homemade food. We speak no Italian, and the hosts, Guisseppe and Adele, who only speak Italian made us comfortable and welcome. Language was not an issue. Warm smiles, nods and hugs said it all!
We enjoyed a visit to Scuppoz Liquori and saw a passionate business owner who was very welcoming. We sampled many fine craft liquors, and learned of the process and dedication required to produce these quality beverages and the impact his craft has on the region.
We had the opportunity to tour the vineyards and ground at Maurizi, where we learned about growing techniques and also tasted Olive Oil. One of the best experiences of this tours was the local men, who just “popped in” to share time with us and get to know us while we paired wine, meat and cheese in a warm, cozy setting. The wines are natural and delicious.
As we traveled the mountains the abandoned towns and villages of the area, Marino provided information of historical changes over time. As part of this trip was a heritage trip, we appreciated hearing how our ancestors may have lived and where they might have traveled. We visited site of the town hall, where my grandfather’s birth would have been recorded. It’s been newly renovated, but the location is historic .
Abruzzo area is amazingly beautiful! The lifestyle is genuine and comprises of hardworking people caring for one another. It’s beauty and hospitality deserves to be experienced. We are grateful to have been a guest and now family of Experience BellaVita.
From Abruzzo, we moved on to Pompeii, Naples, and Capri where Marino had arranged for a local colleague to be our contact. Antonella provided a similar experience in being available, responsive, and informative, assuring our drivers were communicative and accessible and timely.