Testimonials 2017-01-11T02:35:42+00:00


“Mark, fondly called ‘Papa,’ is our travel agent guru. Cannot say enough wonderful things about this man. He stayed with us on this first leg of the trip while in Bucine and then Florence. He made everything so very special. And like a good ‘Papa,’ when it came time for us to spread our wings and fly alone…we were well prepared. He continued to make reservations and surprise us with many treats!”

Our experience with your company and our group was absolutely magical. We loved the trip, we loved the Italians we met, the places you shared and will unreservedly highly recommend you to any and all!
Mr and Mrs R P, Biltmore Lake, NC
I had always wanted to visit Florence. But to visit it with 7 great friends, living in the warmth and charm of an ancient villa, was more than I could have wished for. The art of Florence and the treasures of Tuscany unfolded before us at a pace that allowed us to enjoy the moment. We swept past crowds and stood in awe of the works of Botticelli, Donatello, and Michelangelo. We experience the history of architectural treasures with the insights from expert guides. And all the while, Mark’s relaxed, considerate, effortless style masked the meticulous planning and coordination that went on behind the scenes. And in the evenings we gathered in the villa’s great room to share our friendship, some wine, and the stories of the day. Thank you Mark.
FP, Sedona AZ and Houston, TX
We have traveled with Mark Smith and Private Italy on three separate occasions. Each of them was a delightfully memorable experience. With Mark, we didn’t simply see the sights; we experienced the culture and were immersed in the history and art. Staying in villas and taking day trips (with someone else driving) eliminated the stresses we had experienced on European trips taken before we met Mark. Returning to the villa each night for great food, wine and conversation was the perfect ending to each day. Our travel groups were small (5-10) and on our visits to surrounding villages we were placed in the hands of very knowledgeable local guides. On each of the three trips we had opportunities to visit the homes of local families and share commonalities as well as differences of our respective cultures. And then there was Mark…..ever mindful of the needs of everyone, seeing that our visits always exceeded expectations. We wouldn’t consider visiting Italy with anyone else.
RG, Wilmington, NC
Mark Gordon Smith is a diligent, honest, and client orientated business owner. He knows how to build a business and client following by paying attention to his client’s needs, providing all the services that matter to his client. His astute awareness that a satisfied client builds his business has driven his company to success. His knowledge and expertise are the backbone of his Private Italy Tours, and you can absolutely engage his services with the greatest of confidence, in every respect. I would recommend using his company to everyone. You can believe that what his company offers, he will deliver … and much more!
BD, Peterborough, NH
There are not enough words to express how delighted we were with Mark’s tour company on both of our Italian tours. He is proficient on so many levels–speaking the language, knowing how to get around the crowds, where the very best places are to shop, dine, and absorb the culture. His forte is going the extra mile to create special memories that last a lifetime. You can do no better. He’s more than a tour guide, he’s a history and art professor, connoisseur of wine and food, chauffeur extraordinaire, and budget master all rolled into one. His best qualities in a few words are that the is an expert, provides good value and has exceptional integrity.
JD, Sunset Beach, NC
Private Italy Tours provided us with a unique vacation experience. We saw the highlights of Venice, Florence and the Tuscany regions while experiencing the locals’ favorite restaurants. We enjoyed the most amazing meal ever at Janet and Stefano’s hillside home. The English-speaking local tour guides for Siena, Lucca, and Florence were wonderful. We had no worries about entry tickets or transportation issues. A detailed itinerary was provided on the first day of our trip. Mark and Paolo were excellent tour guides and I feel fortunate that a friend recommended Private Italy Tours to us. We look forward to taking another trip with Mark who speaks Italian fluently, is extremely knowledgeable, and is very concerned about the comfort and needs of those who travel with him. We highly recommend Private Italy Tours.
Mr and Mrs MT, Wilmington NC
Private Italy Tours lived up to our expectations and more. We will travel with you again. The guides you provided for us were top notch. They were very well versed in their knowledge of the towns we visited and always had time to answer our questions. Our main guide Alessandro Tombelli discussed over dinner the day’s activities and reviewed what we did and advised us of our next adventure for the following day. All the time we were doing this we were enjoying Anna’s cooking and the wine that was provided. The trip to Rome that you arranged for us was excellent. We appreciate the advanced work done to secure hotel reservations, Vatican Tickets, Borghese Museum tickets, train reservations and dining in Rome. As first time travelers to Italy your guidance as to how to go about getting things done and around in Rome was invaluable.
WAM, Southport, NC
You have the knack of making participants feel like they are a group of long-time friends and your own personal friends to boot. Your planning and subsequent service is FIVE STAR in our book. We all had a good time but, due to our heritage, Italy is an extra special place for us and yo made it come so alive. The additional services you provided such as helping reschedule flights, schlepping someone to a pharmacy or suggesting wonderful places to eat or visit were beyond the call. We even enjoyed your waiter service at Janet and Stefano’s not to mention the Rome arrangements which made our Rome component go smoothly. We recommend you highly.
A & J S, Pawley’s Island, SC
Mark and Paulo (our private driver) graciously attended to any and all requests and added interesting and humorous insights along the way. Planned activities were personalized and tailored to the wishes of our small group and conducted at a comfortable pace. Traveling with Mark and Paulo truly gave us the opportunity to visit unique locations and experience the flavor, customs, and culture not available to structured tour groups. One of the most memorable trips we have ever taken.
JL, Southport, NC
If you never again do anything for yourself, go with Mark and let him share with you his private Italy. He will show you the real country, you will meet the real people, and you will be a partner in the real culture. His passion will become your passion. You are not a tourist when you travel with Mark, you are an old friend who has come home to Tuscany. I will keep my Tuscan memories with me always, and some day I will return.
SR, Ocean Isle Beach, NC
We thoroughly enjoyed our trips to Florence, Lucca, Assisi, Siena, Venice (oh my!), San Gimignano and Pisa (one must-see we had not visited during earlier trips). But what we remember are sitting in the sun, eating a gelato in the square of Impruneta on a quiet Sunday afternoon, waking up in the morning to the sunrise over Florence, sharing dinner with a fox on the terrace of a former abbey, strolling through century old gardens of private villas in hills outside Florence, lunching with a young family in their new old house in Assisi, walking through the fish markets of Venice, enjoying a glass of Spumanti in St Mark’s Square and a Bellini in the Daniele, coming back to our villa each night to talk over our day with our new friends, anticipating dinner prepared by Stefano and Janet. And of course, each day’s experience was enhanced by the company of our guides, one an Italian by birth and one an Italian by choice.
RG, Wilmington, NC
My husband and I were celebrating our 25th wedding Anniversary and I wanted to go to Italy. We were seeking to find the best way of experiencing this beautiful country and we found it with Private Italy Tours. They were recommended to me from a friend and as soon as I spoke to Mark I knew I chose the right company. We traveled from Venice to Rome using their services two years ago,and were so impressed with their services we used them again for my 50th birthday. We just returned from Sicily and the Amalfi coast. As anticipated it was perfect from start to finish. Having someone knowledgeable to take care of your transfers, accommodations, tours and restaurants etc is priceless. This makes for a stress less and a more memorable trip. Mark worked with us and developed itineraries that satisfied our needs; thus, a customized trip for any type of traveler. We have recommended this company to several people who are using or going to use them and have been as satisfied as we are. If you use this company you will not be disappointed. Grazie Private Italy Tours.
J&D G, Melville, NY
We want to thank you for yet another wonderful trip to Rome, Sicily and the Amalfi Coast. Just like our first trip with you to Tuscany, you deliver so much more than what is expected. Your attention to a myriad of details is second to none. You came through for all of us and we had a fabulous trip. Let’s get together soon to plan our next trip! Thank you!
J&J T, Wilmington, NC
The word that comes to mind is ‘luster.’ Just as Renaissance art has lustrous touches, derived from semi-precious stones and gold leaf, I felt my experience with Private Italy Tours to be lustrous. Nothing was routine; nothing was commonplace. My tour in Tuscany and Venice, with Mark’s impeccable planning and expertise, indeed had a certain luster. I could never consider touring abroad with anybody else.
Having never been to Italy before, I was happy that we decided to use your services. It really made our trip so easy and enjoyable. (Itinerary Planning Services-September 2012)
K&D F, Beverly, MA
Mark-We had a wonderful trip and made many new memories as a family. Everything was perfect and we have no complaints about anything. Not having to worry about tickets, transfers, accommodations, restaurants etc allowed all of us to really relax and enjoy our time in this beautiful area of the world. Thank you so much for making this trip such a memorable one for us!!!
S & P B, Matthews, NC
Private Italy Tours GETS IT RIGHT!
JG, Asheville, NC
This was our first trip to Europe and we were a little anxious about the ‘unknown.” But every anxiety disappeared as soon as we arrived in Italy to join Mark and our group in Venice and Tuscany. Everything about the trip exceeded our expectations. We LOVED it!
J & C S, Connecticut
More than a vacation, a truly wonderful experience we will always remember. We felt the passion of the Italian people and their history. The Villa was the perfect place to relax in the evenings. Certainly the best food we have ever had and the wine oh!!! We are looking forward to joining you on another trip in the future.
RP, Katy, Texas
(Mark) shared with us your love for – and the beauty of – the people and the land, as well as the magnificent art, architecture, history and FOOD of Tuscany. It was an incredible experience, and we loved every minute of it.
SK, Sunset Beach, NC
This trip was not about being just a tourist but more like being a Tuscan. Sure we saw the major attractions, but we were also guided, fed and welcomed by Italians into their homes and hearts in a relaxing and personal manner. Mark attended to our every need and even had a basket of stars waiting for us to view from the villa, our home for two too short weeks.
CM, Camden, SC
Our trip through Tuscany with Private Italy opened up a world of experiences that we will carry with us always. Hardly a day goes by that we do not mention one or more of the wonderful times we had while touring with Mark. I had been to Italy several times before, but never saw it like this. It was truly a trip of a lifetime.
PK, Houston, TX
Mark Smith thought of everything on our trip. The only decision we had to make was what to wear the next day. It was wonderful! Staying in a villa in the midst of an olive grove allowed us to capture the true old-world charm of Tuscany.
PG, Shallotte, NC
The overriding benefit was the personal touch. What we experienced was a vast departure from any tour we had ever been part of. Residing in a medieval villa as our home for two weeks and having wonderful meals prepared by local people was a special treat. This attention continued as we explored the many treasures Tuscany offers. Our small group led by people with local knowledge and a passion for what this region has contributed over the centuries could not have been experienced elsewhere. We returned home with memories that will last a lifetime and a burning desire to return one day.
JD, Sunset Beach, NC
My two-week trip with Private Italy was the most memorable experience of my life. I would drop everything and do it all over again tomorrow if given the chance.
PGJ, Carolina Shores, NC
We thoroughly enjoyed every day of our Italian Holiday . . . and that was thanks to YOU. We wanted Fabulous and you delivered! We can’t wait for our next trip!!!
J&L G, Rockville Center, NY