What's so big about a small group?
When I was designing the itinerary for Sprezzatura, I scoured the web to study other companies' definitions of a small group. Some felt that 25 people was still a small group. Nope. A group of 25 would require a larger motorcoach that still would not be allowed in small Italian city centers, thus requiring travelers to walk up hill to sight see. The small wineries we'll visit don't allow groups that large for tours, so we'd be forced to take the corporate route. Even some of the corporate wineries only have tour groups as large as 15 people.
I studied the day in a large group tour...their large bus is not allowed to park within the city, so they are forced to walk from approximately a mile out. They follow their guide (holding a flag or umbrella) dutifully with earbuds to listen to the guide's commentary. There are so many people in the group, that the guide doesn't know your name unless they look at your nametag. You have a full itinerary with lots of stops, so you are rushed from stop to stop, then you all have to walk back outside of town at the end of the day to get back to the bus. I'm exhausted just writing it!
The earbud thing would give me nightmares - I would literally dream about the tour guide each night. You will NEVER have those during Sprezzatura. Our guides talk to us like friends and family. We have two hour lunches with lots of wine. Need to catch a few winks between stops? You have your own reclining bucket seat in Marco's Mercedes minivan. Want to have a sing along? He's also got a HUGE collection of Beatles tunes and disco hits. If we have a little extra time between stops, Marco will always make a suggestion on a new place to go. You won't get that kind of flexibility on a big bus tour.
Bottom line - a vacation should be a vacation. You shouldn't need time after your vacation to recover from your hectic ordeal. My goal for everyone who joins me on Sprezzatura is to lower your blood pressure, introduce you to new friends and make sure your blood is half Sangiovese when the week is over!
Ci vediamo in Tuscany! (We'll see you in Tuscany)
P.s. I was lucky enough to discover this boat ride by accident during my last trip. I didn't realize how beautiful this picture really was until several days later. I'm so excited to include this activity on the Spring itinerary. It's truly amazing!