Luxury Walking & Cooking Tours

Anita Iaconangelo & Emanuele Lorusso

badge for "50 Tours of A Lifetime" by National GeographicAnita Iaconangelo & Emanuele Lorusso founded Italian Connection Tours in 1993, and live in a restored farmhouse near Modica, Sicily. Expect to be invited to lunch when you are nearby!

We began Italian Connection with walking tours in Italy, with Anita on the trail and Emanuele in our van appearing at just the right moment with snacks and good humor. While Anita scouts out the loveliest trails and welcoming boutique hotels, Emanuele searches out the perfect picnic spot, while we both have happily spent hours eating and drinking our way through this extraordinary country. Recently we’ve expanded our destinations to places we have loved on our own warm winter vacations in Costa Rica and Cuba, and we can’t wait to share them with you. Join us for a memorable vacation that will leave you refreshed and enlightened, and longing for more.

We offer both small group tours and private tours.

  • Small group tours are offered on selected dates with a maximum of 12 participants.
  • Private custom tours for individuals, families, or groups that are tailored to your interests.

Want to know more about our walks, accommodations, or cuisine? Here’s what to expect on an Italian Connection tour:

Walking Levels

Our walks are rated for their level of difficulty as follows:

  • Stroll – Daily distance of 2-5 km (1-3 miles) through archeological sites and in towns with stone stairways. Footwear: Lightweight walking shoes.
  • Easy – Daily distance of 8-10 km (5-7 miles) on dirt paths and gravel roads, with short ascents & descents. Good van access for assistance along the route. Footwear: Sturdy walking shoes.
  • Moderate – Daily distance of 12-16 km (8-10 miles) with longer ascents & descents. May include cobblestone paths and steps, or narrow paths along terraced hillsides. Some van access or options for shorter walks. Footwear: Sturdy walking shoes or lightweight boots.
  • Fitness – Daily distance of 12-16 km (8-10 miles) with steep ascents & descents. Walks are at altitudes of 1200-2450 meters (3500-8000 feet) on trails and forest service roads, some rocky or exposed sections. Limited van access, options for shorter or longer routes. Footwear: Lightweight boots.

Accommodations

Don’t be surprised if many of the hotels we stay in have not yet made it into the guidebooks — we find them before anyone else! Our small groups enable us to use exclusive hotels not available to larger groups, and you’ll find our accommodations are superior to many higher-priced tours since we reserve upgraded rooms.

All of the lodgings we use on our tours have been personally visited and hand-picked for the best combination of comfort, warm hospitality, and location. Our tours offer these levels of accommodation:

Signature

Our Signature hotels feature upgraded rooms in luxury and boutique hotels, country estates and spas.

Examples of our Signature hotels include:

  • La Palazzetta del Vescovo, Umbria Hilltowns walking tour
  • Baglio Oneto deluxe sea view rooms, Splendors of Sicily walking tour
  • Rosa Alpina San Cassiano, Wildflowers in the Dolomites walking tour
  • Masseria Torre Coccaro deluxe rooms, Puglia Walk
  • Cristallo Hotel & Spa, Cortina Luxury Hike

Essential

Our Essential hotels offer simpler accommodation in great locations, with unsurpassed hospitality.

Examples of our Essential hotels:

  • Il Mulino on Capri, Amalfi Coast Adventure walking tour
  • Sueño Cubano Hotel, Explore Cuba Tour

Blend

Blend tours offer a combination of Signature boutique hotels and charming Essential style inns.

Luxury Rental + Tour

Our Luxury Rental + Tour accommodations are in beautifully restored townhomes for 2-4 people.  We can also arrange a villa rental for larger groups on a private tour.

Example of our Luxury rental.

  • Alberto Charming Home in Montepulciano, Inside Tuscany Private Tour
  • Ragusa Home on our Sicily Unlocked Tours – Coming Soon!
  • Villa-Based Tours are available for larger private groups in Sicily and Tuscany – Contact Us.

Cuisine

Great food and wine are an integral part of every Italian Connection tour, with regional culinary delights that cry mangia!

  • We feature ala carte dining on our Signature and Blend tours, and select both fine restaurants and more casual trattorie so that meals are as unique as the atmosphere.
  • Being part of an Italian family for an evening is a special experience, and some of our favorite meals are in the private homes of our friends, where we are treated to warm Italian hospitality and great home cooking.
  • When dining in a top Michelin-starred restaurant, we’ll dispel any idea of stuffiness by personally introducing you to the chef, and hope some of that talent rubs off!
  • An impressive selection of wine is included with our meals on Signature and Blend tours. Play “name that region” with glasses of Barolo, Chianti, Amarone, Nero d’Avola, Primitivo, Sagrantino, or just quaff!
  • Our Essential tours offer limited menus with a focus on homey regional cuisine that is always fresh and varied. House wines and non-alcoholic beverages are included.
  • Our Culinary tours connect you to a region’s unique cuisine, and feature shopping with the locals at colorful markets, visits to traditional cheese-makers, hands-on cooking lessons, and leisurely meals with plenty of wine to wash it all down.

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Italian Connection

Italian Connection