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Testimonials

We wanted a memorable trip to Spain and Italy with our 3 kids (5, 7, and 9 years old).  We were looking for a boutique experience - staying off the typical tourist track, authentic but nice accommodations - smaller hotels in cool, fun, smaller towns.  Ultimately we wanted a family trip that was meticulously planned by someone with inside knowledge so that we could go from amazing spot to amazing spot seamlessly.  To plan this ourselves we came to realize would be literally impossible and even our poor attempt to become expert on a topic where we lacked expertise would have taken a massive amount of time and effort.  Additionally, we were to be traveling in the high season so all accommodations needed to be reserved months ahead of time.

 

Shannon went above and beyond in tailoring a trip to suit our interests.  Shannon is a true subject matter expert on travel in this region and I think will be particularly helpful for those looking for memorable trips that are not on the default, most heavily travelled tourist route.  We are so glad that we were introduced to Shannon and we recommend her services without hesitation.

 

Sam Chesluk

Santa Barbara, CA

Shannon planned a dream honeymoon for my husband and myself to Rome, Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast. She organized our hotels, tour guide in Rome, cooking class in Tuscany, and dinner/entertainment suggestions.

 

We were pleasantly surprised how economical the service is and it's truly an investment as her plans saved us previous time, money and from waiting in LONG lines (especially in Rome).

 

Shannon is knowledgable, passionate about Italy and can develop an itinerary to meet different tastes and interests. She met with us at night and over weekends to work around our schedules but most importantly for us, gave us many options and allowed us to make the decisions without feeling pressured or overwhelmed.  

 

The result was a relaxing, romantic and authentic Italian holiday. We have already recommended her to friends who have used her agency and we will definitely work with her again.

 

Casey Ramage

Louisville, KY

 

We had the most amazing trip to Italy and we have Shannon to thank for all of the once in a lifetime memories. She planned an exceptional trip to Rome complete with a personal tour guide who was an archaeologist!  Our time in Minori on the Amalfi Coast was beautiful at the perfect hillside apartment with only a minute’s walk into this perfect little town. 

 

This photo is during our boat trip to Capri.  Then off to Tuscany where we stayed in a working agriturismo complete with pigs, ducks, chickens and dogs!  There we had a private cooking class for the whole family.  We ended our trip in Venice where once again Shannon found the perfect apartment with a window looking right out at the gondolas passing by.  Every detail was thought out and perfectly planned.  Daily my entire family would say “Shannon’s the best” because each day would turn out even better than the last.  I could go on and on and on about how wonderful her services are.  I absolutely recommend Shannon as her service is beyond compare and well worth every penny for her personal attention to detail.

 

Susie Minier

Santa Barbara, CA 

We are travel aficionados who have visited France and Italy numerous times. We sought Shannon's expertise because we were faced with a more complicated itinerary involving joining other friends en route and yet wanted our time together celebrating our 15th anniversary to be extra special. Shannon has a talent for discovering precious places in Italy where lifelong memories are made.

 

Chris and Bruce Torrence

Mammoth Lakes, California

My husband and I had traveled extensively in Europe but this was our first time bringing the family. We really wanted it to be amazing, and wanted to make sure we were making the most of our time abroad. Working with Shannon helped us to discover family-friendly  spots that we would not have been aware of otherwise. Her advice helped me wade through overwhelming decisions, save time, and guide me in the right direction. 

 

We specifically wanted to spend some time on the Italian Riviera, but didn't want to be in too "touristy" of a location. Shannon's extensive knowledge of the area was so helpful, and her recommendation of Santa Margherita could not have been more incredible. The hotels she had us stay in worked perfectly for me, my husband, my kids and my dad, who was also traveling with us. We will definitely be using Shannon's advice again for our future travels.

 

Lynne Sutherland

Santa Barbara, CA

Rome....This was my fourth trip to Rome and by far the best!  I am 100% certain it had everything to do with where we stayed.  The apartment near the Piazza Navona was perfect.  We walked everywhere and found so many great restaurants in Via del Governo Vecchio.  We would never have known about this without your help!

 

Lucca....What a special place!  Thanks for encouraging us to include Lucca on our list.  You’re restaurant recommendations were memorable!  We loved biking through town and our accommodations a few miles away at Hotel Villa Volpi were outstanding!
 
Portovenere....We knew we were going to Cinque Terre, but your recommendation to use Portovenere as our base was excellent.  Luxury on the water in a fortress town!

 

Bret Stone

Santa Barbara, CA

Hello Shannon,

 

Again, I want to express my thanks for sharing all your guidance and expertise. We are still on a buzz from our trip and we can't wait to go back and will be sure to call upon your amazing service again. So much gratitude.

 

Diane DiLascio

Santa Barbara, CA

 

 

So a huge thank you for all that you did to make our trip so smooth and wonderful. We really had a great time and loved it all. The kids, too, did great. Working with you during the planning phase was so enjoyable and painless.  Your knowledge of the area and best places to stay made everything so easy. Your suggestions, ideas, and overall input was something that I had never had before.  I have recommended you to everyone around town! Now I look forward to planning our next trip – with your help! We are already thinking of where to go…

 

Lori Baur

Santa Barbara, CA

You planned our family journey and arrangements for a 2-week summer visit to Verona, Padua, Venice, Bologna, Tuscany, and Florence of such a quality that it made us have an unforgettable experience and we enjoyed every moment. One of the highlights was visting Florence. Our tour guide Elena had an excellent content knowledge of Renaissance life and was so skilled and professional to bring us into the period of the Renaissance century in Florence. We learned the secret of symbol, artistic work to creativity of the Renaissance, as well as the outstanding architecture work of this period. Awesome! Additionally, she introduced a restaurant to us, where the food was delicious and very local Italian cuisines. 

 

Thank you so much--we have appreciated every effort made by you. In the end we achieved an experience of real Italy through an in-depth local journey where we enjoyed Italian culture, food, and history. Our visit to the farm in Tuscany toward the end of our trip was a deep dive into culture where we realized the wisdom of Italian agriculture and learned very practical way to make a very healthy Italian cuisine. I sincerely appreciate the work you and your team did to prepare and invest the effort in tailoring every event that made our wish into reality.

 

Young Family, 

Hong Kong

Shannon, 

We arrived home last night from our European Vacation. 

I wanted to thank you again for all your help. All your suggestions were amazing and can’t express our gratitude enough.

All the homes were on point. Don’t know if you had suggested the Bordeaux before, but that house was amazing!!! Well, they were all amazing!!!

Thank you again!!!!!

Felisa

California

Shannon, 

We arrived home last night from our European Vacation. 

I wanted to thank you again for all your help. All your suggestions were amazing and can’t express our gratitude enough.

All the homes were on point. Don’t know if you had suggested the Bordeaux before, but that house was amazing!!! Well, they were all amazing!!!

Thank you again!!!!!

Felisa

California

Elaia Travel made our month in Italy absolutely perfect! Once we provided the areas we wanted to visit and explore, they thoughtfully put options together to meet the needs of our family of 6 and our budget, providing recommendations and suggestions every step of the way.  The logistics and complicated details were carefully covered and communicated.  Our trip started in Venice and the suggestions and accommodations in Venice were everything and more.  Our apartment in Pietrasanta was ideal and the location perfect for all our day trips.  The private tour scheduled in Florence was the best and our guide was like family by the end of tour.  The location of our apartment on the Amalfi Coast was perfect and one of the kids' favorite spots overall.  Lucca, Siena, San Gimignano all were everything she described and more.  Ending in Rome was like the fireworks after an already amazing trip–we loved every bit of Rome and again the apartment was perfect–we never got in a taxi and walked everywhere as it was perfectly central. The private tours she recommended in Rome were priceless, making the time at the Vatican and Coliseum so enjoyable for the kids and a tremendous learning experience. Spending a month in Italy with 4 kids (ages 7-13), may seem daunting, but with the right guidance it was absolutely magical.   The overall trip was a huge success and our family can’t wait to go back and we will certainly engage Elaia Travel again!  If you are thinking about Italy, before you make any decisions I highly recommend you talk with Shannon and let her make your trip as memorable as ours was!

Runyen Family

California

Elaia Travel was amazing, helping us every step of the way with planning the trip, including helping us with places to stay, hiring a car for us, and booking tour guides for us in Florence and in Rome. Thank you, Shannon! We have been recommending the Arte al Sole Italy family weeks to all our friends, and we would love to revisit again sometime in the future! Our week at the Arte al Sole camp in Umbria was the highlight of our trip to Italy! The farmhouses at I Casali di Colle San Paolo were lovely, the views were breathtaking. The kids loved their camp counselors and made great friends with the other children in the camps. My husband and I enjoyed the opportunity to explore the beautiful surrounding cities sans kids. Post camp many of the families would relax poolside, often grilling for dinner al fresco. The wine tasting tour and lunch Shannon arranged for us made for a wonderful excursion.

Frick Family

California

I wanted to write and say thank you for setting us up for a great trip! We really enjoyed our vacation and loved the places that you recommended to stay (Venice was my favorite location!). The train tickets worked great and we got from place to place fairly easily. Next time, we would hire a private driver instead of dealing with the car rental places, alas, live and learn.
 

I love the company that you've put together and offering kids programs in Italy. Its our dream to be able to live in Italy for a year or two or travel there frequently. The trip was chronicled on @centered_mama at instagram and with in-depth reviews and blogs on staying centered during travel with kids at www.centeredmama.com. Our photo is courtesy of Florentine family photographer Gabriele Fani, with whom we enjoyed a memorable family photo shoot during our visit.

Klawonn Family

Arizona

We have worked with Elaia Travel for several Italian trips. Shannon has found amazing accommodations for our family of 6 (4 young children) in the Cinque Terre, Umbria, Florence, and the Amalfi Coast. She is very knowledgeable about the areas, and is able to offer game-changing advice and suggestions for families traveling with children. We look forward to our next trip!

Rasche Family

Switzerland